Challenging Yourself (Don’t Give Up on Your Own Goals!)

My pre-mom life was vastly different: My husband and I had regular date nights, I had a robust social life, and I had time to write and act in plays. Writing, particularly playwrighting, has long been a passion of mine. I used to have enough hours in the day to schedule time for writing, editing, and submitting my work.

And then I had my son. I found myself struggling to adjust to everything after giving birth — including my sense of self.

I’ve always had a bucket list of goals and dreams I hoped to achieve, and some of them involved my writing. However, I felt discouraged and lost with that piece of myself, especially at the height of the COVID pandemic. Theatres were closed, and submission opportunities came to a pause. I wondered if I would ever be able to have my plays produced again.

And then I realized there are other genres of writing. I had always dabbled with the idea of fiction writing, but that voice of self-doubt always got in my way, and the excuses would come flying. It became so easy to not try.

But what’s the worst that could happen if I did try? If my attempts were absolute trash, I didn’t have to share them with anyone. If I was feeling confident enough to submit my work to contests, agents, and other opportunities, all the better. Sometimes putting yourself out there is the hardest part.

It’s not always easy, but I try to write every day. I set goals for myself, like getting to a specific daily word count or finishing a short story by a certain date. I have even been playing around with an idea for a novel. It may never come to fruition, but I’m having fun doing something completely outside of my comfort zone, and that’s something I have not experienced in a very long time. I even joined NaNoWriMo and had a blast trying to get my word count up to 50,000 over the course of a month. I didn’t quite get there, but I gave it a try and had fun doing it.

Day-to-day life can really bog a mother down. We can get so stuck in ruts and routines that sometimes we forget about what brings us joy and passion outside of our roles as mothers. Finding new and fun ways to encourage our passions is great for providing happiness and improving mental health. So challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and do something that brings you joy.

Lesley grew up in New Bedford, MA, came to Boston for college, and stuck around. She holds a master's degree in criminal justice and an MFA in creative writing. Lesley is a playwright and has had her work produced in Boston, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Texas. Lesley lives in Dorchester with her husband and 3-year-old son. She is a proud and unapologetic "one and done" mom. Lesley loves traveling, true crime docs and inspired scripted series, reading, coffee, face masks, and family game nights.