Children Are Not to Blame For Your Lackluster Life and Failures

This blog was archived from January 11, 2016.

What a title, huh?

Besides families being pushed to the side lately and no longer praised in this culture (I'll get more in depth with this one on another blog), it didn't shock me that articles like this were being blasted all over my newsfeed last week. In case you don't have time to read that one, actress Jennifer Lawrence (in case you don't know who she is, she's the actress from all the Hunger Games movies and all the movies with Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in the last 5 years), was praising Planned Parenthood and attributing her success to them. Quoting:

"My mom was really religious with me when I was young. She’s not so much anymore...I wouldn't have been able to get condoms and birth control and all these things I needed as a normal teenager who was growing up in a Jesus house."

"And now [gestures widely] I am a successful woman who has not had a pregnancy..."

Am I the only one who finds this really sad? She is being hailed as someone "brave enough" to voice this out. Really? Brave, that you get to have all the meaningless sexcapades you want with no consequences? Have we forgotten what the word "brave" actually means, folks? What does this say to women who took responsibility for their actions? And why wouldn't she be as good (if not better) an actress if she had a child? This post is not about pro-life or pro-choice, so I really don't care about your stance on what women should have the rights to. But it IS about life NOT BEING OVER once you have children. It's about encouraging and praising mothers who continue to live out their dreams, with little buddies to share it with. Perhaps it's not how they envisioned their dreams initially, but it's actually a little better, we just have to help them see that. There are MANY, wildly successful people who have had children, had families, built empires, and maintained strong family values and attained "success". I know she isn't saying that there aren't, but with someone who has such a strong influence on our nation's youth, what is this indirectly telling young women who look up to her?

We hear it constantly. Heck, I heard it so much that at times I am guilty of letting thoughts like that go through my mind. Things like:

  • Once you have kids, that's it! Their needs come first, your life is now theirs. Your life as you know it is essentially over.

  • Everything you do will revolve around your kids.

  • You will go broke. The average child costs $250,000 and you're paying for it.

  • Your relationship will deteriorate.

  • No more partying, no more drinking.

  • You can't be spontaneous.

  • They ruin your body.

  • You have no more free time.

I want to share with you a bit of my own timeline and story. I can't speak for other moms, but I can certainly bring some hope with my own personal experiences. Back when I was living in the TALIA IS THE QUEEN OF HER UNIVERSE chapter, I surely had a lot of hopes and dreams. I wanted to be a screen writer at one point, I wanted to be a reporter/news anchor, a photographer.. I wanted to be so many things. What was I though? A young girl stuck with several "dreams" while working odd jobs and not bothering to really push myself because...what for? I thought I was going to live forever, I didn't realize how fleeting "youth" was, there was no need to push myself because I thought I had the essentials in life. As long as I had enough money to do my shopping and going out with friends, saving a little there, I found that to be more than enough and I rolled with it. Success is obviously different to everyone, and at the time, that was success to me. The first summer of being married, I gave birth to Amelia. I cannot tell you what this experience has done to me, mentally, physically... all I can show you is the proof of the NOW. Within a year of being her mother, I quit my job and pursued my dream at the time: photography. I finally had the guts to do this, the willpower, the WANT to be better and be better, a purpose... all of it. I was told by everything around me that all the fun stops, that I wouldn't be able to travel, that my dreams were going to come second, all of the above. It was a hard pill to swallow, and many times I did find myself cornered with anxiety and depression because I allowed the lies of the world to get to me.

Some reality checks for those who continue to be lied to. If you are a mother, and you look at your children like they have ruined your life, do yourself a favor and pray against such thoughts. Do your children a favor and NEVER voice them aloud to make them feel any sense of guilt or blame for being born. I would love to get in to depth with this further, but the short of it is, we can all agree that children look up to their parents in those early years, all kids really want to do is impress their parents and make them proud... saying things like this can be very damaging to their spirits. I cannot stress this enough: your children have nothing to do with your "failures" and your life not going the way you planned it, and saying these things repeatedly does NOTHING for you. Heads up: life doesn't stop!

I have only grown more successful in life, love, business SINCE becoming a mother. I refused to let the words of the world get to me. It's a practice that needs to take place constantly, something you really have to "tattoo on your forehead" in a sense, repeat to yourself.

When I was starting out, the photographers I admired and looked up to I began admiring for the wrong reasons. Instead of just liking their work and wanting to learn how to achieve similar shots and discipline, I became focused on why they were successful and why I wasn't. What did they all have in common? NO CHILDREN. Really.. some of the best photographers have no kids. They travel the world, they take on works shop after work shop and all they have waiting for them when they get home are their "fur babies". I am not bashing this at all.. in fact, I caught myself in moments of "failures" thinking "wow... I would be there and be doing all of that and more if I didn't have a daughter that needed me every damn second. How can I leave? How can I take on all that I want to take on without being a selfish mother?" Do you know what this did to me? It stunted my growth in photography. I made THAT the reason and stuck to it. Convinced myself that THAT was why I couldn't be just like the others. How idiotic, right? Thankfully this doubt and moronic way of thinking only lasted a season. I had to access what was really important to me. I always say, DEFINE SUCCESS FIRST and what it means to you. When I pushed myself I found that I was able to take on destination weddings, able to attend workshops, able to take on my goals of over 40+ weddings in a year and you know what? I was MORE DEPRESSED than ever before. I missed weekends with my children, time with family and friends, because I convinced myself that taking on all of that would mean that I was a success.

To the eyes of the world perhaps I was. To my family, and to my true self, I was a sham. With as much as I enjoy traveling, all I am left with is anxiety and once the job is over I want nothing more than to be with my family. I long for them when they're away. I cannot enjoy breathtaking views without my husband. Truly, once you find real love, please hold on to it for dear life. I let others' versions of success define me, and I was drowning.

How do you define success? I've spoken to some moms. I