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- 6 Oct 16

How many people can say their dreams came true?
Actually, let me rephrase that…how many women can say their dreams came true after having kids? Despite having kids?

Something peculiar happens once we get pregnant. Along with our bodies changing and our minds getting full of things that were never there before (namely what we can and can’t eat, and what we can and can’t do) our lives and our visions begin to enter a funnel. Where before the sky was large and possibilities endless…now our thoughts are focused on a tiny and very important pin prick in the distance. The baby. And as we get closer to meeting our little bundle of joy, we step further away from ourselves. That’s how humanity has always survived, mummy goes to the back of the queue.

So what happens to us and our ambitions once our babies begin to take their own steps towards their own lives? Do our hopes and dreams fade away, get replaced by new ones or forgotten all together?

Let me tell you a story, a fairytale if you wish. It’s not the one about a pretty girl who is rescued by a dashing prince and lives happily every after, it’s about a strong girl who instead of searching for her knight in shining armour she reached for her own sword. Or in this case…a pen.

Once upon a time there was a girl who wasn’t a mummy yet. She was on the brink of starting her life and planned to fill it to the brim. Among her Life’s To Do list, along with learning to scuba diving and buy a house, she wanted to be a writer. Not just any writer, she wanted to be a published author. That’s a pretty lofty goal for anyone…let alone a woman who also wanted to earn money in a ‘proper’ job and have children one day. After all, fewer than 1% of writers get their manuscript published, how would she be able to do so much in just one short little life? But she clung on to that dream. Her own golden orb of possibilities, she locked it away in her mind and would occasionally visit her little ball of gold when reality was not to her liking and her imagination was a nicer place in which to reside.

One day that hard working girl met a man and bought her house and learned to scuba dive and got a ‘proper’ job and then she found out she was going to be a mummy. Hurray! Her life was complete! Except it wasn’t, because locked away in her secret place was the golden orb bouncing about wanting to be set free. She had a mind full of ideas, a heart full of determination and a soul yearning to fulfill her destiny – but alas she also had her hands full. How would she work and be a mum to two children AND follow her dreams as a writer?

This was the moment that her Fairy Godmother should have stepped in and granted her a wish, the little mice and birdies should have taken over the housework and her big strong man should have galloped over and whisked her away from her drudgery. But no, there was no such magic. What the new mummy discovered instead was something much more powerful. She discovered tenacity, determination and an ability to survive on very little sleep (and wine, lots of wine).

When her husband watched the football, the woman wrote. When the house was silent and the family slept, the woman wrote. When the baby cried in the night and the washing had to be hung out or she was stuck on the motorway and running late for work, the woman wrote (in her head).

The more she wrote the larger her golden orb grew. It was no longer locked up in her secret place, it was now shining out of every part of her for the world to see. And they liked it. It made her smile brighter and her heart swell, the stronger it shone the harder she worked. The woman would write her own story and she would give it a happy ending, because no one else was going to.

Unlike most fairy-tales, I was not transformed from a stressed working mum to published author at the flick of a magic wand. It took four years, many tears and a lot of juggling. My husband felt ignored, my children felt left out and I survived on very little sleep. But I wasn’t going to let guilt, exhaustion or doubt stand in my way.

Being a mum with ambition is a tough path to tread. Many think that you are unnecessarily adding things to your life when you are busy enough already, but what nobody realises is that sometimes it’s those things – your golden orbs of hope – that are the only things getting you out of bed in the morning. It’s ambition that is pushing you forward and getting you through reality. It’s your dreams alone that you cling to when you think you may well drown in a sea of exhaustion.

In April 2016 I was signed to Accent Press on a three book deal for my fantasy romance thriller series under my pen name N J Simmonds. The Path Keeper, book one, is now available to order globally at all good bookshops – and book two Son Of Secrets is currently keeping me up all night and should be out late 2017.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want every mum to know that they too can reach their own dizzy heights, regardless of the fact that your focus is no longer on you. But it won’t happen because you dream a little dream, you really want it or you pray hard every night. No. You reach your goals because you believe in yourself, you stay focused and you work hard. You may well have brought children into this world but you still live here too, you are still important and you can still become what that little girl with her long list dreamed of being. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

I don’t believe in magic but I do believe in myself. Most of all I believe in you too, because dreams can come true.

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Natali Drake

Natali Drake is an author, freelance writer and mother of two little girls. In 2015 she co-founded theglasshousegirls.com - an online magazine for women who say it how it is! Her work has appeared in our very own The Mother Book, as well as in various online magazines and UK newspapers. Her YA Fantasy Romance series 'The Path Keeper' (written under her pen name N J Simmonds) is now available to order at all good bookshops or visit njsimmonds.com

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