This week, Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan announced that the final episode of the second season of The Jim Gaffigan Show would be the last for the TV Land sitcom. The talented couple cited lack of family time as the main reason for ending the show.
On Twitter, Jeannie tweeted:
Our real lives, marriage and family provide the inspiration for our comedy & our art and we need to have real life to make art.
This news got me thinking about a topic that interests me greatly. It’s something that my husband and I have discussed over and over again. How do you find the time and energy to pursue creative goals while raising a family? Is it worth the cost?
I tend to lean to the side of “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” while Adam is very much along the lines of “you can’t have it all.” I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Adam tends to be all or nothing and has a hard time breaking things up in small pieces here and there. He has taken a long break from pursuing a career as a musician because of this and his devotion to being present as much as possible for our two daughters. I believe that if God is truly calling us to pursue something, it will be worked out in the best interest of the family.
Let’s be real, life is unpredictable. Especially when it involves little ones. I didn’t get this blog post knocked out earlier in the week like I had hoped, so my plan was to finish it tonight in time to post Friday. What I didn’t take into account was a few unforeseen factors, like…
- My compressor going out in my car yesterday morning while driving the girls to school, which resulted in me driving my husband’s SUV today so he could drop my car off at the repair shop.
- A hectic day at work especially at the end of the day, right before I’m leaving to pick up my husband in crazy downtown traffic.
- My oldest daughter coming down with a cold and my youngest daughter being extra stubborn at bedtime.
- Eating a bowl of Corn Chex for dinner at 8 pm because I needed to cuddle with my sick daughter and I had no energy left to make anything.
This is the reality of family life.
If we don’t leave margin and room for flexibility, other goals don’t fit in very well. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. In response to a question I asked on Instagram about finding balance between pursuing dreams while raising children, Alyssa Barilar, fellow mom and entrepreneur, responded:
Ugh story of my life! I am always changing things around to see what works. I work from home so some days are a breeze while other days the kids need me nonstop lol. Planning helps, but being okay with adjusting to the day is key.
It can be hard to plan ahead for unforeseen situations, because it’s rare to find extra time to get more done! How is one supposed to pursue creative endeavors or other dreams while making money to support a family, caring for kids, making healthy meals, cleaning a house, spending time with their spouse, and on and on?
I think a lot of this depends on perspective and realistic goals. There was a day when Adam dreamed of singing in big arenas and hearing his songs on the radio. Now, he’s on the radio, but singing jingles about country clubs and eye banks that are playing in random towns across the United States. (Not quite what he had imagined!) He’s had to take a step back and re-focus on what may be feasible with a family. He’s been on tour for several weekends out of the year and doesn’t want to do that again. Maybe at some point, he’ll plan to play some conferences and record a mastered 6-song EP.
Granted, the people that seem to have the most flexibility are the creatives who busted it and are making enough money at it that they can outsource tasks and support their families. I’d venture to say that a lot of time had to go into making that happen before more of a “balance” could be achieved. Case in point, the Gaffigans can afford to end a TV show because they really don’t need the money from that project at this point.
But for us “normal” people who are trying to devote time to our families and pursue a side project that could hopefully turn into something more, what can we do? Here are some tidbits I’ve gathered so far…
- Be content with doing a little at a time. All these small things definitely add up!
- Give grace. We may want everything to be perfect, but is it good enough?
- Be prepared for plans to change. Flexibility is not NOT an option!
- Take breaks when needed. Re-charging and self-care is non-negotiable.
- Write down goals and break them down into small, achievable tasks. Find a planner that works to manage business, personal, and family to-do’s.
- Lastly, and most importantly, pray to be able to discern what’s needed in the moment each day.
Professional and creative dreams may take a little longer to pursue while having a family, but I would say that everything is more meaningful and done with more intention and efficiency. If God has given you a gift, pursue it in the best way unique to you and your family! It can be done!
Forgive me if this post doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should or my thoughts are incomplete. I’m a little tired from working full-time in the behavioral health field, battling traffic daily, and mommy-ing, but I’m committed to knocking my weekly posts out on time. It may not be as well-thought out and edited as I would have liked, but it’s done and for today that’s enough! (Attempting to practice what I preach!)
Thanks for hanging in there with me! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic. Any advice? Spill! I’d really love to get a good conversation going about this!