Pursuing Your Passion Even in the Midst of Diaper Duty
Local author Joy Callaway knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer. “I had a creative vibe going on even when I was little,” she says. “I was a creative kid, singing, doing plays, writing magazines about whatever topic I was interested in.”
But as is often the case, as she got older and life set in, she thought less of that creative passion and more of what made practical sense.
“Sometimes you lose sight of what you wanted as a little kid because it doesn’t seem feasible and you think of the responsible thing to do,” Callaway says.
In college, Callaway studied journalism and settled into a marketing and public relations career, but her love of reading and desire to do something more creative remained. After her first child, Alevia, was born four years ago, Callaway left her job to stay home with her daughter. She began writing as a hobby and wondered how caring for a baby full-time would affect her creativity.
“My greatest fear about having kids was that it would mean I wouldn’t write anymore. I had this illusion that being creatively free minded would somehow go away when my mind was occupied with kids.”
Instead, she pursued her creative endeavors even in the midst of diaper duty and sleep schedules.
“When I had Alevia, I had to find a way to adjust and to carve out time,” Callaway says. “I couldn’t afford the luxury of being in the zone. I had to do it when I could. It was great training for me. The kids took priority. My writing was also a priority, but I had to do it around my other responsibilities. It wasn’t the romantic idea of a writer, but it made me a better and more organized writer.”
Making the Leap of Faith
Tara Lynn Foster, a wife and mother of three, left a corporate position rather abruptly to pursue her passion.
“It was a three-day decision that was five years in the making,” she says.
Foster’s corporate job required her to work 60 to 70 hours a week and transitioned her to different positions within the company. Those various positions helped her realize what she did and didn’t like doing, and soon her vision for a different career began to take shape.
The other big catalyst for her career move: She jumped out of an airplane.
“I gave my husband two tickets to skydive as a Christmas gift in 2012,” Foster says. “He had been before and the gift was that I was going to go with him. I figured it was winter, so I would have plenty of time to mentally prepare because no one jumps out of a plane in the winter.”
Spring approached and Tara still had not mentally prepared, but her husband took the initiative and scheduled the jump. The instructors told the group that screaming on descent is good because it helps you breathe.
“If screaming is the best way to breathe, then I was a champ,” she says.
But on the way down, Foster realized something: “You can keep worrying about how you’re going to get through it or you can enjoy the ride.”
That thought applied not only to her skydive experience, but also to her work and personal life.
“I knew if I could face and conquer my biggest fear of falling out of a plane to my death, then there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do,” she says.
While attending a leadership conference, Foster knew it was time to quit her day job. Three days later, she resigned to begin a career as an executive coach and consultant who helps women take their next steps towards working from their passion.
“I love to see the light come on in a woman’s eyes as she sees something in a new way,” she says of her coaching career. “I have a vision for my career. I’m now living on purpose in a way that I’ve given myself the opportunity to re-examine who I want to be.”
But making that leap can be just as scary as jumping out of an airplane.
“I think our biggest challenge is that we get caught up in how it might fail instead of getting wrapped up in how it might succeed,” Foster says. “My theory is that we are more comfortable thinking of how it might fail because we know that experience. We know the next step to take and where to go if we fail because we understand that experience. But thinking about how it might succeed, we’re not sure what’s next. It’s scary not knowing.”
Never Give Up
Callaway’s daughter was 9 months old when she realized her dream and received her first book deal. Callaway is now the mother of two small children and the author of two published books. Her second one, “The Fifth Avenue Artists Society” was released in July 2017.
Callaway encourages parents to pursue their passion. “It’s important to find the time, even if it’s 30 minutes a day, to do something for your sense of self, to get into your passion,” she says. “It’s really important to keep pursuing it. It will show your kids that they can do whatever they want to. Their passions are important if you put priority on yours.”
Foster challenges her clients to have a vision for what they want by asking themselves these questions:
- What do you want your life to look like?
- What is missing in your life right now?
- If you didn’t have to work 70 hours a week or do something that drains you, what would you do?
- How would you feel?
- What are your kids doing?
- How is your marriage?
- How often do you go on vacation?
“I don’t know that people would admit that if you follow your passion it’s going to be easy,” Foster says. “I believe that anything is possible. It depends on what you are willing to trade to make it happen.”
Meagan Church is a writer, children’s book author and the brainpower behind unexpectant.com, which explores the story of modern motherhood. She lives in Charlotte with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets.