posted in: Life, Motherhood, Parenting 117 comments

She traversed the globe in an age when travel by air was not the convention – from Italy to Australia, Hawaii to Baghdad and Croatia. She took lessons in singing and dancing. She survived divorce and found love again at age 40. She wrote poetry, plays and books, which have sold over a billion copies worldwide. She, is my literary hero, Agatha Christie. I devoured read her autobiography over a few days last week, and was awestruck.

In a way, she lived a quiet life. But she lived big. She wasn’t afraid to try new things, nor she was hesitant in admitting when something didn’t work for her. 

This got me thinking. What have I done? How big is my life? 

In my early 20’s, I had great ambitions. I found my footing in public relations and marketing, and had a terrific 10-year career. I was good at what I did. Could I have scaled the ladder further at my last job? Maybe. I will never know. I left when I was at the threshold of something bigger, to embark on the next phase of life – motherhood. 

I had dreams to travel the world. To live abroad. To experience different cultures, and see how other people live. I dreamed of Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil. I wanted to walk down unfamiliar streets, smell exotic scents, taste amazing food, meet incredible people. I have had the privilege of living briefly in England when I was at university. I have traveled to numerous places for work – places I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. But I didn’t see, taste, smell, touched as much as I would have liked. I did not have my own agenda. 

I wanted to make a difference. To the world, to someone’s life. I wanted to create ripples. I wanted to live big.

For the past four years, I have carved out life has a wife and mother. I had the privilege of carrying two children to term. Those children are thriving. We have a lovely home. We live comfortably. When people ask me what I do, I say I’m a mother. 

But some days, that doesn’t feel big. It feels ordinary. 

I haven’t done anything extraordinary like write and publish books. I write and publish this blog, just one of many out there. I haven’t saved lives, I’m not an activist, I haven’t raised money for charity. I have never won awards or received recognition for writing, or blogging, or anything really, in real life or online. I haven’t run a marathon or even a 5k. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining or fishing for compliments. This is just me, laying it out as I see it. 

So as I sit here, contemplating Agatha Christie’s life, and the lives of the many women whose blogs I read, I realize that maybe my role in life is not to live big. 

Living life big quote

Perhaps, my job here on Earth, is to give life to my children’s dreams. Maybe, my real purpose is to guide my children to greatness, wherever they may find it. It is my role as their mother, to give them the life skills and tools to make something of themselves. 

I think that my children are meant to live big, in the way I did not, cannot. If that is my place in the world, then I could not possibly ask for more. Perhaps, this is me, living big.

What is your life ambition? Have you achieved it?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • September 25, 2013 Allie

    I struggle with this as well. I have run marathons, triathlons and every other race imaginable (and even have won some) but it seems there is always more – bigger things – goals, lives. Maybe just to have the passion to live BIG is what it’s all about? I do know that I will be reading Agatha Christie’s book so I thank you for that.
    Allie recently wrote…Catching Up to 2008My Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      It is a wonderful book. So thought provoking.
      I think you’re very accomplished! And passion, yes, that. I do hope that’s enough.

  • September 25, 2013 tracy

    I think the mundane part of motherhood make me think way too small – so inside these four walls and that is so hard..because I want my kids to live and learn and help outside of these walls…but sometimes just getting them out the door is so.damn.hard. And sometimes I’m happy just sitting and eating dark chocolate. xo
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Yes, it’s the day-to-day that makes everything seem so small. But small adds up, right? At least that’s what I hope.

  • September 25, 2013 seventiesbaby

    This – “But some days, that doesn’t feel big. It feels ordinary”

    I like that you have found a way to make ordinary, extraordinary. That you can live big, albeit vicariously, as a mother. Are you sure you’ve NEVER been recognised for your writing?? That’s just ridiculous. Wait…

    “And the highly coveted winning award goes to *fumbles excitedly to open the envelope* ALISON from Writing, Wishing for sharing her life her love and her dreams with us all”…. cue music as the crowd erupts in a standing ovation

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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Aw, you’re such a sweetheart. Thank you.

  • September 25, 2013 Leigh Ann

    I haven’t thought about this in a while, probably because I’m so bogged down with the day to days of motherhood, in these 4 walls as Tracy described it. It does cause me to think about the bigger picture and “what does it all mean.” Which I don’t really like thinking about. :/
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Aw, I’m sorry if I did make you think about it.

  • September 25, 2013 Adrienne

    I think you are living big. It just looks different than what you envisioned in your twenties or compared to Agatha Christie. I get this, though. Motherhood is a big job, but it’s a thankless job in many aspects. There’s a lot of things I wanted to do and still want to do, but can’t because my priorities are different now. The family comes first, everything else waits, but I don’t want to give up those dreams. I hope to be the 80 year old woman who’s living big! πŸ˜‰
    Adrienne recently wrote…Trusting God When I Don’t Understand.My Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      I can see you rocking life at 80!

  • September 25, 2013 Christine Organ

    I can totally relate to this one! I want a big, meaningful, purposeful life. Basically, I want to know that what I did and how I lived mattered, that I lived me life in the best possible way, that I am totally used up at the end of it, you know? Anyway, in reading your post, I realized that it is, in part, a matter of perspective. I look at your life and what you’ve done and are doing and think, “Wow, there’s someone who’s living a big life.” Traveling to far-off places, creating an amazing network of writer-mothers, and raising two little boys. The routine aspects of motherhood (wiping noses, carpooling, breaking up fights, etc.) can all seem small and ordinary at times. But really, I think that one of the BIGGEST and greatest things that we can do is to touch another person’s soul in a positive way, to leave that person better than when we found them, so that they can go on to do the same for someone else. Great post – you touched on something many (all?) of us feel.
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    • September 25, 2013 Shana Norris

      I love what you say here Christine: “one of the biggest and greatest things that we can do is to touch another person’s soul in a positive way …”

      And, Alison, I wanted to have traveled and experienced other places and their people much more than I have at this point, too. I always tell myself that Lillian Carter served in the Peace Corps when she was in her late 60s, so it’s never too late.
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      • September 28, 2013 Alison

        You’re right Shana, it is never too late. Let’s do the important stuff of raising humans first! πŸ™‚

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for your insightful comment, Christine. And to echo Shana, I too, love the part about touching someone in a positive way, and they pass that on. I hope that I do that in some ways, and not just for my boys.

  • September 25, 2013 Lady Jennie

    Aah. THIS is the question. This is what most of us want. I know just a few people who are content with a small life (and rather than look down on them, I envy them). But I want to live bit too!

    I think you have and I think you will again, but in the period of small children, it is necessary to live a little small.
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    • September 25, 2013 Lady Jennie

      By the way, wanted to add that I only feel like I’m starting to come out of the smallness – the baby fog – the last two years or so when my youngest turned 3.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      You’re right – it’s still early years in my mothering journey. More to come, I’m sure!

  • September 25, 2013 Susi

    Alison, it’s so good to read this. I’ve often caught myself thinking along those lines in the past few weeks. About what I’m doing or not doing and why that is and I always circle back to the part about where I am a mother. A mother to three amazing kids and I know, deep in my heart that above all else THAT is my purpose and it calms me to know I’m doing something great there!!!
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      You are, Susi, you are.

  • September 25, 2013 Kerstin

    Almost a year ago I wrote a post about living a life less ordinary and one of the comments I got opened my eyes: It’s all about perspective. The person living a life never feels like it is “special”, they just try to make it day to day, like everyone else. Agatha Christie probably caught hell for what she did and how she lived her life more then once (also: I need to read that book!).
    The key is to find your comfort zone and then venture out from there. When I read through our post, one of the things I thought is that you probably did save someone’s life already. Someone who was down and out and depressed and who came to your site and read your writing and felt your encouragement and found the strength to move on or write on πŸ™‚
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Aw, that’s so sweet of you, Kerstin. I don’t know if I’ve ever saved anyone with my words. I hope I have given someone something to think about on any given day, that will hopefully improve their mindset, at the very least. xo

  • September 25, 2013 Catherine

    I also think it depends on how you define ‘big’. I live a big life because I had a great career, I have three wonderful children, and most importantly I will be married for twenty-six years come this October. Big is what you decide is Big.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Three children and 26 years of marriage? Yes, that is Big!

  • September 25, 2013 sarah reinhart

    I know exactly what you mean here. I had dreams of grandeur too. Traveling, experiencing, and so on. That’s one way to live big for sure. I do feel like I’m still living big sometimes though without ever leaving my home. And oh goodness, the list of what I’d like to achieve is enough for a few lifetimes πŸ™‚ I want to write children’s books. I want to write young adult novels. I’d love to win a Newbery Award (don’t laugh.) I’d love to be published in an anthology of American poetry. I’ve thought about becoming a midwife. I’ve thought about becoming a certified hypnotherapist. Sometimes I think, I think and want too much. Is that possible? Is that a problem? Regardless, my work right now is mostly mothering. And I love that. Very very much. Can’t stop myself from dreaming though. xx

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Sarah, you already do so much. You doula, you photograph, you teach, you write, you are the Mama of four gorgeous people and wife of one wonderful man. You are the glue, the pillar, the foundation of your family. That is BIG. But. You can still do all those things you dream about, because you are still dreaming them. Which means they’re alive, and there is time to make them come true. I believe in you!

  • September 25, 2013 Vikki

    And maybe you are redefining what it means to live big.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      I’ll do whatever it takes to feel like I have lived big. πŸ™‚

  • September 25, 2013 Nicole

    I think it’s human nature to think and dream big. I also think it’s human nature to feel ordinary and to question whether we’re making a difference in the world. For most of us, paying bills, providing for our families, and getting through the everyday responsibilities is the reality. We don’t have limitless funds to travel and explore. And even if we did, even that would eventually seem ordinary. But finding the extraordinary in the ordinary? That’s special. And molding two lives, giving them everything they need to realize their own dreams? Well, that’s all any mother can hope for in this life.
    Nicole recently wrote…The Greatest Mountain: Part IMy Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Thank you Nicole. Truly. Thank you.

  • September 25, 2013 Shannon

    I feel this struggle. The struggle to find purpose inside and outside of motherhood – even more as my kids get older and need me less. I think, perhaps, it’s about living well as opposed to living big. Being contentedly full, as opposed to overflowing with all of the having and the doing. As I come closer to the time when my children will leave home, I am seeing how much life is left on the other side (hopefully). It’s really hard to see that when you are still up to your ears in diapers and sippy cups. The thought of it is exciting and scary and sad and wonderful, all at the same time.
    Thank you, Alison, for this post. It speaks to me in more ways than you know.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Shannon, you give me hope that one day, the fog of early motherhood will lift, and I will see clearly.
      I’m excited for you, for what is to come!

  • September 26, 2013 Tamara

    Until I was in my 20’s, I wanted to be world famous. A household name. For what? I don’t know. I just wanted big, big, BIG. World travel, anything I wanted, no pain.
    I’ve changed some in my early 30’s. I have the kids and I think even our little moments are miraculous. I want to travel the world, but find myself kept here by money, kid and anxiety constraints. I guess my view of my own life has changed, but I still have those big dreams. I really do. Northern lights, photography dreams, writing a book, etc.
    Tamara recently wrote…You Can Be A Hot Mess In The Game Of Life!My Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Tamara, you need to write that book. And pursue all things photography. You have it in you. xo

  • September 26, 2013 Ashlee

    This gave me chills. I’m still only 21 and have a hopefully long life ahead of me. I became a mother early, so it’s put a hold on some of my hopes and dreams, but also changed some of my hopes and dreams. Within the past year, my goals have changed tremendously. I started a blog and found my true passion – writing. I have goals to travel, but I want to do it as a family, so it can wait.

    I think that mothering two children, providing a food and shelter, AND living comfortably is a HUGE accomplishment, definitely big. The average person lives paycheck to paycheck, myself included. I totally envy families and women just like you. Keep on writing, Alison.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Ashlee. I guess now that the 20’s is far behind me, I tend to forget that life was even smaller than, when I too, lived paycheck to paycheck. I am grateful for where I am today. I am.

  • September 26, 2013 Tonya


    I suppose that’s what reading biographies will do to you, huh… make you examine your own life and see if you are where you hoped you’d be.

    I honestly try not to dwell on it because I could have never imagined this life. All the good and bad, but now, you’ve really got me thinking…
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      I do tend to get into a more introspective frame of mind after reading bios! And inspired to write too. I felt the same after reading Wild. πŸ™‚

  • September 26, 2013 Kerry

    I can so relate to this message. I definitely have those moments where I feel like I should be doing something so much bigger – perhaps that’s my ego. But I think doing the ordinary really well is probably the most important, biggest legacy we will leave. It is the little things – the small family moments and traditions, the hugs and kisses and bedtime stories. I tell myself this, but the ego does creep in. I also try to tell myself that I have a lot of life yet to live – so there will be more time to go BIG.
    Kerry recently wrote…Bouncing Too Many Balls … AgainMy Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Someone else mentioned that it’s never too late. I’m holding on to that!

  • September 26, 2013 Savvy Working Gal

    I too thought I would live a big life. I think both my husband and I value security too much to do otherwise. I can still dream though.
    Savvy Working Gal recently wrote…Receiving a Job or Promotion Because You are a WOMANMy Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Sometimes, dreams can come true!

  • September 26, 2013 Mo at Mocadeaux

    Recently I was having this conversation with my mom. She had great plans for her life. Then my dad, the love of her life, died suddenly at the age of 35 leaving my mom with 4 young children and a future that looked very different than she imagined. My mom said she regretted that she wasn’t able to do some of the things she had hoped to do to be able to help society. I told her, just as you said, that she has benefitted society by raising four productive, responsible children. Each of us has made our own little mark on the world and I know that my own children will, too. The ripple effect spreads goodness whether it is from a “big” life or a more modest one.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing that, Mo! Inspiring.

  • September 26, 2013 Jennifer

    I think that most of the ripples we create are ones that we will never see or notice come to fruition. That’s how ripples work. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t living big if you don’t think you are. The bigness comes later.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Did you experience gender disappointment?My Profile

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Oh, I hope so, Jennifer, I hope so.

  • September 26, 2013 JenyRedfield

    Alison, sometimes I’m afraid of you. It’s like you may read my thoughts…)
    These are exactly the questions that I’m looking an answer on them, I red several books about happiness and positive thinking, now I’m reading “The 4 hour workweek” and trying to figure out what does it mean to live an interesting,fulfilling and exciting life.
    I’ve already made some rules for myself to make my life more positive and balanced and I continue to explore this question.
    I don’t want to live a Big life like being someone famous, usually these people are no very happy, I think my life is Big in my personal dimension, I just want it to be more exciting and meaningful. I work on this!!!

    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      I applaud you for working on making your life a more positive experience!

  • September 26, 2013 melissa

    I would have to say becoming a stay at home mom…I just didn’t think it would happen as early as it did! I thought I would have some sort of career but honestly career wise nothing was clicking and I wasn’t into traveling. I ended up just dropping out of college because it just wasn’t working out and I wasn’t happy. Then I had my son at 20, met my husband at 20 when my son was 4 months, married at 21, became a full time stay at home mom and to me that was it. All I knew was retail and…that just wasn’t doing it. I eventually was in a depressed kind of stage because of not having any real passions for anything to call my own. Then I had my daughter and we bought houses lol. Then I was into helping make desicions on renovating and eventually got back into home decor and then found photography! Eventually instead of worrying about living this big life I just started trying because my kids inspired me to.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      Life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn’t it?

  • September 26, 2013 Greta

    I don’t think everyone can live “big” or that it would be a good thing if everyone did. And, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people see others as living “big”, while they see themselves as living “small.” Big to me seems reckless, not responsible. Which is good….sometimes.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      It’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

  • September 26, 2013 Leah

    So many thoughts running through my mind with this post. I recently went through a weird period where I was feeling frustrated and inadequate with the whole mothering scene – especially with being a stepmom. You really are often treated like a wicked witch in the school ground.Many people look at your family as “not really a family” because of the blended factor. But then someone said something to me that really hit me: they mentioned that I was blessed to be a mother to my own two boys and then my calling of motherhood was magnified and I was given 3 more to mother. It literally took me from feeling like I had been ripped off by not having a real family – to me feeling like I had been given the greatest honour ever to have this unique family. Sometimes the “big” things that we thought were so big are really nothing compared to what our true callings are.
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    • September 28, 2013 Alison

      That’s an amazing and wonderful perspective, Leah!
      For the record, I DO think you’re doing an amazing thing with all five of your children.

  • September 26, 2013 Nina

    My life’s ambition was/is to be a writer. I think I’ve found my little niche there. Is it what I imagined as a kid?? (Book tour, etc.) No. But I’m happy and I also get to be a mom of four. I really can’t complain.

    Very thought provoking post. Well done!
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Nina, if I had dreams to be a writer, and am doing what you’re doing (and have done), I’d say I am doing pretty well – so yes, you are living big!

  • September 26, 2013 My Inner Chick

    YOU. Are. FAR. From. Ordinary.

    In fact, I’d say you are Unbelievably Extraordinary, Dear Alison Lee. Xxx

    For example, A kick ass Mama & a Kick ass Writer!
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      You are far too generous with me, my friend. Thank you. xo

  • September 26, 2013 Ilene

    I’m just finding my ambitions now – and hope to live them big. I don’t think it matters what we do, so long as there is passion behind it. So I think in that sense, we all live big if we live passionately.

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      So I just need to find my passion, and pursue it!

  • September 26, 2013 Kristen

    I can understand those feelings. I really like the thought that you’re living big because you’re raising two young boys to become fine men who will leave their own mark on the world.

    Motherhood is such a big job. Truly the most important job in the world!
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      It is, Kristen!

  • September 26, 2013 Stephanie

    I think you are selling yourself short!

    “I had great dreams” – you still do, you are still dreaming
    “I had dreams to travel the world, to live abroad, to experience different cultures” you did all of that, maybe not as much as you wanted to but you did it
    “I haven’t done anything extraordinary, I wanted to make a difference” you’ve done that too. By living your life as yourself and allowing yourself to dream and act on your hopes – taking any action to make your life better and fulfill your mind and soul, that is extraordinary. So many people just hope and wish and never act on any of it.

    And the make a difference part? That is the hardest and most extraordinary thing you’ve done – you’ve chosen to be a mom and guide a child through life for as long as they need and want you. Who knows what they will become but the world will be different because they are here. And it’s different because you are here. You are living big…I hope you someday see how big your life really is!

    I love to read and I’m going to read that book next, thank you for writing about it.
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Stephanie, thank you truly for your encouraging words!
      I do hope you enjoy the Christie autobiography!

  • September 26, 2013 Stevie

    Ah yes, I think I can understand that feeling. I remember being younger and thinking I wanted to do big things and make a difference in the world. Do something with kids or teens, be a counselor, help people heal. Do big things in the community. But we all have bills to pay, so my dream started to shift to climbing the corporate ladder. Becoming a Director or a VP. And now…all I really want to be is a mom. I’m willing to dial back a little on the dreams to do that. So maybe dreams shift. Maybe big isn’t the most important thing. Or maybe our definition of big shifts.
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I think my definition of it has definitely shifted.
      I’m excited for your next phase of life, Stevie! MOM!

  • September 26, 2013 shefali

    Ahh, the BIG question. I think about this often too, and it gets brushed aside while all I do all day is cater to the needs of other people. I often feel like maybe I am just here, so that I can help my kids get to greatness. Maybe when they get older, there will be more time to ponder these things. I love how honest and open you are in your posts Alison. Maybe this is your big thing, being the best mom you can be.
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I hope it is, because I can’t see past the fog of motherhood. Right now, it’s IT for me. So I better make the most of it. πŸ™‚

  • September 26, 2013 Jen

    I am going to grab that book for sure, it sounds amazing! I think we all struggle with wanting to do something big,make a difference, etc. Don’t sell yourself short, you are BIG to a lot of people with your blogging info, your help you freely give to others in forums, and with so much more!
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, you’re too kind, Jen, thank you.

  • September 26, 2013 just JENNIFER

    I think about this all the time. As a child I was never able to pinpoint what I wanted to be when I grew up. The answer changed with my mood. But the one thing I did always know was that I wanted to have a family, to be a mom. I have a good friend who feels the same way. We think that some women really do embody that maternal THING, whatever it is. And that’s OK.

    So now I think, whatever I else I do, is just cake. And I think I do need to do other things, so that I don’t become so wrapped up in my children’s lives that when they move on away from me, I have nothing left. Always finding balance!
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      It is a balance, to not get too wrapped up in the mothering, and lose all sense of everything else. I think that is what I hope to pursue – something outside of it that I can be good at, and proud of.

  • September 27, 2013 Natalie

    Oh my what a wonderful post…I thought I used to be an ambitious person…but it seems to be redefined in my new mother role. It’s funny how things change…and you realize that sometimes the simple moments are really what matters.
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      It is. Is it enough though? That’s what I question often.

  • September 27, 2013 Robin

    Weird, I posted about this same sort of idea just this week. πŸ™‚

    I don’t know what my purpose is, but I do think I have one. I’m still working towards it and trust that it will reveal itself when it’s time. πŸ™‚
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I was writing this post midway when I read your post, and thought, what a coincidence!
      I do think you have a greater purpose. I’m not sure about me though.

  • September 27, 2013 Arnebya

    I question myself so often. Should I continue to strive toward my goals? Should I say screw my goals, I need to focus on my children? And it’s not complaining; it’s wondering. It’s thoughtful contemplation of our lives and needs and goals and effects on our families. I absolutely agree that my children will be more than I ever dreamed of being. But it’ll be because I show them their potential and help them realize that anything is attainable. (But then of course I wonder why that never happened for me).
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    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I can see great things ahead for you, Arnebya. I hope you see that too.

  • I did not struggle with this myself, because I never had a big career – a fact with which I am oddly fine – but I recognize a lot of what you wrote in my mother, the first person – and a girl to boot!! – in her family to get a university degree, to get a management position in a huge bank, but who ultimaly chose her family and a “small life”. When she turned sixty we had a party with well over 100 people, who all wanted to celebrate the amazing wife, friend, aunt, niece, etc she was.
    Being “small” does not mean you are not “Big”, you are just big in other areas, it is all a question of perspective.
    And I love Agatha too…
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…And they are off…My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing your mother’s story, Tinne! It’s good to know that life can be big, even without the big career, travel and accolades.

  • September 27, 2013 angela

    Not all bigness is measured in miles and jumps and leaps. Your boys are getting big love, and that’s going to be such a foundation for their futures.
    angela recently wrote…NightfallMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      They are indeed. But I wonder if it’s enough. Sigh.

  • September 27, 2013 Jeanette

    I feel that I living the life that I want. I have never dreamed big or had high ambitions goal. When I was in school I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up:)
    I got pregnant the first time when I was 17 years old and even if it was hard to have a baby so young I don’t regret it. I love being a mother and the life we living…so I can’t say that I feel that I missing out of things. What I want to do, I can do it with them:)
    Jeanette recently wrote…They should not freezeMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I think it’s great that you’re living the life you want to, Jeanette!

  • September 27, 2013 Christine

    And…are you writing about me? I totally get this and feel this way.Couldn’t have gone further in my career but made a lifestyle and family decision to freelance instead rather than be an Executive Director somewhere. I sometimes feel like I “wasted” my education – went to good schools and have good degrees – because I look at my friends and colleagues and they are doing amazing things, changing lives, leading, etc. and that makes me feel like I haven’t done something big enough. Add to this my little career change and yoga teaching thing and anxiety really starts to slip in. But maybe it’s a matter of perspective and maybe what “big” means has changed as we have changed and our priorities have changed.
    Christine recently wrote…Spaces in betweenMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I do feel this way because I do compare myself to other people who have gone further in the last few years, and have done big things. Things I think maybe I could be doing if I hadn’t quit. But I realize that I would not trade my life now with theirs. So I have to contend with whatever ‘bigness’ I can get from this life now.

  • September 27, 2013 Susanna Leonard Hill

    Don’t kid yourself, Alison! Being a mother is beyond big – it’s a HUGE thing! What you do for your boys every day is tremendous. But just because you are a mother doesn’t mean your life is over πŸ™‚ or that you should give up your own dreams. Sometimes they have to go on the back burner for a while, but keep them simmering. There will be time for them πŸ™‚
    Susanna Leonard Hill recently wrote…Would You Read It Wednesday #106 – The Light Bulb And The Lab Coat (PB) PLUS The August Pitch Pick Winner!My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Susanna, I sure hope so! I tell myself that 37 is still young, still plenty of time.

  • September 27, 2013 Leslie

    Who knows what life holds for you over the next ten, twenty or thirty years? What can happen with someone’s life is that the humdrum times can get lost in all the other amazing times. Just keep following your heart…the big times will come.
    Leslie recently wrote…{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 39My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you Leslie, that is good advice.

  • September 27, 2013 Tracie

    I feel this so much. I’m certainly not living BIG the way I imagined it when I was younger. Most days I’m okay with it, but there are times when the desire to go out and seek change is like an itch under every inch of my skin. I love what you said about your boys, about guiding them to greatness and living big, maybe that is what I’m doing here on those days when it feels small. I like that.
    Tracie recently wrote…No MoreMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      I think it’s that desire to make a change. Something tangible, that mothering does not show immediately, hence the itch. We just have to bide our time. Take the small things in and wait for them to feel ‘big’.

  • September 27, 2013 Rabia

    My parents were in the Peace Corps before they had me. Actually that’s where they met. When I got engaged, my mom worried that I hadn’t traveled enough before settling down. I ignored her (of course), but I find that travel isn’t really what I yearn for. I want the stability of sameness. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down a trip to Australia, but I much prefer to be home, with my family; my husband and children. I don’t know what my life’s ambitions are, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I feel content.
    Rabia recently wrote…Five Minute Friday: TrueMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      It’s wonderful to feel content, Rabia!

  • September 27, 2013 KalleyC

    I really do struggle with this. I want to live big, I want to do things and go places and experience the world, but I usually find myself at home folding laundry. As small as this world may seem to me, it is my children’s world. I still connect, and I still go places, but I do things at a slower pace. My dreams are still there, ambition is still there, but “living big” is defined by my own standards now, compared to someone else’s.
    KalleyC recently wrote…Dealing With Time WastersMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      It is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

  • September 28, 2013 Elaine A.

    When I was a little girl I was sure I was going to be a famous pop singer someday. And then when I was 18 I was certain I was going to be a fashion designer or something like that. πŸ˜‰ My “big” dreams have certainly changed but I am not sure if living “big” is my thing either. I am good raising my kids and loving my husband and having fullfilling things to do on the side. Although I have to say, traveling to all those places you mentioned sounds pretty awesome. πŸ˜‰ I like what you say at the end about helping your boys succeed with their dreams. But then I usually like what you say. πŸ™‚
    Elaine A. recently wrote…“There’s life after children.”My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thanks Elaine. I think you have a really good thing going, my friend. xo

  • September 28, 2013 Amber Day Hicks

    I love this post! 10 year telecom sales career ended in May & I’ve just stepped back and SAHM for a bit until I figure out what I want. Great to hear your thoughts, thanks for sharing. Caught your link on the #LOBS weekend. πŸ™‚
    Amber Day Hicks recently wrote…Ladies only Blog Share- β€œFall” into the season linkup!!!My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Enjoy your SAHM time!

  • September 28, 2013 Keely

    I can’t help but sometimes think that this a microcosm of the stuff I’m gonna do- a phase, if you will. My kids aren’t always gonna be this bitty…maybe we can go do huge things together? I like to think I’m raising adventurers. πŸ™‚
    Keely recently wrote…September Date: Loitering In Logan Square.My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      That’s a good attitude to have! I definitely have one little adventurer on my hands. πŸ™‚

  • September 28, 2013 Andrea

    I love your perspective. It’s very difficult to come to a place of peace with what our lives look like. We are given one life to live. When we live a life that is full and fulfilled, that to me is a successful life. I think you’re there.

    Our world teaches us that life is not worth living without big, lofty goals, and success is only found through making lots of money and achieving recognition from many for our work, and being the light-filled center of the universe, the thing that people orient themselves towards.

    When we strive for more, and bigger, better things, we forget that for some, we are the center of the universe. When mothers are amazing at what we do, our children look to us for everything. Our job is to teach them how to live their lives well, and I have learned that that is a very big thing.
    Andrea recently wrote…Learning To Do It AllMy Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      And you are very wise, Andrea!

  • September 29, 2013 Melinda

    I feel that way too sometimes. Being a mom is a HUGE thing, it’s big. I mean we are raising these little humans who have to go out into the world someday and interact and hopefully change it for the better. That in itself is big. Though when we are wiping noses and bums, doesn’t feel so big. I do have some big goals for myself. I want to write Christian fiction. I want to be a missionary in Haiti (that’s our direction right now unless doors are closed) or another country. I want to encourage people. I’ve never seen that quote by Emile Zola but I really like it.
    Melinda recently wrote…Women Living Well Book Giveaway!My Profile

    • September 29, 2013 Alison

      Melinda, those are amazing goals to have, and I hope you achieve them!

  • September 30, 2013 anymommy

    Wait we need a life ambition? I think it’s a sign of someone who strives hard in life to wonder whether accomplishments are big enough. We all forget that we’re the ones making up the size of the measuring stick.
    anymommy recently wrote…Not really taking names, more like barely maintaining altitudeMy Profile

    • September 30, 2013 Alison

      We are, aren’t we? I just need to stop looking at my peers and comparing my life to theirs.

  • October 1, 2013 Sarah

    A lot of people accomplish big things later in life, too. I think it’s wonderful to pour yourself into your children, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams. They won’t be little forever! (Ps, I love Agatha Cristie but I don’t know anything about her personal life. I might have to check out that book!)
    Sarah recently wrote…What I’m Into, September 2013My Profile

    • October 1, 2013 Alison

      I sure hope I have time to pursue those dreams some day.
      And the book is awesome! I didn’t know anything about her personal life either. It made me want to reread all her books.

  • October 2, 2013 Jessica

    I think it’s all in your perspective. What’s big for one person might not be big for another. Just do what makes you happy.
    Jessica recently wrote…Banana Almond Smoothie {aka Chunky Monkey}My Profile

    • October 2, 2013 Alison

      You’re absolutely right!

  • October 3, 2013 Michelle

    My ambitions? Sure I want to be successful. But sometimes success is measured by the legacy we leave behind. In the end what I want is to see my children happy and healthy and watch my grandchildren grow up.
    Michelle recently wrote…How to Tell If Your Cat Loves YouMy Profile

    • October 3, 2013 Alison

      I do hope I leave a big legacy. Time to do the work now, right? πŸ™‚

  • October 7, 2013 Kristin Shaw

    I feel that right now is my time to live big! The timing is perfect and I’m ready. I have traveled to many of the places I have wanted to see already, so I’m happy I have had that experience, but now is the time for me to live big with my dreams and pursue them. I love posts like this to remind me! xo
    Kristin Shaw recently wrote…Look againMy Profile

    • October 7, 2013 Alison

      I’m so excited for you and your new phase in life, Kristin!

  • October 11, 2013 Runnermom-jen

    This is crazy to say, I have no big life ambitions for myself. My only dream in life is to be happy and live happy and have the people around me happy. You know what I think, though? Even though you see your life as ordinary, you are something extraordinary to your children.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…I’m Back!My Profile

    • October 12, 2013 Alison

      It sounds like you’re living your dream life already, and THAT, is big. xo

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Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

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