"Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit – I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27."
This has, perhaps inevitably, provoked a media storm, and a deep divide between those who agree and those who don't. Having spent twenty years studying, travelling, working, living overseas, and having a fine time of it, all before I had my babies, I am firmly on the disagree side. Having done it all, I have no regrets, no resentments, and no ambivalent feelings towards motherhood. As far as I'm concerned, I'm the girls' now, 100%, and have no desire for nights out or weekends away without them. Done that, got the t-shirt as they say! Perhaps that is why Attachment Parenting works for us, when it might not work for some 20-somethings*. I will be available to them 24 hours a day for as long as they need me, even if that is well into their 20s or 30s.
However, that doesn't mean I have no dreams or goals left to fulfill, so I was delighted to be asked by Post-it® Super Sticky Notes to take part in their new 'Make It Happen' campaign. As part of their research, Post-it found that the average woman's life plan includes meeting 'the one' at 24, having children by 27, and achieving a management position by 34. However, the study of 2000 women found that many were yet to tick off important goals on their list, particularly having their first child, actually meeting 'the one', and travelling to a particular place they'd always intended to.
I think the last one of those is perhaps the most depressing as, really, travel is probably the easiest thing to achieve. Get a job, any job, start saving, apply for a passport, and go! My own must visit list, written at 13, comprised of Spain, New Zealand, Russia, New York and Antarctica. Unfortunately, Antarctica is still my goal, but the rest were ticked off fairly promptly in my 20s. The research found that women's other unfulfilled aims included starting their own business and getting to their ideal weight and size, while a quarter are still hoping they will one day live by the sea. Well I highly recommend the last one there, but as for the weight.size thing, just forget about it ladies! Life really is too short to have that as a goal, surely?!
Asked about the results of the survey, Thinking Woman’s Coach and Post-it® spokeswoman Jessica Chivers said:
"The important thing is to keep goals front of mind and to acknowledge the small successes you’re having that are taking you towards the ultimate achievement.
Making goals, writing down your dreams and keeping them fresh in the mind is a great motivator. Recognising that you are moving in the right direction is a spur to keep going, so our goals don’t become distant daydreams or things we regret never trying to do."
The most worrying part of the study for me is that many women report not achieving or even pursuing their goals due to the fear that they are now too old; they don't know where to start; or they lack the bravery to 'just go for it'. Please don't let these misguided beliefs and fears be barriers to achieving your dreams.
I remember reading about life plans (6 months, a year, 5 years, 10 years etc) in my 20s and did subscribe to the idea at one time, but I think a better approach is to decide what your goals are and then set baby steps towards them. It certainly worked with my husband hunt! I got to the stage where I had done everything else and now wanted to get married and have babies, so I decided to spend one summer holiday from school winking at as many appealing online dating profiles as possible, and having as many dates as possible. Lo and behold, five weeks in I had started chatted to the man I went on to marry two years later.
As I said above, I see my life now as being devoted to my children, so any ambitions or goals I have now relate to all of us. We are working towards moving to a new home and buying a new car, but those are purely financial goals, we can continue to manage perfectly well with he home and car we have. But our big goal at the moment is to take the girls to Disneyland Paris. Lara is now crazy about all things Disney, and desperate to go. We've written our goal down on a Super Sticky Post-it and stuck it to the door of the tea and coffee cupboard, so that we see it every day. We've even got a baby steps to make it happen list next to it:
The goal of Post-it® Super Sticky Notes' new 'Make It Happen' campaign is to encourage us all to write our dreams down, one big step towards making them happen. As Jessica Chivers adds:
"Writing goals down and sharing them with the people we spend the most time with is incredibly helpful. ... Writing down your aspirations and keeping them fresh in the mind is a great motivator, ensuring they don’t just become distant daydreams or things we regret never trying to do.
Everyone should have the chance to make their goals happen. With life moving so quickly our dreams are often pushed aside, left on the back burner or even completely forgotten about. Which is exactly why Post-it® Super Sticky Notes has created the Make it Happen campaign. Inspiring women not just to dream but achieve them too."
To help four people's dream happen, Post-it® Brand are offering entrants £1500 towards their goal. All you have to do is tell them your dream at http://makeithappen.post-it.co.uk/
So, my challenge to you is:
- write your dream down on a Super Sticky Note
- share it with http://makeithappen.post-it.co.uk/
You can do it!! And you might even win £1500! What dream would you like to achieve?
* I have good friends (AP-ers and conventional parents) who had their babies early, and that works for them too. Each to their own, and I understand what la Allsopp was saying in relation to fertility.