A lot of parents, future and present, fall into this mindset that once they are going to have, or had, their child, that all hope is lost for what they once dreamed and hoped for. Why is that? Simply put: because the parents like me and you immediately think small-minded and get afraid. We go right to "Awe, I need to be able to provide for my child right now" mode. Then, "right now" turns into "Awe, I'm not gonna be at this job for that long," and next thing you know, 10-15 years from now we're still there.
Now don't get me wrong, if you love that job and that's what makes you happy and it provides a good enough life for you and yours, then by all means, continue. But for some of us, we're telling a bold faced lie to ourselves. We don't love this job truthfully. We just know it pays well right now and it keeps food on the table. Nothing wrong with that.
But somehow we still end up staying at that job for a long period of time and tend to forget the goals or dreams we had before our child, as if to say that "my child is holding me back so I can't go after that dream at this moment" when it really should be "now that my child is born, I have no other choice but to reach that mountaintop," so to speak. You're just using your child as an excuse or a way out as to not chase your dream.
It sounds a little bit harsh, I know, but it's the truth, and you shouldn't see it that way. You should go "double time" (military word for faster) and go even harder now because it's not just you anymore—especially if that dream is going to make a bad situation completely better and provide a life for your child that you could be absolutely proud of. Because if you're like me, you would want your child to look back once we're long gone and be able to truly say, "My mom/dad went after what they wanted out of life so that I could get whatever I wanted out of life and not be the spoiled brat getting whatever I want. No, but to attend whatever college or chase whatever dream I want out of life." And that's a life me, and most likely yourself, wouldn't mind leaving behind for our children. It's all about perspective. Look at your child as the driving force behind what you're going after and not the anchor behind it as most of us so unconsciously do all the time.
Do it to so your daughter/son can be proud to speak your name. But nine times out of ten, they're going to do so anyway. So do it to make yourself proud, and don't look at it as being selfish. No, what is selfish is you staying at that dead-end job for years on out that you don't like so you can "provide" for your family. Now that's selfish, if you ask me—knowing that your child deserves the best out of life but yet you're settling for the "OK" or "good enough." We have to be the example to our own kids that you can get whatever and achieve whatever you want out of life. Don't let anything or anyone stop you is, in the end, what we have to teach our children. Lead by example doesn't mean just be an example. Lead with actions, not with just words.
A child takes after his/her parents, a majority of the time, so our children seeing us being successful and chasing our dream will, in the future, make them more likely to chase something they believe in and be successful in it one day as well, whatever it may be. Now don't misread here. I'm not talking about chasing a selfish dream. I'm talking about a dream that, deep down inside, you know your family will deeply benefit from in the long term. And if your dreams are otherwise, then you need some rethinking out of life.
So if you pick up anything out of this reading, it should be that now that you've had, or maybe are having, a child, it couldn't be a better chance or time in life to achieve that dream. And if you're reading this, I hope to have shed a brighter light on this situation most of us are in today. So change perspective and break new barriers. You're great.