[VIDEO] How to Have a Family AND Follow Your Passions: An Interview with Jennifer Fulwiler
I’ve known Jen Fulwiler for a long time and have cheered and marveled at her many successes. She’s become a renowned speaker, released a best-selling memoir, launched a national SiriusXM radio show, and despite her self-deprecating Instagram stories, is a flourishing mother of six young kids.
But despite knowing her fairly well I still regularly wonder, how does she do it all? How does she hold her family together while pursuing all these amazing writing projects and media work? What’s her secret?
Most of us struggle to do even half that much. We get locked into our routines and jobs. Both stifle our passions. We assume our deepest yearnings, those things we wish we could devote ourselves to, or the things we feel uniquely designed to do, are in conflict with the demands of everyday responsibilities.
We become convinced life is a zero-sum game. Either we pursue our passions or we serve our family, but something has to give.
That was Jen’s life, too, until she discovered a way to serve her dreams without sacrificing her family life. And that’s what she shares in her new book, One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, which just debuted TODAY!
The book is exciting for all sorts of reasons. First, it’s on such a pressing topic. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m noticing more and more friends feeling pressured to snuff our their dreams, to just suppress or ignore them. Yet at the same time, we’re at this pivotal moment where the Internet (especially) has opened up new pathways to these dreams that have never existed, to start your own business, sell your crafts, offer online courses, build community, etc. So how do we bridge that gap? That’s a burning question today, and Jen’s book offers lots of answers.
Second, the book is published by Zondervan and featured in Barnes and Noble stores across the country. Zondervan is one of the largest Protestant publishers in the world and B&N is the largest bookstore chain. So the fact that both have chosen to feature a decidedly Catholic guide to following your passions should be encouraging to Catholics, who usually aren’t well-represented in these spaces.
Third, Jen is such a gifted writer. She’s the best storyteller I know and the book will have you laughing on one page, tearing up on the next, and getting excited throughout as she strings one epiphany after another.
Fourth, the book will help lots of frustrated and defeated people, especially parents. Ostensibly, I think the book is primarily aimed at mothers and wives, but even as a man reading it, I devoured the whole thing in a couple days and learned so much. Jen’s advice helped untangle a few tensions in my own life, showing me how to turn my passion projects into family adventures.
Here’s what I said in my endorsement of the book:
“Marvelous! This book will breathe life into so many hollowed parents who feel stuck between their families and side passions. Most of us wonder, how can we do both? How can we be devoted family people and live out our personal dreams? This refreshing memoir shows the way. It’s not a fluffy, self-help guide. The book is deliciously witty, insightful, absorbing, and offers one motivational epiphany after another, each punching a hole in the Resistance blocking us from our dreams. If every parent read this, families would become dream incubators, not where passions go dormant.”
I really believe that. This book is a spark that can transform many families into “dream incubators.” That’s reason enough to pick up the book.
Today, on the book’s big launch day, Jen sat down with me to discuss some of its main ideas. Enjoy the interview!
- 0:06 – Introduction and Jen’s bio
- 1:39 – Why this book? Why is it needed?
- 3:47 – Jen’s plans and vision of the “good life” as a young atheist
- 5:53 – How getting pregnant altered Jen’s life goals
- 8:36 – Finding your “blue flame” and why it’s so important
- 11:36 – How we find our “blue flame”
- 13:46 – Jen’s secret to following her passions
- 17:31 – How Jen learned to accept help instead of resent it
- 21:02 – How Jen’s book will help mothers and fathers
One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both
by Jennifer Fulwiler
Zondervan, 240 pages, hardcover
Work and family, individuality and motherhood, the creative life and family life—women are told constantly that they can’t have it all. One Beautiful Dream is the deeply personal, often humorous tale of what happened when one woman dared to believe that you can have it all—if you’re willing to reimagine what having it all looks like.
Jennifer Fulwiler is the last person you might expect to be the mother of six young children. First of all, she’s an introvert only child, self-described workaholic, and former atheist who never intended to have a family. Oh, and Jennifer has a blood-clotting disorder exacerbated by pregnancy that has threatened her life on more than one occasion.
One Beautiful Dream is the story of what happens when one woman embarks on the wild experiment of chasing her dreams with multiple kids in diapers. It’s the tale of learning that opening your life to others means that everything will get noisy and chaotic, but that it is in this mess that you’ll find real joy.
Jennifer’s quest takes her in search of wisdom from a cast of colorful characters, including her Ivy-League-educated husband, her Texan mother-in-law who crushes wasps with her fist while arguing with wrong number calls about politics, and a best friend who’s never afraid to tell it like it is. Through it all, Jennifer moves toward the realization that the life you need is not the life you would have originally chosen for yourself. And maybe, just maybe, it’s better that way.
Hilarious, highly relatable, and brutally honest, Jennifer’s story will spark clarity and comfort to your own tug-of-war between all that is good and beautiful about family life and the incredible sacrifice it entails. Parenthood, personal ambitions, family planning, and faith—it’s complicated. Let this book be your invitation to the unexpected, yet beautiful dream of saying yes to them all, with God’s help.