I don’t remember exactly how I came across the Mommy Pilots group on Facebook, but I sure enjoy it. When I read an email asking for Mommy Pilot bloggers, I thought it would be another great way to get involved in the aviation community. Especially since I enjoy the discussions online. I’m a newly licensed private pilot and it is slowly sinking in that I’m a pilot as well as a mom, like those in the Mommy Pilots group. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As this is my first blog post here, let me start with a little introduction.
Hi! I’m Nathalie, a French-Canadian private pilot who obtained her license after a hard fought adventure through training, schools, and instructors in 2014. In the meantime, I started a blog on my flying adventures that I simply call FlyingNathalie.ca , where I relate to different happenings and experiences I come across while enjoying my passion to be in the sky. It is mostly written in French but sometimes I publish in English. I’m also a proud mother of two, an 11-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, and a wife to a smart man who puts up with my crazy addiction. Being a self-employed web consultant enables me to enjoy a greater freedom, which I’m very grateful for. My plans for my flying future are not as clear-cut, as I prefer to live in the present, but I do have a few short-term goals such as obtaining my night rating, buying my first airplane, and to simply keep on flying. I would like to work as a pilot someday, but first I have to figure out how to make it up (or fly it up!) to the commercial license.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” Lucille Ball
I believe when you want something badly enough, you find a way to make it work. When there’s a will, there’s a way. It doesn’t mean it will be easy! When I started my PPL training, I was working 60+ hours a week with an 8 and 3-year-old at home, no day care, and summer vacation was just starting. My kids always stay home with me during the off-school period of 10 weeks, or so, a year. I’m not from an aviation family and no one introduced me to flying when I was a child. Everything had to be learned. Including differentiating between north, south, east, and west! It took me 2 years and 4 months to get my license. After the first year of learning, my head felt like a big watermelon with all the information I was cramming into it. Here are a few pointers on how I think I made it work.
Every bit of free time was an opportunity to read my manuals, review, and fly. I brought reading material on vacation, to appointments (to read while waiting), etc. Every little time I could find between work, family duties, and social events, I would be working on my PPL.
This also means that I reviewed my priorities. I gave up on most of my social life for a while. Most of my friends understood, or came to it, and family came to terms with my new-found passion. My priority list was something like this: family, work, flying, other.
Being self-employed, I had a good amount of flexibility with my schedule and my husband helped a lot by working from home on days where I could go flying (Although, Mother Nature has her own priority list when it comes to flying weather!).
When I started flight lessons, I was so excited after every lesson. Back at home, I would just want to talk for hours about the new things I had learned and exercised. My husband was very understandable but kindly pointed out, after a few months, he didn’t feel that excited about aviation as I do. He suggested I should find other people to share it with.
My thirst for aviation and social cravings has led me to connect with very interesting like-minded people. The conversations are still shaping the pilot I’ve become, and will be in the future. Getting support from your aviation community is important, but also from your family. After all, it is a significant part of the family’s budget that goes toward your goal, at least for most people I would say.
When there’s a will, there’s a way!
Support also means people to look after your kids when you go flying. And not to feel guilty for missing out on certain family activities because there’s good weather, the instructor and the airplane are available. Happy parents make better parents, therefore the kids will be happier. What could be better than to show your kids you can still be happy as a parent, adult and human being by following your heart? Teaching and leading by your example–if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it.
Passion is the key element as far as I’m concerned. If I didn’t have a strong passion to fly and become a pilot, I know for sure I would have given up. It sure ain’t easy… But I wouldn’t have the fun I am having now!
Did you have young children when you started to learn to fly? How did you make it work?
Footnote: This blog post was written for the Mommy Pilots blog, and it is also being publish here as part of my flying adventure.