I was having a conversation with one of my husband's business partners over dinner the other night. She has raised two great girls, young women, I should say... all while kicking some serious butt in a biz world full of men. She has molded herself into a super successful entrepreneur, rising through the ranks and making a name for herself through a whole lot of hard work, serious smarts, a keen sense for business, and all the while answering to the name mom. She is wise beyond my years so I couldn't help but pick her brain a bit about raising my own little chickens. When is it right to get back to being me? How much time is too little to spend? Why is it all so hard and confusing sometimes? So many questions and things to constantly worry or feel guilty about on a daily basis. After all, good moms put their children first ALL the time, right? Right?
She offered me this little nugget:
Not necessarily. And NOW. Now is the time to get back to you. When they are little, they need the love. They need the hugs and kisses and they need to know that you're there, sure. But they won't necessarily remember if you're not there every second. Later is the time to plant your foot firmly in that house and make your presence known. Later, when they're bigger, when they're adolescents and certainly when they're teenagers. That's when the serious molding happens, that's when the serious mistakes can happen. Right now can also be a time for YOU. A time to keep molding yourself into that woman (artist, entrepreneur, activist..) YOU want to be. And wouldn't that be a good example for your little girl, anyway? Mommy kicking butt out in the world? Being happy? Doing what she loves?
I pondered this for a good while and I have to say that I agree. A life well lived is a life lived with balance. I've seen both sides of the extreme and with all due respect, I witnessed my own mother losing herself in a giant family of needs. Her intentions were pure, but a whole lot of unintentional resentment can happen this way. In my opinion, that can be just as damaging as never being there.
I'm always rushing around and giving my attention to a million different things, trying to do it all, all the time and wondering when it's right to think of myself, my needs, my career. Finally, it's as if this "permission" to continue growing has lifted a serious weight off of my shoulders. I'm better off balancing my own needs with theirs, and making them both EQUALLY as important. Being the happiest, healthiest, most balanced version of myself is best for everyone.
Now if only there were more hours in the day.
Still working on that one.