Parenting has been one of the most challenging aspects of my life. I have never been the best at multi tasking. I do get most of my daily set tasks done, but invariably one aspect of my life is neglected. There are my NEED to do’s and the can be pushed until tomorrow’s. Currently being out numbered 2:1 with my children can be the most frustrating aspect of being a parent. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been late to 75% of my children’s events. Or if I said I haven’t received the phone call that my child’s lunch card is out of money because I forgot to refill it. Or that one child isn’t always upset that I am spending more time or giving more attention to the other. Or that we don’t eat mac and cheese for dinner 2 nights a week… who are we kidding 3 times a week! (In all fairness my kids love mac n cheese). So at what point as a parent do you decide something has got to give? And then deciding what is that something?
For me it was my career, definitely my career. Every parent has their struggle. Just because my career was my breaking point doesn’t mean my house isn’t in constant need of cleaning and my laundry isn’t piled up most days. (That may be a slight exaggeration, currently I am only overdue for a mopping and one load of laundry. HOORAY!) For the sake of this post let’s just talk about my career since that was the most overpowering portion of my life. The field I work in has a high turn over rate and business is pretty competitive. In a small, seasonal town with too many hotel rooms for not enough excitement, my position here can be pretty stressful. If it isn’t trying to increase revenue it is trying to retain my staff. I am truly blessed to say that my staff is amazing, but I would like to think that it has a little to do with how much I appreciate them and like to be there for them. This means my job doesn’t end at 5pm, like most of you out there.
A few months ago Mikail (5) said this to me, “Mommy we’re always at your work. When we’re at school and daycare aren’t you supposed to be at work, working? You know, so you can hang out with us after? But you always want to come here!” (Obviously, I have a mouthy little 5 year old.) This absolutely crushed me, partially because he was right but mainly because I didn’t realize he thought that I was choosing to spend my time at work over having time with just them. Obviously I work as hard and as much as I do because let’s be real… this girl like to shop, eat out and buy nice things, but also because my job provides us with the life we have and there isn’t much room for falling behind my work load.
This however, was my breaking point. The point where I realized that I needed to take a pause and reevaluate my priorities because they weren’t lining up with that was important in my life. Ever since I was pregnant with Malik (9) I told myself I was going to give this parenting gig my all and everything. I was walking in to it as a single parent and I knew it was going to be challenging. As cliche as this sounds, I didn’t realize how challenging. Without realizing it, some where in between these past 9 nine years, I seemed to have fallen off the wagon a tish. I am sure many of you feel this way. There are times we catch it and ask ourselves… hmm well why is that? Well LIFE. JUST. HAPPENS.
Most of us are clocking in and out to build the life we want or to get by on the life we have. It has taken me some time to realize that the life I think I want, I may never get. (real optimistic right? haha) I could push towards a goal that may or may not be attained, but I would indefinitely miss out on the life that I currently have, that is here, right now and is happening. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe that you should set goals in your career, in your life, in general but I believe I was setting them incorrectly. (Feel free to disagree, I am always open to constructive criticism) I wasn’t considering the commitment that it would take to reach these goals in the period of time that I wanted to get there. I didn’t realize all the other aspects of my life that I would have to put on pause to get to these goals. I took my eyes off some of the most important people in my life, thinking I can pause what was going on while I attend to these set goals. After all, I am doing all of this for them right? They know that I work hard for them to have some luxuries right? They know I am putting in the time, to work my way up so that they can experience all the amazing things around us right? WRONG. My children don’t see the work behind the things and experiences they receive. And how was I expecting them to? They’re 9 and 5. How did I expect them to understand that this is a part of being an adult? In all actuality I don’t want them to understand that, at least not yet. Well I had to remind myself, time doesn’t stop. Its doesn’t bend, pause or break. Time doesn’t wait for anyone or anything. So the extra hours I put in at work took away from the extra time I had with my children.
So where am I at now? This is a simple fix right? Just chill out, work less? Well, it happens to be a lot harder than that apparently. For me at least. I had to make a conscious effort this year to disconnect. I had to inform the staff I work with that I will take phone calls on emergencies and times of urgency at the hotel but outside of that, if it could wait, it should wait. Off days are now off days, I don’t call or text, I just let just the staff I trust to do the job they were hired to do, and guess what? They haven’t disappointed me. I put my phone aside when I am with my children, which by the way is challenging. Yeah I said that, go ahead roll your eyes. I am just going to be the parent that admits to that. And most of all I listen… to the Minecraft talk, booger picking kid stories, to the fart battles and to the bickering between my two boys. I can’t say I love all of it, I want to say I do but I don’t love it all. But I am pretty sure that these are the moments I won’t ever want to forget someday. I am not really sure when my life started to get so busy that I neglected the little bits and pieces of being a parent but it happened. And for most of us, including myself, it will happen many times in our life with our children. I probably won’t own my own house by the time I am 28 (in 2 months… haha), or pay off my car in full by 29, but you know what being late on a timeline of material things that I have set for myself is perfectly fine with me. I am trading that in for a timeline that I want to mark memories on, which will disappear faster than I can imagine. I am learning to accept that I have already lost time I can’t get back. I am also willing to change that and change really is the only way to get better. So cheers to the parents out there who already have this down to a science, please feel free to share your secrets. And an even bigger cheers to the parents who are just learning to balance their life and that are owning that and becoming better everyday!