With four kids and a business to run, I always feel pulled in two directions. But there’s no question in my mind: Family is more important than anything. That doesn’t mean that I will always drop work to do what my kids want — quite the opposite, actually. I work for my family. The money I make is vital to our survival and well-being, I set a good example as a female professional in a male-dominated industry, and I love what I do for a living, so I am a better, happier mom after I’ve had a productive day on the job. I remind myself often that I’m not hurting my kids by working, I’m teaching them and taking care of them. Sometimes I have to remind my kids of this, too.
Nonetheless, there are times when family does need me more, especially when I get the call to pick up a sick kid from school and we end up at home for the next few days battling fevers and running back and forth to the doctor or pharmacy. There are times when their school or extra-curricular activities cut into my schedule in unexpected ways and I have to move or cancel meetings. In general, work pace moves more slowly than I would like most days and it is always a struggle to be at peace with this truth, since I am not a person who likes to walk when she could run.
I would encourage other mothers to live, work, and parent unapologetically. I spent many years feeling that no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough for someone. Now I know that there is no such thing as “not good enough,” there’s simply who I am and what I am capable of at any given moment, which it turns out is so much more than I ever imagined. I’m way more than “not good enough,” and I think most of us are. I make time for myself, for my work, for my physical fitness, for my spiritual well-being, and for my family, and even for the breakdowns that happen when that feeling of “not good enough” starts creeping in again.
Take a moment every day to be proud of yourself. There’s no need to fear that your children will resent you for working hard; let them be proud of you, too. Forgive yourself for the times you get it wrong; we all make mistakes. And keep moving forward.