Is there any working parent who hasn’t felt torn between our work responsibilities and our kids’ needs? What about feeling pulled between how we need to spend our time and how we want to spend our time? I am a parent of two boys who make me so proud to be called Mom. I have always been a working mother, and for a time I was a single parent doing my best to ensure that our needs were met and that my boys were thriving.
Since getting remarried, I have more support and company on my parenting journey. Still, as a Mom, I feel responsible for prioritizing the needs and well-being of my kiddos. I am grateful that I have the tools and the support to help my children succeed. And I am amazed at the emotional intelligence that my kids demonstrate. Even when I feel there is no way I could have pulled this off successfully, they prove me wrong and I see the grace I have been given, namely in the gifts they have brought to my life in the way of humor, fun, resilience, and forgiveness.
As a young parent, I always heard the words, “Appreciate every moment. It will fly by.” I tried to appreciate these words when I was tired, financially stressed, or flummoxed by my boys’ behavior. Sometimes I failed and resented those words. It can be difficult to find gratitude in the hard moments of parenting and working. And yet, we know that the path to be more fully present in our lives and to take in the gifts that are already here, is through present gratitude. Gratitude for food, for health, for laughter, for that one friend who gets you, for the coffee you drink on the way to work, for a home, for the ability to provide.
Can we have it all? I believe we can have pieces of all that we desire (good friends, connected family, good work, happy kids) and yet we cannot have 100% fulfillment in every way in every moment. This would be unrealistic and unfair to expect of ourselves, our faith, or our people. They key to having it all is embracing what is at the center of who we are in this moment. What we center on changes and yet we remain in control of what we prioritize and appreciate.
So, if you are a parent of young kids, try and love it for what it is, knowing that other fulfilment can come along when you are not as tired or busy. If you have a lot of extra time to dedicate at work, try and appreciate the opportunity to impact the lives of others however you can. If you just sent a kid to college, allow the grief to be present and learn news ways to connect while being open to a shift in your primary purpose.
Don’t let this world tell you that you need to better or more. Be with your life now and as you appreciate what is, your contentment will grow. You will not need to “have it all.”