Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower for one of my colleagues. There was a mixture of new and experienced moms in the group, so we decided to go around the room and each share a nugget of parenting wisdom with the mom-to-be.
When it was my turn, I shared the following story.
When I was in the latter stages of pregnancy with my first child, my husband and I attended a party with his work colleagues. I met one of his friends who happened to be the father of 5 kids. And he said something to me that I have never forgotten. He said, “Parenting is the end of ever being good enough.”
At the time, I had a visceral negative reaction to what he said (which I politely kept to myself.)
My thoughts went something like this….”Good enough? What is this guy talking about? I don’t settle for good enough, I’m excellent in everything I do. No way am I going to let having children change that.”
Over the past 20+ years since I became a parent, I have come to appreciate exactly what he meant by that statement. And now, I heartily agree with him.
What he meant was that once you become a parent, you will always have competing priorities. You will feel as though you’re not good enough at work. At the same time, you will question whether you’re spending enough quality time with the kids.
Are you getting behind in career advancement? Should you be doing more reading with the kids? Why do the kids behave for the nanny but not for you? Are you failing if you let the kids watch cartoons while you get something done? What about paying attention to your partner?
Feeling inadequate can start to feel like the subtext of your life. And you know what? It’s all okay. Take a breath.
No one has it figured out better than you.
Even if from the outside looking in, it seems like they do. Our lives are supposed to be messy. The truth is, sometimes we have to drop a ball in order to keep the rest in the air. You’re doing it right.
Becoming a parent is an incredibly humbling experience. It has taught me that you cannot make another human do something. I’ve become less rigid and more adaptable. I try to focus on the big picture and forget about the little things. I’ve come to terms with the fact that you cannot protect your children from the harm of the world, but you can be a safe place for them to come home to.
And it has also given me the experience of unconditional love in a way that still blows my mind.
If you need help figuring out how to balance your work and family priorities, I can help.