Almost 20 years ago, I went in labor with my first daughter.
I’d had the best sleep of my entire pregnancy and started labor at 5am in the morning.
I went into it thinking, “I’m well rested, this will be a snap!”
Oh the delusion manifested by the hormones of an expectant mother!
17 hours later and she was in my arms.
I was exhausted, bewildered and being sent home without a manual.
21 months later I did the exact same thing, minus 4 hours for my second daughter.
Throw in a forceps delivery and this time I was going home with a baby who was somewhat bitter about being in the world.
Living in Canada, we are gratefully given the option of a decent maternity leave.
I understand it is far different in the States.
I was even luckier and so grateful, (although there were moments I debated that-usually in the midst of puke and colic) in that I got to be a stay at home mom for the greater majority of time to raise my girls.
The cost of daycare and childcare dictated for most of those years that it was more feasible for me to stay home than to try to work and bring in extra income as it would have gone up in daycare dollar smoke.
Through the years though when the girls got older I did go back part time to work in the chiropractic industry as a CA.
It was something I had really enjoyed prior to having kids and I found the girls were actually proud of me for working.
And I needed to do something outside the four walls of my home.
The girls saw Mom working behind a desk at the chiropractors, and to them it was fairly glamorous.
It became a game for them to imitate in their play, and their Barbie’s were the practice members coming into the clinic.
Now before I go further, I don’t want to come off as a “spoiled” woman who didn’t have to work outside the home.
Or one who portrays that women shouldn’t work outside the home.
This blog is not about those arguments.
This is about how to successfully raise your kids, no matter the circumstance.
One of the things we stress here at Full Circle is how we each define our own success as it means something completely different to each and every one of us.
I’ve watched girlfriends raise their children in varying degrees of stressful jobs and/or careers.
Maybe I got to stay home with mine, but there were mitigating circumstances (a very ill spouse and multiple surgeries) that meant my days were never “just” about parenting and running a household.
Make no mistake, it is a full time, underpaid, and undervalued job.
Bizarrely through those years I was so tired, that I envied those with jobs and seemingly “normal” lives.
But I also recognize the depth of fatigue in my friends with those “normal” lives.
Sometimes in those days, just managing to get dressed and out the door to get one kid to school was considered a massive success!
Then there are the women who work outside the home full time, and feel on some level that they are shortchanging their children somehow for not being home with them.
Thank you society, for that little shot of guilt!
I call hogwash on the lot of it.
I want to assure you, whether you stay at home and wonder whether you are being enough of an example to your children in work ethic, or you work outside the home and worry that you are not home enough for them, that you are more than enough on all levels to your children.
Let me say that again in capitals: YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH.
I’m not saying we are perfect.
Far from it!
I’ve had moments that I’m not proud of, as I’m sure all moms have.
We can chip in for the needed therapy down the road!
The last few years, I’ve gone through divorce and have taken on a position with Full Circle where the hours are growing into full time hours and for the last year I’ve been working on getting my first children’s book published and out into the market.
That’s been a full time job in itself.
My kids, yes, are older, and are much less hands on, but don’t let teenage-hood fool you.
You are just as vigilant at this stage, but in an entirely different manner. And I will confess I’ve resorted to take-out more times than I’ve liked when I haven’t made it out to the grocery store!
Having made it this far with my girls I can say this.
They have survived me through their young years and I’ve survived them through their teenage years!
I figure a fair exchange?!
In fact at this point I can say with confidence that we are thriving. And I know my girls are immensely proud of me and might even give me a bit of nod for being “cool”.
(I won’t overdo on that idea – it’ll only result in eye rolls when they read this!)
As long as you are doing the best you can and aren’t giving in to the stress around you I assure you your kids are great.
As long as you love them and demonstrate that with affection and attention, I assure you, your kids are doing fine.
As long as you do the things you need to take care of yourself and your health and your relationship (if you’re in one) you will be great and your children will emulate and mirror it back in their own lives.
And if you’ve made mistakes?
Your children need to learn how to handle those as well.
Yours, as well as their own.
How is it that you define success?
There are multiple areas in that word that can be charted and mapped and steps taken to achieve success in.
Finances, health, job, relationship, children, and faith or spirituality.
- How do you, with your kids, get involved in health and fitness activities?
- Do you involve your kids in your clinic or business?
- Is there something they can do there that will give them some ownership in what you do?
- Do you take downtime for yourself to teach your kids that rest and stress management is important?
- Have you looked at or asked your kids what their idea of success is within the context of family and the relationships within it?
- And then mapped out the steps to get there?
Don’t get me wrong. Parenting is tough.
Even with a well-laid out plan. Because guess what?
Those little cute bubbly babies we brought home have their own (gasp!) personalities and with it will come varying ideas on how life is going to play out.
Some days just suck, when you feel like you’re banging your head on the brick wall of teenage angst and rebellion.
Some days, that means understanding your children have their own journeys to walk and lessons to learn.
Again, the bottom line is this.
You are more than enough to your kids so long as you are doing the best that you can in the moment.
Can we all just take a breath and let go of perfection?
That’s a recipe for exhaustion all by itself. You may be a household of high achievers and that’s great.
Your idea of success for you in the context of your family is going to be very different from your neighbor’s whose idea may feel entirely too relaxed for your liking.
But that’s ok.
As long as you have a roadmap for success for you and your family that you are all (key word here!) happy with, more power to you.
And if nothing else, rest in the idea that someday they will have children of their own! 😉
Payback baby, payback!
Need help figuring out what success looks like for you in parenting and other aspects of your life? We can help with that here!