“Mommy, you’re always working. You never have time to play with me.” My oldest daughter (age 8) said these sentences to me about three weeks ago.
She said it out of the blue in the middle of the day. She said it sincerely with a disappointed look. It brought me to tears almost instantly. I kept playing her words and her face in my mind for days after.
I knew she was right. I had put the notion in the back of my head for several months now but kept pushing it down. I was trying to hide it yet I knew it deep inside.
I thought back to the last year and a half. I had really become quite the workaholic, trying to be this super worker and graduate school attendee and fit in family moments whenever I could. For awhile it worked.
I was doing it. I was managing it. But like my good friend, mentor and Women’s Wisdom author Kathleen Logan says, “Women can have it all but they cannot have it all at the same time. You can’t do multiple things very well.” And I finally believed her. She was right.
I can do just about anything. I set my mind and I work hard. I get results. But trying to do three or more things well at the same time causes them all to suffer a bit. Or it causes something very important (like my family) to take notice and realize that I’m not in the moment enjoying them.
It’s so true. Why couldn’t I see it before? Yes we can “multi-task” but is that what we should be doing? You can only really focus on one thing with full quality. Then after that you move onto the next thing and do that well.
My daughter was telling me that I was not listening to her or giving her the attention she needed. She wasn’t asking me to give up anything but just stop missing out on some of the moments we could be enjoying together.
So that’s what I’m doing. I took this semester off from graduate school. I may even take a permanent leave from it, at least until my children are older or I don’t have to work 40+ hours at a full time position.
I sure learned a lot and enjoyed being in classes. I loved the discussions with the fellow students and instructors. But I love my family more and I don’t want to leave them out and miss out of the great ages and stages my girls are in. School can wait. And I can achieve professional development in my own terms, in my own way just by reading and studying on my own.
My husband had been trying to tell me all this for a year now. But it took our daughter telling me for it to sink in.
I want to take time to listen to those around me. I want to take time to enjoy myself and my family.
Time is the only real thief. We only have so much of it. I want to spent it more wisely, doing what really matters.
And so I will.
I will listen. I will play. I will laugh. I will write. I will enjoy. I will be what I need to be.