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How to Choose Between Parenting or Working

Updated: Apr 25

Enjoying a special mother-son moment together.

I've spoken with many parents recently and one thing I've been hearing more and more is just how overwhelmed you (we) feel. Work goals and deliverables continue to grow, kids extracurricular activities continue to take up more time, and staying healthy yourself has become a higher priority. Plus you're spending many more hours on the road from all. the. driving.

I had one of those moments recently, where it felt like I was on overdrive for so long.

I needed to lead my amazing team to meet multiple milestones for our company, support my older son in his demanding basketball practice and game schedule, support my younger son in his martial arts training, and nurture my 18 month old daughter who is practically running now and saying more words and phrases.

Plus I had to plan a big milestone birthday celebration for my wonderful husband, plan a necessary overseas trip for our entire family and wait impatiently for new passports to arrive, and try to still prioritize regular exercise. We also were grieving from a recent death in our family. I know many of you reading this have your own version of this overwhelmed and stressed out feeling.

The Moment

Just when I thought I was hitting a breaking point, an opening became available for my middle son to see the dentist to address a long standing issue with one of his front teeth. They'd had a cancellation and our current appointment wasn't until a month later, so we took it. My husband had a meeting conflict and I didn't so I took him to the appointment.

My son had hit his front tooth too many times and it was damaged and it needed to be removed so the new tooth could grow in, plus he had to fill the big "C" in another tooth. It was a pretty "big" procedure for a seven year old, where his mouth had to be numbed. Fortunately the dentist office was prepared with a movie to show him during the procedure to make the time go by faster.

I had a long list of to dos for my company and things I needed to make progress on for my team, but as I sat there watching my son like a hawk in the dentist chair holding his Star Wars Lego that he'd just proudly completed that morning, I couldn't help but put all those other worries and demands on pause.

Being Present

The dentist and his assistant were surrounding my son so I couldn't comfort him or hold his hand the whole time. He dropped part of his Lego ship at one point and I picked it up and put it back in his hands and gave his hand a gentle squeeze to let him know I was there. He was so brave and calmly talked through any discomfort. The dentist was so skilled at talking him through the whole procedure, but my son was amazing. After the procedure was done and we walked outside, he said, "Mom, I'm so happy." With those four words, he let me know that I'd done my job well as his mom. I was there for my son when he needed me and I helped him overcome something that was troubling him.

"Mom, I'm so happy." With those four words, he let me know that I'd done my job well as his mom.

I was so proud of him for being such a champ and working through the discomfort - we'd turned down the laughing gas, so he had to practice a lot of patience and focus throughout.

After he was done, I could have easily just taken him back to school so that I could go back to work, but I chose to be a present parent and take my son out for a well deserved lunch, even though he wasn't supposed to chew or use a straw for the next two hours as the numbing agent wore off!

We ended up going out in a nearby downtown area and got chicken pho and he drank the chicken bone broth soup and I tore up the chicken pieces so that he didn't have to chew them. Then he started to tear up the pieces himself. We enjoyed our meal together, talked, and I could tell he really appreciated the special 1:1 time we were spending together. His smile and genuine happy demeanor said it all. The worn out, stressed out feeling I'd been feeling for a while suddenly seemed to melt away.

The worn out, stressed out feeling I'd been feeling for a while suddenly seemed to melt away.

This mindful, authentic mother-child moment I was experiencing was refilling my cup.

After lunch I took him back to school and on my drive back to work, I listened to a great podcast that made me think differently about a challenge I'd been facing with my company. I heard what I needed to hear at the right moment to give me greater clarity.

Seize the Moment

Sometimes you can't always plan when those serendipitous moments will happen, but more often than not, when you trust your instincts and seize the moment to be fully present with your child, it's worth it. Worth every minute. You'll know in your gut it's the right thing to do, and you won't regret it. Be open to possibility and embrace the opportunity when it comes. You'll be a better parent and be more productive at work.

If you're ever looking for ways to be a more present parent and juggle parenting, working, and keeping your family healthy and well, become a member and let us help you on your journey.

#WomensHistoryMonth #workingparents #presentparenting #parenthealth #familyhealth #fillyourcup #seizethemoment


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