Most working parents are occupied with work related tasks at least 40 hours a week, if not more. For me, it’s often many more given my line of work. My position also requires me to travel occasionally, sometimes more than I’d like. I personally love what I do, but at times it can be a bit much to deal with, especially as a woman who has a family.
I never want to be the parent who misses out on some of the best moments of my child’s life because I’m too busy working. My career is extremely important to me, but my role as a mother trumps that greatly. Don’t get me wrong, I bust my butt at work to make sure I can deliver results, but I go twice as hard at home for my baby, and our family.
In our office we often use the line, “work hard, play harder,” as a motto. Well personally, mine is a bit different. I work hard, so I must parent harder. It’s a motto that I believe every working parent should live by. Before this year, I spent countless additional hours in the office stressing to make sure every little thing was done ahead of time. I’d then turn around and bring hours worth of work home, working until the wee hours of the morning. I realized that I was stretching myself too thin for no reason. Some of the stuff I was prioritizing, wasn’t really a priority.
Not only was it unhealthy for me, but it was extremely unhealthy for our family as a whole. Work life balance was a great struggle for me. Now that my daughter is older, she notices when I’m preoccupied and makes sure I know that she doesn’t like it. For this reason, I started bringing less work home with me, so that my time her with her is truly with her. I remember the time she was two and made up a bedtime story about her mommy telling her to be quiet because she had to do work.
I was shocked because out of all of the great and fun times we share, the one thing worth making a story about was me telling her to be quiet so I could work. That moment was turning point for me. Although I still struggle with finding a true balance, I make sure I’m managing mommy and me time much better. I create special moments with my daughter and I alone, and then other moments as a family. I make sure I can give her my undivided attention, and make our time together a priority the same way I do for my career.
I look at it like this, if I go to work tired, I’m still going to do everything that needs to be done before I walk out of the office. So when I come home, it has to be the same. No matter how long my day was, we still have to eat dinner, and spend time together as a family before going to bed. My personal motto is and always will be the same. Work hard, parent harder.