The balancing act of parenting

Today as I was unloading the dishwasher in an effort to clean the mounds of dishes in the sink and make my kitchen resemble less of a tornado zone, my 5 year old came into the kitchen and started the following conversation;

Middle son: Can you believe there are three kids with my same name in this world?!

Me: Crazy right?

Middle Son: Yah I can’t believe it!

Me: Do you know which one is my favorite?

Middle Son: who? (asked as if he really had NO idea)

Me: YOU are!

Middle Son: Oh, I love you too Mom!

Insert full Mommy heart here!

The conversation was short, completely spontaneous and absolutely filled my heart with joy. I was reminded that these moments are the ones for which I chose to stay home with my kids. These are the moments I need to really savor, because they are the ones that make it all worth while.

Since becoming a mom I have been a full time student and full time employee, then just a full time employee, then a part-time employee working from home, a part-time employee working half at home and half away from home, and a traveling employee. My mind is typically geared towards working because I love being busy, I love feeling productive, and I enjoy the satisfaction of feeling accomplished in my professional realm (special education teacher/consultant/supervisor for those of you who haven’t read my About Me page). I have enjoyed all those positions and feel I have made a great contribution in being part of each of them. I have complete respect for moms who work whether out of necessity or out of pleasure. We all have different goals and approaches to parenting, I wouldn’t say one is above another in any way. What works for me is different than what works for the mom next to me.

One thing I have learned in each of these positions is that I had different intentions in every role. As a teacher I was seeking to make a difference in the lives of kids with special needs. At home I tried to make the most out of the brief time I had with my kids. I had a purpose then just as I do now.¬†Recently, I made the decision to stay home and be a full-time mom. I chose to do it because I wanted to have more quality time with the kids, I wanted to be the one who teaches them the lessons I want them to learn in life, and I want to be present for the precious moments of love that happen so spontaneously as it did today. The change has been a challenge, quite honestly, I sometimes feel like I am a stay at home mom, but my heart is in the professional field. Other times I feel the opposite, it’s a balancing act in every way.

Just as a working mom has to make sacrifices of time, energy, and attention with kids, a stay at home mom makes sacrifices of money, adult conversations, and professional gains. Teetering between the two of them causes stress, guilt, and prevents us from enjoying where we are at right now. Rather than being immersed in one and wishing for the other, plant both feet where you are and look for the manifestations that come each day telling you that you have made the right choice. My 10 second conversation with my son today spoke volumes to me about my decision to stay home, I could have easily dismissed it as I was immersed in other responsibilities, but I chose to take a minute and celebrate all that his words meant to me. In doing this I had more momentum to keep going for the rest of the day with an uplifted heart and purpose for my role right now.

Parenting is a balancing act, it probably always will be. Wherever you may be in your parenting journey, whatever that may look like to you, I hope you stop often to remind yourself why you chose where you are. What moments lately have served as reminders to you that what you are doing is right for you? Tell me about it, I would love to hear!