I used to have a really challenging job. It was stressful and demanding, high pressure and large responsibilities.
I was really good at it too. Really, I was.
Then I became a parent.
In my old job, I was really good at delegating, training, developing and managing people...and rationalizing.
Oh, could I rationalize.
"I may have to work 60 or 70 hours a week, but I'm providing my girls with security, money for college, a comfortable life."
"Yes, I have to be out of town for a week at a time several times a year, but I'm providing a strong role model for my daughters."
I was a hard working, professional, career woman. And I was as misinformed as could be.
I used to say to my husband, "I could never not work. I'd go crazy. I don't want my life to be about Kool-Aid and paper towels."
What an idiot.
Then one day, I realized that something had happened to me. There wasn't really a defining moment, no earth-shattering epiphany. More like a gradual awakening. I realized that I wanted nothing more than to stay home making Kool-Aid for my girls.
It could have something to do with the fact that after having spent 5 months on bed rest while pregnant with my second child, the first thing I had to do was hire a nanny so I could jump on a plane to a week-long meeting in San Francisco.
Or, it could have been that while I was at this meeting, I was asked to go to Florida for 2 weeks to facilitate an acquisition. I wasn't really asked of course, more like assigned.
It just might have been seeing a picture of my oldest daughter on her first day of school. She was just about to go into her 1st grade classroom as Daddy had snapped the picture, and she looked so sad. And where was I? You guessed it...at a meeting.
Suddenly, all I could think about were my girls and what on earth was I thinking about leaving them in someone else's care?
So, I left my career behind; a bittersweet decision at the time, but I haven't looked back since. And in short order I realized that I had grossly underestimated the task before me.
There have been times when I wonder what has happened to all those professional skills.
Where is my patience when my 4-year-old has plugged up the toilet with her sister's rock collection? And where are my problem solving skills when I've foolishly volunteered to be the Cookie Manager for my daughter's girl scout troop and my little one keeps opening boxes of cookies and eating them? Where is my sense of diplomacy when someone makes even the least careless remark to one of my children?
It's a good thing I got all that experience in my other job before I got my promotion to stay-at-home parent.
So, to all the moms and dads who have dedicated themselves to caring for their precious children, consider this my deep bow of respect to you. You are the bravest, most important people in the world- doing the most challenging, important job in the world. It's the hardest job I've ever had.
Sharon Davis is the Mom to two girls, the owner of 2Work-At-Home.Com, Work At Home Articles.net and the Editor of the site's monthly ezine, America's Home. In her spare time she reminisces about what it was like to have spare time.
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