May, 06, 2015
I WAS RECENTLY ASKED WHO COMES TO MIND WHEN I THINK “SUCCESSFUL.”
I was recently asked who comes to mind when I think “successful.”
That was an easy one for me – my parents. They certainly aren’t as wealthy as Bill Gates or as famous as Jay Z (I doubt my Dad even knows who Jay Z is). But I don’t define success in terms of fame and fortune. My parents are successful because they are happy. They have a successful marriage. They are still – to this day – deeply in love. They treat each other with respect and truly are best friends. They raised 3 healthy, absolutely delightful (okay, this may be debatable) kids. My Dad started his own company from scratch and turned it into a very successful business. My Mom had a successful career as a computer programmer. They have enough money to live comfortably AND give back. They have surrounded themselves with loving, supportive friends and family. What more could anyone ask for????
Most importantly, however, I know I can rely on them for anything at any time. I could write a book detailing the number of times they have been to my rescue. That is to have achieved success…in my mind. Although we are in separate states, I know I can depend on them to be here if I need something. And growing up, no matter what, my parents never missed a game. Or a play. Or a recital. They did everything in their power to prevent work from getting in the way of what mattered most to them. Or, more importantly, what mattered most to us.
I want to be that parent to my girls. I want to work hard and provide for them…show them the value of hard work. But I don’t want my life to be all work and no play. I don’t want to work and be a “successful” professional at their expense. I want to be there and support them in everything they do. I want them to know they can rely on me always. And while I may not be able to spend as much time with them as I’d like, when I am with them, I want to make sure it is quality time. I want to focus on them…and only them if I can help it. The laundry can wait. The dishes can wait. The emails, texts, and Facebook posts can wait. Put down the phone for God’s sake!!!! Don’t they deserve my undivided attention?
Moral of the story? Juggling work and family is a very hard balance to strike. This is not a news flash. However, I think one of the keys to making it work is try to be present wherever you are. Be there not just physically. But mentally. Psychologically. Emotionally. When you are at work, be there. When you are at home, be there. Again, I know this is easier said than done. I am not delusional. I know there are just not enough hours in the day to give up multitasking completely. Dinner won’t cook itself just so you can spend time with the kids. But, if it can wait…let it wait. Hopefully one day, I will be able to better strike this balance…though I know it will always be a struggle. I only hope that when my girls are asked that same question one day – “Who do you think of when you think of successful?” – that Jamie and I are part of that answer for the same reasons my parents are part of my answer.