I am talking to you, parents.
I'm especially talking to you, parents of busy school-aged kids who are in a bunch of extra-curricular activities that run you full-on ragged. Every. Single. Day.
And I'm really, really really talking to those among you who are that busy and, simultaneously attempting to make a career transition.
I want to ask you:
How's it working for you?
I'm predicting not so well.
I'm guessing you're really damned tired. A lot of the time.
I suspect you feel proud that you can pull off toting two kids to two different practices, make dinner, throw a load of laundry in, help with homework and prepare a presentation for tomorrow's big office meeting. All in the space of three hours.
Yet you also feel exhausted. Resentful. Bewildered.
Trapped in your circumstance.
They need you. THEY need you.
So you give and you give and you give until there's exactly zero left for your own dreams and pursuits.
And when you're running on zero ...
When or how will you fulfill your career dreams?
When or how will you be entitled to come first, and make YOU the priority in this equation?
That depends on the stand you take.
If you never raise your hand and tell your family,
"This is what I'm dreaming about."
"This is how fulfilling my dream will benefit our entire family."
"This is how things need to change around here so that I may get there."
Then you may as well just forget about it, at least until your kids are adults.
And let's just hope that you can hold up until then.
I don't like this option.
I don't like this option because it doesn't do anyone any favors - not you, not your children, not your partner, not those in your inner circle.
When you're not healthy or rested, you can't properly care for those around you.
When you're not living to your potential, you can't show your children the importance of fulfilling their professional dreams.
When you're doing everything for them, you can't encourage them to take on increasing responsibilities and become strong, independent adults.
When you operate selflessly all of the time, you lose yourself.
You lose your dreams.
And you lose the opportunity to be a vital role model.
And when you lose, everyone in your family loses.
So perhaps it's time to raise your hand and start making you a priority.
(Trust me: No one's going to raise it for you.)
Expect adjustment pains.
But stand firm.
Because in the long run?
Everyone will win.
You're worth it. So are they.
Photo: Flickr.com Creative Commons (Jarrett Campbell)