Do you feel safe and secure with money in the bank yet you struggle to enjoy life on a daily basis?
Do you work as hard as you can to clear your mortgage as quick as you can?
Do you have mortgage payments which would make others not sleep?
Do you struggle for money, don’t own a home and live hand to mouth?
Considering we are all humans and living on the same planet, isn’t it amazing how we all behave differently?
I often wonder what is the meaning of life?
Is it chasing after the promotion so we can buy the bigger house or afford the bigger car payment?
Is it selling our assets to invest the money into our business because we believe so much in our life purpose?
Is it doing all the overtime we can so we can retire at 55?
Who is to say, what is ‘right’ and what is the ‘wrong’ way to live? I think the beauty of being human is we have a right to choose how we behave at any one time.
Over the years what I valued as giving my life ‘meaning’ has changed massively. At one time as a single parent I would use childcare facilities constantly to look after my son as I was relentless in working hard to pursue my dreams. That was until the fateful day came.
After a long day working I collected my son at 6pm from the after school club. In the car on the way home he asked me the question which all working parents dread;
“Mummy.. could you pick me up from school like the other mummies do?
Fear gripped my heart. How could I work as many hours if I had to do the school run each day? Reduced hours would mean it would take me longer to achieve MY dreams. It took me seconds to calculate if I did the school run each day I would lose 12 hours a week working on my business – that was a day and a half a week, six days a month!!
Trying to think of a suitable response to manage his disappointment, reality thankfully slapped me around the face. Here was the most precious, important amazing aspect of my life which I valued the most in the world asking if he could spend more time with me in our home. Two things dawned on me;
1) In a few years I would be complaining that I never saw him any more as he would be out with his friends.
2) When I chose to have a child I committed to his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.
So yes I soul searched and realised my priority at that moment was my child. No more kidding myself that I was working so hard for his future. With self-awareness, I realised I was working hard to help me feel that I was ‘worthy’ and ‘enough’. The thought of losing all those working hours was not that I loved my work so much, it was the fear that it would take me longer to gain validation from those around me that I was a ‘success’ and ‘good enough’. Yet here was my 7 year old validating that I was enough, that just at that moment I was all he wanted – I was enough for him.
So I made my choice – On the Monday I gave the after school club notice. That was 4 years ago. My son starts senior school in September and sure enough he doesn’t want me around anymore! Did I make the right decision for my son and I? Yes. Do you have to make the right decision for you and your children? Of course. It is not for me to tell you what is right for you and your life.
All I would ask is be aware of what ‘inner fear demons’ are driving you to work so hard and for so many hours. Who are you trying to gain approval from? What external validators do you seek to indicate you are a success – the car, the house or the title? We can all love our work, yet maybe the point of life is to build loving relationships rather than the size of the gates at the front of our house?
My decision was made as I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my young son to teach him how to handle the world confidently and fearlessly. Yes, the Lexus convertible had to go. The luxury apartment got swapped for a rented house. However to me they were sacrifices worth making.
They say that love to a child is a 4 letter word… spelt T I M E.
I am wondering how you can spend more time with your child today?*
Remember 50 years from now; it won’t be the size of your house, how much money is in your bank or what car you drive which will be important – it will be the fact that you were important in the life of your child. Believe today that you are important to your child.
*Sanity Caveat – Please remember balance is important, I believe it is important to take time for yourself away from your children sometimes!
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