Updated: Aug 24, 2019
I got the dreaded call today from the preschool saying that my youngest had a fever. Of course, this call always comes in the middle of the day when I am on my way to a meeting. Thankfully, I didn’t have an unbearably busy afternoon and was able to move a few things around. I picked up my kiddo and went home. Throughout the afternoon, she progressively got worse as her temperature rose, and she started throwing up. I consulted with an on-call doctor and determined I just needed to monitor her. This left me in a quandary.
My initial plan was to take her to my parent’s house in the morning, so they could watch her and I could go to work. With her flu symptoms progressing and it becoming more apparent that she needed monitoring for dehydration, I was left feeling like this plan wasn’t the best one. I was filled with the “mom guilt” that we have all felt. The thoughts came pouring in. No one can monitor and care for her like me. I am the one she wants when she is very sick. What if she needs to go to the doctor, who will take her? Balancing the needs of my children and the job I hold is a constant dance.
For much of my life, I have made decisions because of what I thought other people expected of me. I have carefully watched and listened to people who I sought approval from, and I made my choices based on what I perceived they wanted. These choices haven’t yielded great happiness in my life and have even created enormous amounts of stress. Many of the decisions I have made have been in conflict with my values. I have resentfully answered a work phone call during family time at night. I have arranged for sitters to watch my children so I can attend work events to be seen by the “right” people and then rushed home to put my children to bed. I have on occasion given my child Motrin in the morning and sent her to school in hopes that I could make it through my work meeting before I get the call to pick her up. I am sure there are many others to add to the list.
None of these choices were choices I wanted to make, but I did, in fact, make them. I am listening to this incredible book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism. The other day I was struck, and he was talking about choices. He discussed that you can make your own choices or you can allow other people to make your choices, but either way, you are making a choice about how you will live your life. It became clear to me that I need to hear this, because this concept of watching my life be played out before me, flying under the radar and trying not to be noticed and allowing other people to make my choices all roll into one pattern. This is a pattern that I am ready to relinquish and replace with a different and healthier way of living. I am ready to make different choices that yield different outcomes. It will push my comfort zone and not always feel good, but I know that to live the life I want to live, I must make these changes.
Message to my daughters: How will you choose to live in this incredible life you have been given? I know it isn’t easy, and it isn’t always the life that you want, but it is a gift. Embrace you, live your life boldly, and make the choices that align with your values and the essentials.