Momservation: Doesn’t matter to your kids what you’ve achieved in life as long as you’re the maker of pancakes, kisser of boo-boos, and player in make-believe.
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I’ve had ambition to be a writer since 4th grade when a teacher introduced our class to Shel Silverstein and a story I wrote took me all the way to 2nd place in a regional speech contest.
When I began college I imagined myself being the youngest writer to land on the New York Times Bestseller list.
As the rejection letters accumulated for my first manuscript, I pictured myself one day being the female John Grisham – lots of people would be sorry one day they passed me over.
Well, to quote Woody Allen: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
He must think I’m a real stand-up comedian by now.
Okay, so the time-table of my success is a little off, but here’s the thing about us Type-A personalities: we’re not quitters. I know I’ll get there one day. Patience young grasshopper.
It’s just that my priorities have shifted a bit as I realized this life is a marathon and not a sprint.
And by priorities I mean children. These impressionable little people you only get one shot with.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased with the measure of success I’ve found as a writer. Do I think I would be more advanced in my career if I wasn’t constantly putting things on hold for summer vacations, chauffeuring, chaperoning field trips, volunteering in classrooms, laundry, homework, meal planning and prepping, nagging, organizing and doing all things Mom?
Do I look at Kelly Corrigan, NYT Bestselling author and mother, who also started as a family columnist before rocketing to meteoric success with a little book called THE MIDDLE PLACE while fighting cancer and juggling a family and sometimes think: Lucky bitch.
No, of course not!
Okay, yeah, sometimes. Usually when it’s that time of the month and the kids won’t quit bickering.
But really, the point is, as soon as I had kids, all bets were off on what I believed being successful meant.
Now, to me, being successful means being there each night to kiss my kids goodnight and tell them I love them. Also:
- Not missing a single soccer game, baseball game, swim meet, school play, dance recital, spelling bee, geography bee or anything else my kids have the courage to try.
- Being there for first words, first steps, first day of school, first straight-A report card, first date, and all the other firsts that make a parent’s heart swell with pride.
- Sitting down at the dinner table every night as a family.
- Being the support staff, coach, cheerleader, champion, and role model on the road of giving your best effort, making good choices, being a good person, and striving to succeed.
- Providing structure, security and support as a platform of confidence to leap from.
- Ready at any moment to dry tears, pick them up, push them forward, give supportive hugs and be there for them when life knocks them around.
- Having a front row seat to watch my children blossom into the amazing people I knew they would be the second I laid eyes on them.
Because if I had to choose between being a success in my children’s lives or having a book on the New York Times Bestseller list it would be an easy decision.
Both. Why can’t I have both?
Somebody’s got to keep God laughing…