Let me just start by saying that as this back-to-school week kicks into high gear, I want ALL of you to know how loved and respected you are. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a work-outside-the-home mom, or a little of both like I am, you are SO appreciated during this emotion-filled, heart-tugging time of year!
Today, of all you wonderful moms out there, I’m reaching out to connect with those of you who are choosing to, or need to, work outside the home.
I’m thinking of the teacher-moms who are missing putting their own kids on the bus each day in order to greet mine at the door of their classrooms. And the third-shift moms who can’t be home in time for that before-school breakfast. The corporate-moms who had to hop on an airplane and travel to their next meeting instead of taking first-day-of-school pictures. And the direct-selling moms who need to take calls at dinner time in order to not lose a lead.
I’m also thinking of my friends and colleagues, the dance teacher moms and athletic coach moms who are giving up seeing their own child’s practice to help other people’s children develop their passions.
Moms, I want you to know that we see you.
I see your sacrifices, even though they may be different than my own. You are important. You are needed. And I feel honored to live this life of parenting alongside you.
This week my studio begins its 21st season, and I couldn’t be more excited! I love it more than ever. And yet, during this time of year, I feel the same way I’ve felt for the past 17 years since adding my own kids to the mix: daunted. Daunted by the great privilege and responsibility of teaching other people’s kids AND raising my own. Daunted by giving my all to my work and my family.
I’m sure my feelings are not unique. I’m sure there are times when you wonder, too, whether or not it’s worth it. Maybe you’ve even had moments where you wonder whether or not your kids are in any way damaged or worse-off because you chose to, or had to, go to work. It’s hard not to let those thoughts creep in.
I get it.
I’ve struggled with this first-week-of-school-messy-heart (and many weeks in between) for years. Almost two decades, to be precise!
But a couple of days ago I had a breakthrough … a breakthrough made of popsicle sticks! And I wanted to share it with you:
I was cleaning out my office to get ready for this week and found this popsicle-stick piece of art that my son Benji made for me last year (thank you, art teachers!).
Things I love about you:
- You love me.
- You give me food.
- You are kind.
- You have funny jokes.
- I love you with my whole heart.
- You help me dance and do math and I love you.
- You gave me a bed.
- You encourage me in dance and gymnastics.
- You are smart.
Reading through it and smiling, it occured on me that he doesn’t love me any MORE because I choose to work. He doesn’t love me any LESS because there are times I have to work. He just loves ME. Because I’m his mom. And because I’m me.
It reminds me of the way God loves us, with His whole heart. With our flaws and fears and best efforts and worst days. Just as we are.
Moms, I thought some of you might need to hear that this week. And I thought a bit of my first-week-of-school-messy-heart might help you tend to your own.
Remember that you are loved. You are enough. And your kids … I bet they think you’re pretty awesome just the way you are.