Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What you do speaks so loud

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a parent and a person, there are many things I try to be mindful of.  Sometimes it seems like we get so caught up in whatever is going on, with "fighting fires" - there isn't time to think about where we spend our time and what we value. 

Being a parent (and a concerned person) is a difficult thing to be.  You want to be the best you can be, you want to spend as much time making sure that your children have a safe, healthy and happy environment.  Or as a person, that those less fortunate have increased opportunities - or to give back the gifts you've received.  You want to be a contributing member of your community and society in general.

Not, of course, at the expense of our own health and well-being.  So that's the balancing act. 

I've been meeting friends for coffee every few weeks. It's nice, really nice actually.  My daughter, ever inquisitive, asks me about them, asks me why I go. I want to keep some friendships, some notion of myself through this process of being a mom and a full time employee. 

What I hope my actions are saying is that I spend a certain amount of time, each day, every weekend focused exclusively on my kids.  And some of the time I spend without them, is good for both of us.  They learn some independence - interact with other people - and I'm able to get some perspective (breathing room).

So I think each parent deserves a certain amount of time to themselves, to pursue their own interests.  The line is difficult, however, because things can swing the other way - a person can become too self-absorbed.  And not meet their children's basic needs.  But what a person really does show what they value.

The older I get (I really need to start a "the older I get" tag) the more I realize that what a person does is just as important as what they claim to value.  That's not a stick for a person to beat themselves up with ("I should be doing more for the country, the environment, my kids, my friends, etc.). 

It's just something to think about - what are the consequences of my actions?  What does this say to loved ones?  And to continuously think about and re-evaluate.  There are no easy answers.

1 comment:

Lexi and Jordan said...

I have been thinking about the balancing act a lot lately. It is hard not to feel guilty when we take time for ourselves to hang out with friends (or date in my case which my kids think is meeting a friend). I hope it conveys the importance of developing & maintaining friendships. That is probably more important now that family sizes are smaller and people move farther away.