Or, of course, a mother….
There are very few situations in life where you only have one chance.
If you fail your driving test, you try again. If you get fired, the next job always offers potential salvation. Even marriage is sadly not so sacred these days, for some unhappy souls a “new model” is always a temptation (although I have been happily married for 13 years). For many people the thought of “ah well, I’ll try harder next time” is always a fall back position in most cases.
However, there is one situation where “I’ll try harder next time” is not an option….
I sat in that delivery room eight years ago with my first-born daughter in my arms, looked into her eyes and made her a promise. “I will do my best to give you everything that I can in life. I will make you the meaning of everything that I do.” My wife had gone to get cleaned up, and I was alone with this little bundle of joy.
I was over the moon, but at the same time slightly worried. Could I really deliver on this promise? She stared back at me with “my” eyes, and I resolved that, no matter what, I would make sure to put her first.
If you are a follower of my blogs, you will have read that I have had a bit of a roller-coaster for the past eight years. Running a successful Retail search business while she was in nappies (tick for the Daddy box), hardly seeing her for a year while I commuted Mon-Thu from St. Petersburg to Moscow in Russia (huge cross for the Daddy box), up to the last two years when I have been building my own writing business at home in sunny Leigh-On-Sea (enormous tick for the Daddy box).
However, I have only recently realized what “putting her first” means…. It is not about the amount of money in the bank, it is not about buying her toys or doing loads of interesting stuff on the weekend, it is not even about her going to the best schools…. It is just about being there for her and her brother, being “present.”
So, even though I work at home and I need my time and space for my writing, I work around their needs. I work early in the morning and late at night. If they are sick from school, I make sure that I spend as much time as possible with them. If a client rings up while we are playing Monopoly, I won’t leave my kids in the lurch mid-game. I’ll ask to call the client back. I never, EVER turn down a game of table football or a chance to murder some song on karaoke.
I am lucky to work at home, I know that not everyone has that option, but I would just like to say one thing…. In all the distractions of life, with all the gadgets and apps in the world to make our lives better, there is only one real “fuel” for your life – your loved ones, and if you are lucky enough, your children…. so be there for them.
To amend a quote from Dirty Dancing, “don’t put your kids in the corner.”
Put them first, in whatever you do. You won’t get another chance.