How many times have you asked yourself this question? I think working moms ask themselves quite often. As busy days turn into busy weeks, the next thing you know that adorable little child is driving! My daughters' birthdays, which are coming up soon, are exactly one week apart. When they were little that made for great double birthday parties including moon bounces, face painting and pony rides, but of course two cakes and two "happy birthday" songs! Those years include many wonderful memories. On August 29th I will have a 20 year old and on September 5th my "baby" will turn 18. They will both be away at college for their birthdays this year which is something new. Both being away at college will be a major change, but one I feel I am prepared for. I say that now...we'll see how I feel in a few weeks when it becomes a reality!
I think the key to being ready for things to change and accepting the passage of time is feeling like you did all you could when you could. It's trying not to have regret. As a working mom, I think there are often concerns about what was missed or what was rushed or what never got a chance to happen. There will always be things that don't get to happen due to schedules, and the fact that you simply can not be in two places at once. However, those feelings should be on the back burner and hopefully overpowered by the memories of all the times you made things happen for and with the kids, you found the balance, you took the trip, you made it to the soccer game or the dance recital, and you were home to tuck them in.
They will remember all of those times, and they won't dwell on that one game you couldn't attend or that one time you couldn't chaperone the class trip. Trust me...it will seem like the end of the world at the time (probably more to you than to them), but once your kids are older and look back on what you were doing to provide for them, they will understand. They will not only understand it, they will appreciate it. They will realize that it was a balancing act and it wasn't always easy. They will be even more grateful for every wonderful memory they have from that amazing Disney trip, the horseback riding lessons, the first big concert, or that Christmas when you had a whole week off and played with them non-stop. They may have had friends with moms who could stay home, which at the time seemed like it was better, but once they are older, they will understand that it was not necessarily better, just different.
So as another summer comes to an end, albeit a very unusual time, we are saying again...where did the time go? Of course now there are so many challenges we face in this country and the world regarding returning to school. Typically this is a time when the "back to school" excitement is growing, but we are also thinking it's crazy my child is already going into...insert grade! It is just another way we measure how quickly time seems to go by. We all get ready to see the social media posts with the kids holding signs about the first day of school. Sadly for many this year, they will be taking that photo and turning around to go back inside for online classes. This will be a memorable time and a time of great struggle for many working moms. This will be something those 18 and 20 year olds will look back on and say "thanks mom" for all you did to manage during such a crazy time.
As I look back over the past 20 years, I feel content that I did all I could when I could. I worked a ton, but I was also able to take the time off when I needed to and be there to create countless amazing memories with my daughters. At times living through it, I was tired and felt like I could barely keep my head above water. I would often hear the comment from friends or coworkers..."I don't know how you do it all". I certainly did not do it alone, but at times, I wondered the same thing! I was blessed to have my mom's help with my kids from day one, but it was still a bit overwhelming at times. The balance is there though and even if you don't feel that way all the time, it's true. Time will go by and the kids will grow up. Enjoy every moment. It truly is all about the quality time.