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The Performance Trap

I just spoke to an old and dear friend this morning who recently had her first child and just returned to work. She shared how much she missed her baby already, but felt more like herself when she was working.

“Of course,” I replied. When we work, even with the stress and difficulties, we receive immediate gratification and recognition for what we do. There are rights and wrongs, definites and definitions, boundaries and rules. Little of that exists with child-raising. The boundaries that do exist are typically self-imposed or even worse, expected by society.

Raising a child has nothing to do with gratitude and self-recognition and everything to do with self-sacrifice and long-term vision. Daily I struggle with not working outside the home and the “rewards” that come with it, but in the same moment I also reflect at how quickly these past four years have gone by and how each moment with each of my children is precious (though it’s easier to think that when they’re sleeping peacefully rather than fighting over the same jump rope again!). Most of all, I’m thankful for a husband that trusts me enough to stay at home with our children and carries the burden and responsibility of working so I can be at home. What we sacrifice in material things we more than make up for in memories.

If we think about it, nothing worthwhile in life is every easy, so why should parenting be any different?