As a parent of any amount of children, there is an overwhelming pressure of “DO"ing. There is a list of things to do much longer than you even know. The longer you have kids, the longer the list becomes. As I see it there are 2 reasons to “DO" something when you have kids. You have the basic need to provide, and you have the need for personal achievement. The funny thing about kids is that they don’t care what you “DO". They just want to “BE" with you. Your ego cares about what you do. Obviously there are activities that make up you time together. But the basic link here is that you are with them. We as parents have this ever present struggle with “BE” and “DO”.
"BE" is very simple. "BE" with them. "BE" their father. “BE" their dad. "BE" their protector. "BE" their teacher. "BE" their safe place. "BE" their hero. Just "BE".
"DO" is a bit more confusing. "DO" all of the things you must do. You must provide. You must achieve. But at what cost? Do you achieve at the cost of “BE”? Are you so focused on your “DO” that your kids suffer?
These are very important questions we all deal with as parents. How do you split time with the kids? Who works? Do you take a job? Where do you live? Are you focused on the “DO” or the “BE”?
I don’t have an answer here, but I can tell you this may be one of the most important decisions that you make in your life. With children, we as parents have a window. We have a window of time to guide them. We have a window of time to be with them. We have a window of time where I would argue the “BE” is so much more valuable than the “DO,” that the chasm is breathtaking. This window is increasingly getting smaller by the day. The pull of this dilemma is vicious. As a parent there are distinct moments when the pull feels unbearable, like those videos you see on youtube with the people that can’t hardly walk because of high winds. What do you “DO”? What’s the move?
I think the conversation here is one about value. Value is directly related to outcomes. Place your efforts on the things you value. But, be aware there are tradeoffs . If you place value on your career and your achievements, there will be an outcome with your children. This is yours to reconcile. If you place value on your children, there will be changes in your trajectory of your career, there will be changes in the outcomes for you professionally. This is also something you will have to reconcile. I cannot tell you which way to go, nor can I offer any solutions for you. But we all have these choices. We all have these dilemmas. Choose the things you value, and prepare to make changes for the other things. Its when our choices lead us further from our value that we find ourselves feeling disconnected and unhappy.
When you are with your kids, for the love of God “BE.” When you are out of the house working get after the “DO.” These are the days when I feel the most connected and at peace with my life. The days where “BE” is all “BE”, not clouded with any “DO." In the same respect the “DO” is purely “DO.” The gray area is the place of real struggle. The chasm in the middle. Think about where you place your value. Your window is getting smaller every day. Your value to them is exponentially growing by the day as well. Remember, you have all you need to “BE.” There is no achievement required.