Preface: This was originally a facebook post on my personal page to share with close friends and family about my thoughts. I decided to share it on my blog because us fitness instructors and business owners have so many tough choices and decisions when it comes to family and work/life balance. Today I write solely about my mother. My father is a fantastic man and parent and was an equal partner with my mother in working, raising my sister and I, and is the best daddy I could ever dream to have. I hope you enjoy this and feel inspired to continue to reach for your goals and dreams in your professional and personal lives.
Tomorrow my beautiful 16 month old Petite Henriette starts her first day at daycare. It became clear to me with my business endeavors and acting career and Henriette's excitement for life, that I could no longer be the primary provider of her life experiences. She craves engagement with children, new adventures and people, and though I know I'm an amazing mother, I couldn't give her all of what I see she needs. It is bittersweet indeed; a part of me feels very guilty, but deep down I know this is the best decision for my family and I want her to know that she can have whatever she wants, she can have it all if that's her destiny: family, a career, hobbies, passions, love, and adventure.
I grew up with a mother who as far as I know, was the primary breadwinner my entire childhood. She always worked long and stressful days in the energy industry and came home and took on the ever so demanding, but beautiful, job of motherhood. And when I think about my decision to put Etta in daycare and have doubts, I think back on my childhood and even though there were times I wish my mom were the one to chaperone on field trips, I never ever held ill will towards her for working full-time and putting my sister and me in daycare and after school activities. Knowing what I know now about what it takes to raise a child, I am blown away by her strength and drive to raise not 1, but 2 daughters. THEATRE DAUGHTERS. That takes courage people. And I look up to her and respect the hell out her.
So I know I can be that mother to Henriette. Though my work is not well-paying (fitness, acting.... eh you can't help what you love), I am so happy doing it and incredibly passionate. I have taken the steps to own a business, it's been 5 months since I started my LLC and my head is spinning with where Pedals and Poses is going! My acting career continues to thrive in a small market, I am so blessed. What do I see in 5 years? A chain of studios and more roles in professional productions. And it makes me ecstatic. And what makes me even more ecstatic, is that I get to have my Etta by my side and being an integral part of my professional life and have her see me create something from the ground up.
So this post is a bit of personal reflection but for the most part, a message for parents. All parents. If you stay at home with your child and that is what you know is best for your family and you, YES! If you work and use childcare, YES! If you have family and friends help you out to watch your child, YES! You should be proud of yourself. You are giving the best life to your child and they will look up to you and respect the sacrifices and time that you gave for their best experience. I know moms and dads who are literally ROCKSTARS at staying home and I envy their energy, their patience, and their creativity when it comes to keeping their child entertained all day. It. Is. Hard. I see moms and dads who put their child in daycare at 6 weeks old because they had to return to work and their love and excitement for parenthood is honest and bountiful. Everyone is different. You cannot expect everyone to live the same way or raise their family the same way.
I certainly observed and considered mixed feelings from everyone in my life about enrolling Etta at the early learning center. And it really sucks being in that position. But I would never make a decision that I didn't think was best for my daughter.
I am so lucky to have had the time to stay home with Henriette to see her blossom (and let me tell you, that little diva BLOSSOMS everyday) for 16 months. She talks, she walks, she plays games, she throws tantrums, she eats grown up food, and she snuggles and kisses. But I am also so blessed, to have the opportunity to take a what was just an instagram name into a full on, official company and within months I have come a great distance. I have so many new clients, classes, opportunities, and I start rehearsals for a show on Tuesday! My fall season cup is overflowing!!!
Thank you to my amazing friends and family for all of the help, love, and support of our little baby girl. And to quote myself from the acting camp I taught all last week to 5th/6th graders: teamwork makes the dream work.
And what would the end of a post from a yoga instructor be without a quote from a guru, so here you go:
"Yoga is the practice of observing yourself without judgement." --D.K.V. Desikachar
Remember not to jump to judgement about another parent and what their experience is. I have had to keep myself in check a lot. But also, about yourself. You know if you're a good parent. And you should be proud of yourself.