Sometimes you realize the importance of a moment only in hindsight, but sometimes you’re instantly aware that a moment has changed you forever.
My parenting epiphany occurred while playing “Go Fish” with my then three-year old son. Go Fish is a simple card game; the object is to collect sets of cards by asking other players to give them to you. The only rule is that you can only ask for a card if you have one yourself.
Although I was playing with my son, my mind was on the lecture I had to give the next morning. He asked if I had any 3s, and I replied “Go Fish”. I then immediately asked if he had any 3s, revealing that I did indeed have a 3 in my hand, and that our game was not my priority.
With a look of disgust, he threw down his cards and stormed away, fuming over his shoulder,
“Mom. If you’re not going to pay attention to me when you play with me, then DON’T EVEN BOTHER.”
It’s incredibly hard to juggle parenting and building a professional career, especially one that leaves you in job limbo well into your 30s, but at that moment I realized that I had to learn to compartmentalize. My children understand and accept that I love my work. But thanks to that Go Fish moment I also understand that there must be times when the work gets put away and I’m just Mom.