It can feel like, as a parent, that you’re constantly being pulled in a million directions. Work. Kids. School. Community. There’s so much to do. So little time. There is always this sense, no matter what you’re in the middle of, that you’ve got to be somewhere else—if not already, then very soon, or right now.
Of course, this is all a lie. You don’t have to be at work. You don’t have to respond to those emails or answer that call. You don’t have to cook a full dinner the way your parents used to. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. You don’t have to do anything at all. The only thing you have to do is be there for your kids. Be there with your kids, right now.
We’ve talked about being present before, but it’s worth repeating: The key to great parenting is presence. Being where you are, while you’re there. Whether that’s letting bedtime time take as long as it takes or listening to your teenager’s petty gossip; whether it’s actually watching soccer practice or being aware enough to notice that your son is depressed. The parent who is there is the one who is fulfilling their most essential obligations.
If it comes at the expense of other things? So what! This is the main thing. Your family is not an interruption of your work, they are your work. It’s that simple.