Absent from the moments that mattered most

As my career opportunities grew, so did the demands on my time. Assessments to create, speaking engagements to attend, and workshops to lead—all exciting prospects. But amidst the whirlwind, I found myself increasingly absent from the moments that mattered most: the precious time with my children.

One Sunday night, as I hurriedly prepared for yet another event, my nearly two-year-old clung to my legs, yearning for attention. In that moment, I realized I couldn’t recall the last time I prioritized spending quality time with him or engaged in activities with my six-year-old daughter. I’d become so consumed with work that I’d inadvertently sidelined the very essence of my being—a mother.

While I’d occasionally request my husband to keep our daughter up so I could steal a few moments with her, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d truly seized those opportunities to bond—coloring, scrapbooking, or indulging in arts and crafts, her passion.

Suddenly, the allure of professional accolades lost its luster. My children were growing before my eyes. My daughter, once content with splashing in puddles and donning costumes, now fashioned her own outfits with bracelets and rings. She’d mastered the art of painting nails, including her own. Amidst the thrill of my career’s ascent, I realized the urgency of learning to say “no.”

For one day, my daughter won’t be six anymore, craving bedtime stories and cuddles. One day, my son won’t be a toddler yearning for my embrace. Their childhood, a fleeting moment, demands my undivided presence.

So, I began to say “not right now” to my career. This year, I’ve decided it’s enough. Summer beckons, and I long to bask in the sun with my babies. For soon, they’ll metamorphose into teenagers, then adults, their reliance on me diminishing with each passing day.

Yet, I aim to instill within them a sense of security and unwavering love—a foundation upon which they can build resilience and confront life’s challenges. I want them to know that amidst their stumbles and missteps, I’ll be there, their staunchest ally.

As this season unfolds, I urge you to reflect: when you say “yes” to something, what are you inadvertently saying “no” to? Is that sacrifice worthwhile? Does it align with your core values? If not, perhaps it’s time to reassess.

If you find yourself grappling with these questions, consider reaching out. I’m Eriko Her, a neurodivergent therapist based in Overland Park, Kansas, dedicated to guiding you on your journey towards authenticity—in your actions and your relationships.

Posted in