There are different stages to being a parent. At each stage, we all are busy trying to juggle work, home life and kids activities, with the goal being to create some sort of balance. My husband and I are at the "letting go" stage now. Our oldest is a junior in college and youngest is a high school senior.
Each family and situation has different dynamics in play. I'm a military brat -- my dad was in the Army -- and we were raised in a strict environment compared to our friends growing up. Things were black and white. We were always pushed to do more and not less. So I approached my parenthood in that same manner in the beginning.
Frankly I don't know how we managed to keep it together some days when our boys were younger. I traveled a lot for business, including international, and so did my husband -- we had to coordinate our schedules and rely on family when there were conflicts.
I was away from my family on business for 11 days already when 9/11 happened. It took me four days to get home. Four Days. By the time I got home, I hadn't seen my family for 15 days. My boys were only 3 and 6 years old at the time. I decided to hang-up my corporate suit two weeks later and have focused on more important things since then.
For the past 14 years I have been an independent contractor and consultant. This allowed us to be with our sons together more often. At the same time. I wrote in a journal sporadically over the years and took a lot of pictures to capture those "moments."
It was my oldest son that inspired me to start an online blog six years ago. He knew how I liked to write and thought a blog would be better so I could share my thoughts and ideas with more people. Smart boy.
We encouraged the boys to be involved in some kind of activity starting at an early age. They chose to participate in various sports - baseball, track, football, cross country and ice hockey. We cheered them on from the sidelines, got involved whenever possible with their sport, volunteered at school, and helped with homework too.
There is a great deal of advice out there about parenting, lots of nice detailed lists, etc. The best advice is simple. Instead of always looking to the future and calculating how much time you have left, focus on the now. Be present in each situation.
And don't go through life saying you "should have."
Visit Brigitte's blog at BrigitteCutshall.