Only you know best. This is what I have to remind myself of sometimes. Especially today. Only I know best, and this is why I decided to write this week’s blog post. I am recovering from a not-so-great day yesterday and I’m working from bed in my favorite pair of sweats, which doesn’t make for a pretty video. But this is an important message and you need to hear it as much as I need to remind myself of it. So a written blog post you get.
Today I want to talk about GUILT. The guilt that comes when you (or someone else) thinks you should be giving more to your studio. And the guilt that comes when you feel like you are neglecting your family and putting the studio first. If you’re anything like me, at some point during every day, you feel a little (or big) tinge of guilt one way or the other.
A few days ago I was having a conversation with a parent at my studio when she criticized me (I’m putting that gently, it was more like a statement of failure) for not being at the studio every night until the last dance class is over and being the last one to leave the building. There was no justification for her comment – my staff is well trained, responsible, and mostly do a great job closing up the studio each night. And the funniest part when I look back on the conversation is that she is the parent who is always preaching to our staff about how important family time is to their family and that they will not participate in any “extras” because they need time to spend together.
For a hot second, I actually questioned myself, although I was over it before I even responded. But it was that second of questioning that got me. Should I be doing more? Is there something happening later in the evenings that I’m not aware of that would make me want to be at the studio until close? The answer is simply NO. That was her expectation of a studio owner, not mine. I know that if I spent 12+ hours every day at the studio I would hit a point of diminishing returns and it would actually cost me to be there all night, every night. Not to say that I have a family at home, who will always be my top priority and need me just as much or more than the studio does.
This brings me to the 2nd area of guilt – not being there enough for my family or my children. I have 3 beautiful, well-mannered, and talented boys. When my older 2 were younger, I did work more in the evenings and had my days to spend with them or volunteering at their schools, and chaperoning field trips. While there were certain parts of that I loved, there were parts of it I didn’t, but I felt like it was what a mom was supposed to do. I hate chaperoning field trips. I always get the boys that are loud and hard to keep track of. With my youngest, my life has changed, and I work more during the days so I can be home for some part of the evening activity schedule. I rarely volunteer at school. I don’t chaperone field trips. And sometimes the guilt gets to me. Why should this child miss out? Is he going to resent me for it?
These moments of wonder and guilt are usually quick these days, but they weren’t always. I wanted to be the perfect mom and I wanted to be the perfect studio owner. It took me a while to learn that neither one of those things exists and that perfection is unattainable. But once I did, WOW! what a different perspective I have on life and the little moments of guilt that come with it.
Today I look at things week by week and what does success look like this week? Sometimes it means that I work less and spend more time at home with my boys because my husband is traveling. Sometimes I stay at the studio until close 1 or 2 nights to catch up on a few things from the week before. Some weeks it’s just settling for pretty good. Pretty good at being there for my boys – helping with homework, getting dinner on the table (even if it’s grilled cheese), being on time to voice lessons and remembering to pick up from golf practice. Feeling pretty good about how awesome my kids are; the good grades they get, their kindness toward others, their good manners and strong work ethic. Pretty good at being a leader at my studio, empowering my staff to handle things well when I am not there. Being there to support and guide them in reaching our enrollment goals, bonding and connecting with students, and showing them what going that extra mile means. Sometimes that is what a pretty good week looks like.
Your kids might think you could be a better mom at times. Your clients might think you could be a more involved director. But only you know best. Only you know what balance works for you to keep the guilt from boiling over. No client (parent) has ever had the the job you have so they don’t get to tell you how to do it. You may miss the one field trip your kiddo really wants you to chaperone, or you may not tuck them into bed every night, but they see you living your dream and believing in yourself, which is the greatest lesson you could ever give them and one they will carry with them for the rest of their life.
Only you know best. And your best is pretty good.