Hard choices that shouldn’t be hard: a tale of intentional parenting choices

I made a tough choice this morning. It really shouldn’t have been difficult, but it was. We were leaving for an international trip TODAY. I had a million things still to do (packing, final laundry, another blog post- yikes!, house cleaning, you know…). Plus, of course, I wanted to get in my daily bike-and-swim workout before being away for a week on vacation.

So when she came whimpering into my bed just before my 5:30 a.m. alarm went off, I was less than thrilled. She’d had a bad dream. AGAIN.

Intentional parenting choices: choosing to hold her


She was tired and needed to go back to sleep, but I knew she wouldn’t if I got up. I was tired, too, but I am a very task-driven person. My mind- and my body- felt compelled to get up and get GOING on the long list of required to dos. I couldn’t push things off for another day. There was a hard deadline of “necessities” before the plane took off that evening.

I had a real internal struggle. My instincts cried out to get up and seize the day! But my heart reminded me that I want to live intentionally. That I don’t want regrets. That she won’t always come running to cuddle with me in bed after a bad dream. That my mommy-daughter snuggle time is limited. That she is more important than anything on my list.

And I made an intentional decision to hold her. To hold my precious daughter and let her sleep, safe and secure in my arms. To just BE. I was not successful at shutting down my brain, which raced and raced… but I did hold my body still, arms wrapped tight around her.

I’m a little ashamed that it feels like a sacrifice. To give up making progress on task lists (even on a day that includes leaving the country) in favor of staying in bed. I didn’t want to “sleep” in. But she wanted me. She needed me.

And that’s what motherhood is about. Making those tough choices day after day. It won’t always be these same circumstances or a decision like this. And maybe it won’t always be possible to choose as I did today. But the choices will always be there. The choice to be strategic and intentional in how I spend my time. The opportunity to choose, each day, what and who I prioritize. To choose what is best over what is good.

Perhaps this one small victory will make next time easier.

How do you manage to be intentional and make the tough choices about how you spend your time? What’s your advice for enjoying the moment and avoiding the trap of nonstop busy-ness? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so comment below. And if you enjoyed this post, please share on Facebook!