This summer, we welcomed our third little girl. She is pure joy and so incredibly loved by her sisters and parents. Even the dog seems on board with her arrival. In this busy season of life, I often describe her as the quintessential third child because we are always on the go and she makes it easy.
With three little girls and businesses to run, it is rare that we spend much time at home. We are dropping someone off, running to the bank, checking on things at our wine bar, interviewing someone for a writing project or getting in a regular workout. And through it all, baby girl is a trooper. More often than not, she sleeps when I need her to sleep. She smiles when there is someone to impress. She seems to know just what mommy needs when I need it most. I could not ask for a better baby.
For all of these reasons, I also feel guilty. I beat myself up over the fact that she sleeps best in her car seat because it is often where she naps. I joke that she smiles at anyone and everyone who looks at her because she is so happy for the attention. I stress out about the fact that we always have somewhere to be and are constantly hurrying to the next destination.
But I was recently reminded that none of that really matters. There is no ideal or right way to raise a child. Right now, I am lucky enough to be able to bring my newborn with me as I hurry through this busy season. She is with me for preschool drop off and pickup. She is the best baby in what our family affectionately calls ‘gymcare” when I go to the gym a few days a week. She often sleeps in the car while I tackle the day-to-day tasks of running a restaurant or helping my husband with his electrical construction business. She lets me do what I need to do as a working mom and I get to bring her along for the ride.
And when that doesn’t seem like enough, I remind myself that I am raising girls that will know they can do and be anything. They will see that the right attitude and mindset will keep them going even when it seems hard. I know that I am setting an example for them. I am lucky that I get to pursue my passions while also being a present mom. A mom who can volunteer for field trips, meet the bus when it arrives, spend quality time with them on non-school days and set the example that you are not defined by just one role.
Amanda Wagner is the mom of three young girls, a wine bar owner, and writer of all the things. When she isn’t carting around small children or providing excellent customer service to wine bar patrons, she loves to read non-fiction, listen to podcasts, hit the gym and wind down with a glass of wine.