This past Wednesday, I spent my morning at the office rushing through my to do items so that I could cut out for a few hours to have time to take my son to Joe Picasso’s. It was his first time learning to throw pottery on a wheel and he was elated. After pottery we stopped next door for a cup cake and then to the book store to get books for his winter reading challenge. Finally, we were back at the house by 5:30 p.m. in just enough time for me to jump on a call with a colleague and friend to finish up work on a project.
During our conversation, she said, “Can I share something that happened today?” I said, of course, and she began telling me about how her children threw a fit when she worked rather than spending time playing with them. She said, “I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way but it’s so hard. They’re not in school for the break and I still have to work. What am I supposed to do?” I told her I did know how she felt. It feels like a thankless job sometimes being a working mom. One foot straddled in both camps never quite doing either good enough. Our call was cut short when my husband walked in asking for help to get the kids ready for soccer. Within 15 minutes we were out the door and on our way to the field. After focused family time at the soccer game and followed by a family dinner, I went back to work checking emails about 8:00 p.m. My son walked in the door of our home office and asked rhetorically, “Man, mom, do you do anything but work? Your always on your computer,” then left the room. After a day of maneuvering my work schedule to provide special time with just my son, I was warmly reminded it wasn’t enough. Or so says a 7 year old.
Being a parent is courageous because it requires us to love something more than we love ourselves. Sometimes the love of parenting is so intense it feels like your heart walking around outside of your body and their harsh words like daggers straight through it.
During an interview with Teresa Taylor, former COO of Quest Telecommunications, she shared with me her insight about being a working mom. She said she now has the gift of hindsight. She explained that her kids are grown up and when she asks them about what they remember about her as a working mom they recall that she was at their games, that I was at the school events and that she was home for dinner most of the time. She said, they didn’t remember the times I missed the everyday things because I was also at the everyday things.”
I think Teresa’s insight is something we can all learn from.
Share your examples of feeling the pull between work and home. How do you manage the tension?