Being a working mom is messy and uneven. Somedays your employer wins the coin toss and your children lose out. It is a constant back and forth.
The pendulum never really stops swinging. Over the years I’ve learned to relax into the rhythm of the pendulum and focus on creating life long memories at every turn.
Along the way I’ve manage to make enough memories to dim the blunders (i.e. sneaking in late to basketball games, violin concerts, award ceremonies and forgetting to turn in important permission slips).
A few lessons learned:
Say “yes” more than you say “no.” Lawd knows you don’t want to play a game of scrabble after a long day of work or go to that midnight showing of Harry Potter (which I did for all five or so movie and book releases). I try to say “yes” as much as possible within in reason or ask myself why am I saying “no” to a request from my child – am I letting my work stress get in the way? Some days work stress will get in the way but make a bunch of deposit in the yes bank and you can make a withdrawal here and there.
Toss out the idea of consistent balance. Your ability to balance your responsibilities as partner, parent, friend, and employee is a day by day, minute by minute balancing act. It’s a constant gut check decision. Those decisions will sometimes mean missing an important school function, the guilt will dissipate over time.
Intentionally carve out family time, family movie night, a night during the week where everyone sits at the table to eat. Don’t go perfection. Even if it happens just once a month, as long as it happens.
Create traditions. We have a summer tradition of going to Outer Banks Beach, taking a special trip on Spring Break, decorating gingerbread houses and putting up the Christmas Tree after Thanksgiving Dinner, grilling on our deck every chance we get, Sunday morning breakfasts at home or our favorite brunch spot, and always filling the house with music. Traditions come about naturally and it is easy to continue because it is just a part of you.
It’s okay if you fail here and there. I promise, the kids will continue to thrive.