I have found that some of the skills I’ve developed in my career, I use as a mother. In my past life, I worked in scheduling and advance for a U.S. Senate campaign. I helped organize a statewide bus tour The New York Times said was “run with military precision and precise planning.” I cut that article out and framed it. But I digress.
Doing “advance” on a campaign involves a million things, but the most important is arriving at an event before the candidate to make sure everything is in order and goes smoothly. If something bad happens, it’s your fault.
It’s this mindset I find tough to break as a mother. Whenever I walk into a new location, I quickly scan the room for the following: A. Where is the bathroom located? B. What are potential hazards? C. What are some entertaining distractions for Mia (and myself)? D. Where can I sit/stand so I can quickly flee the room when these distractions wear-off and Mia starts yelling?
We were recently invited to a gathering at the beach. I felt myself hesitate, my brain spinning with questions like: A. How long will we be in the sun? B. When will we be eating? C. What will we be eating and will it be ok for Mia to eat it? D. How long will we be expected to stay and does this conflict with nap time, bath time or bedtime? By the time I’m done with the questions, I’m already too exhausted to go. “Relax,” my husband calmly says, “It’s supposed to be fun.” Oh yeah, I forgot about fun.
As Mia gets older, I’m trying my best to lighten up and go with the flow a little more. I’m finding that she’s not as fragile as I think. Besides, things rarely turn out as planned, even when thought out well in advance. I also don’t want to be that stressed out mother who is always wanting to be twenty steps ahead and not enjoying the present.
You can use the skills you’ve used to survive in your work life, but only up to a certain point before you go mad. Having a child isn’t a political campaign and I don’t always need to treat it as a job (Lord knows I don’t get paid enough to do that!). And if what everyone says is true, this time goes by so fast and I should just enjoy every minute. I guess I’ll just have to save the military precision and precise planning until Mia is a teenager and starts dating.