Confession: I am living a double life.
Last Thursday as I was wrapping up my work from home day, I got a call that I needed to come into the office on my day off because the SEC wanted to speak with me. It was a “we need to talk” conversation to the tenth degree. My boss was kind enough to frame it as a request although I knew I didn’t have a choice in the matter. My day off, or at least the morning, was no more. I very quickly I had to change gears and…
Explain to my pre-schooler that I couldn’t attend his assembly performance because I had to work.
Confirm that my husband could ditch work to bring the boys to school, attend pre-school assembly, and stay home with our daughter until I was dismissed.
Reschedule kindergarten registration for the following week.
That night, in between preparing dinner, helping my newly potty trained daughter with all things undie related, and vigorously washing my hands, I prepared my talking points for the next morning’s meeting. As you can imagine, I barely came up with a rough draft. Being that I would have to cram in the morning, I was hopeful to get a good night’s sleep. But alas, Eliza jumped into bed with my husband and me around 11:00pm. Zachary was “super scared” at mid night so I bounced over to share a twin bed with him. Around 2:00am I got up and spent the rest of the night in my daughter’s now empty bed. Restful sleep, it was not.
The meeting went as well as I could have hoped. Zachary was happy to have his Daddy in the audience of his assembly. I returned home from work before noon. And life went on…
I have a list of examples a mile long of times when I had to pivot from Mommy to Employee and back again without missing a beat. I’m sure you do too. You are unable to attend a staff meeting because a child needs to see the doctor. You can’t be at field day because of a looming deadline. The nature of being a working mom, full time or part time, is to be straddling two different worlds at all times. As the kids say: The struggle is real.
The pressure is compounded by the fact that I have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to most endeavors. When I’m in the office I am volunteering for extra projects and sitting on optional committees because it’s good for my career. Never mind the fact that I don’t work 40 hours. And then when I’m in “mommy mode” at the kids’ schools or extra curriculars, I am raising my hand to be a room parent, field trip chaperone, and organizing staff appreciation luncheons because I rationalize that I only work part time so I have time for these undertakings. I end up with a heaping plate fuller than full of “to-dos”.
I have tried to compartmentalize to reduce my stress. In other words, when I’m home, I’m home and when I’m in the office, I’m working. It pains me to say, it’s just not that simple. My worlds often bleed into one another. Even though my hours in the office are flexible, I, personally, am not and the lack of firm boundaries makes my brain hurt.
I wish I could wrap this blog up with a fail safe suggestion to make a messy and chaotic life simple and streamlined. The reality is life isn’t meant to be lived neatly and orderly at all times. No amount of lists or reminders will keep the bedlam eternally at bay. All I can say is the quicker you learn to roll with all of the twists and turns you face on your journey – the better.