I was chatting on the phone with my friend Jo. We met through work years ago. We’re both mothers of three kids who are all still young enough to be our free-of-charge taxi “fares” on a daily basis. We’re both freelance business writers. After a little catching up and some work-related chat, we starting talking about how we can step back from work whenever we need to and focus on home, the kids, and even (occasionally) our own sanity.
“When we’re old,” Jo said, “we’re definitely not going reminisce about our jobs – we’re going to remember our families, the fun we had with our kids, the great vacations together.” What clarity! (It does help that she’s British, so everything she says sounds clearer and more intelligent).
We professional/working moms who do the “juggling” so often look at our careers, or what’s left of them after giving birth and working in jobs allow us to be mothers, and wonder what could have been.
How often have I thought about how much further I could have gone had I been able to work until 11 at night, had I been available to travel, had I not taken days off for doctors appointments, school trips and school holidays that aren’t public holidays? How often have I been torn between finishing an assignment on time and rushing off to take the kids to dancing/ karate/tennis/roller hockey/ceramics/friends, baking a cake for tomorrow’s bake sale, rushing off to buy a text book that’s need for…tomorrow? Too many times.
So the conversation with Jo presented me with a “Eureka!” moment. Amidst thoughts of friends, who put having kids on hold so they could build their brilliant careers and are now wondering why in their early 40s they have missed the family boat, we came to a very clear conclusion: What we do is worth it.
Do we think we’re managing? Does anyone? Not really. But the fact that our children see us enough during the course of an average week to be blasé about our presence is a way bigger achievement than a corner office and a six figure salary. The fact that we can keep our brains from turning to mush while also ensuring that our children know that they won’t be handed excuses for why we’re not available for class trips, homework help and baking cookies may not quite equal finding a solution for world hunger, but it does mean that our families are priority Number 1, and you can’t put a price tag on that.
Thanks, Jo, for putting life into the right focus.
(You can read Jo’s blog – http://jofrankel.spaces.live.com)