Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Having it All- Myth or Flat Out Lie?

As Queen Bee of my frat house I can have it all. I just can't have it all on the same day, of the same week in the same year. It's impossible. I've had days where I knocked one out of the park at work and landed a big account or booked a 6 figure buy - good day. But on that same day odds are pretty high that I was not up to par as a wife or mother. Quite possibly because in order to land that account or book that buy my work hours to home hours ratio were very skewed and not in the direction of spending enough time at home with the family.

I've had good mom days where I was able to answer all questions; solve all problems and bake beautiful, well proportioned cupcakes with the appropriate amount of icing on them on the same day that I had two cancellations from my top agency and learned that a key account was moving their corporate office, taking it out of my territory and taking part of my income with it.

I personally believe it's God's way of keeping score. I'm all about the karma. With 5 testosterone filled individuals sharing breathing space with me, karma is going to play a role. Karma and getting to the shower before the hot water disappears.

I like to believe that I'm pretty good at my job and get better each day at being a mom. With 4 boys my role morphs, depending on the child and his needs. John Thomas is a couple of months from turning 8 and while he still lets me drop him off at school with an arm around his shoulder as we walk to class, I can see him looking around, not quite sure if it's cool to have his mom hugging on him. On the other hand Myles is thrilled if I give him a piggy back ride up to his classroom door and jumps into my arms when he sees me at the end of the day. Hunter & Jax are still young enough to believe I hung the moon and can do no wrong; which can be a pretty good feeling even though reality is staring you in the face to remind you that you didn't hang the moon and putting the peanut butter & jelly sandwich into the wrong lunch box can start a mini war.

The most challenging role I tackle each day is wife. I adore my husband and love him more today than the day we were married. As with many couples life seems to take off with 24 hours a day not being nearly enough time to get things done and you find yourself at the end of the week looking at your partner; trying to remember if you've told him that you love him in the past 48 hours. Odds are if you have to think about it; you haven't done it.

I am often reminded how wonderful my husband is and how lucky I am when I run into moms who know John from drop off or park dates with Hunter & Jax. More than once I've heard "you're so lucky to have a husband that spends so much time with the kids" or "John is such a sweetheart and is so good with those boys." My immediate response to those comments is 1) he is their father and 2) again, he's the father of 4 boys - surely at some point he's come up with a trick or two for calming infant angst.

I like to take these moments to also recall how I picked up John Thomas from pre-school once in the clothes he wore to bed the night before. The explanation from my husband was "they were clean and you can't tell he slept in them." That of course turned out to be a day I learned about picking my battles when it comes to raising the kids with a husband who is the primary caregiver.

The best reminder of my shortcomings as a mom though come when John shows me up with one of the kids. On more than one occasion I've been told "you're not holding him right, he doesn't like that" or "he doesn't like bananas anymore." Or I've gushed over an accomplishment only to be told that "he's been doing that for a few weeks now." Talk about a dagger to the heart. That's right up there with missing the first steps or watching your little one figure out how to use the spoon to put food in his mouth instead of up his nose. It's the missing milestones that really get you.

I've been there for some milestones and have others on tape. Yes, there's some guilt but let's not forget my therapy jars....I've made it to the kindergarten's Mother's Day Tea in the middle of a work day and missed a presentation at the end of the day because I got stuck in traffic after sticking around for a client meeting that was going way too long. I've made it home for a lunch with Hunter & Jax only to have Myles complain that I didn't pick him up from school.

Each day I attempt to be all things to all people and on a good day I achieve that goal for the people who matter most. The important thing is that I try and that when I come up short, I shake it off and add a little change to the therapy jar(s) and prepare for the challenges of the next day.

Every once in awhile a mom will ask me how I manage to do it? "Do it" being the universal code for wife/mother/lover/friend/confidante/cheerleader/etc.

"Take a deep breath, ignore the small stuff, embrace what matters and keep moving forward."

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