Shonda Rhimes gave an amazing commencement speech at Dartmouth, the typed version can be found here, or you can find the videos on YouTube….anyway, in the speech she talks about people asking her how she does it all and her honest answer to the graduates was that she doesn’t. If she’s rocking the work life, she’s missing the home life and vice versa. ObvIously I’m not some awesome and well known person like she is, but I definitely feel what she said resonates with me…and probably with most parents.
I’m in a professional position that has me working well over forty hours per week and also requires me to be on-call essentially 24/7. I miss a lot and absolutely hate that. When the kids ask why I have to work so much or ask why I can’t just take the day off, my heart breaks. “But mom, you’re the boss,” my daughter will say as she frowns and gives me puppy-dog eyes always. I pretty much always have the same reply, “yes, honey, I am…and that is exactly why I can’t take the day off.”
Missing things is taking on new meaning now that we have a baby again. When Zakariah, Dominic, and Ryann were babies, we were fortunate enough to have a schedule worked out so it didn’t require daycare and allowed me to be with them a lot. I didn’t feel like I missed out on too much. I can’t quite do that anymore and I think as Kenley grows this is going to really eat at me. I am grateful to be in a position that allows me some control if I need to rearrange coverage so I can get to an appointment, concert, etc. but it doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed.
Broken hearts aside, I worked to get where I am. It was never what I thought I would be doing but it’s where I landed and it has definitely grown on me over the years. As much as I want to stay home with my kids and enjoy every minute of their lives, I think I would also feel a bit of a void if I gave it all up.
Shanda also brought up a great point when she said she’s teaching her kids about work. That women work…that women can hold powerful positions. I truly feel my kids learn valuable lessons from seeing both parents work (and this really applies to men and women, just happens that her viewpoint comes from being a single mother). My kids have learned that when someone calls in sick it can really impact someone else. While it has been a painful lesson at times, I hope that sticks with them when they enter the working world. They also have a great sense of pride about their parents jobs…getting to come to mom or dad’s work is a treat they frequently request. I suppose they might not feel quite the same as they get older, but we will cherish that for now.
Mixed emotions are a frequent thing on parenting…..heck, in all adult life! There will always be times where you’re going to feel like you can’t do it and someone else does it so much better. But as you’re thinking that, remember that while they may be doing that one thing better, (as Shanda so eloquently put it) they’re inevitably failing at something else.
Nobody is perfect and we are all just doing the best we can. Live in the moment, do what you can and enjoy every minute wherever you are, be it the joys of home to the joys of your career.
*apologies for how disjointed this post may have become…my minds kind of a jumbled mess these days and I’m just getting the hang of this blogging thing 😉