It seems that there is an inevitable counterweight to pressure, when things at work begin to move quickly, requiring more focus and time, the details at home get trickier. I suppose I signed on for this, I knew that being a mom and being a business owner would multiply the number of things and people who are my responsibility. What I did not understand was that the peace I make with sacrifice and compromise would not be one and done, I go through it over and over again.
“I’ve got this.”
“I am failing.”
“I can’t do this.”
“I have to do this.”
“What have I done?”
“Why do I do this?”I read the words of other women on both sides of this, I read the comments of dads. I skim the articles about how kids are better with moms at home and on and on. We’re all different, managing different circumstances and dreams. Opinions and think pieces either really help or bind me to flashes of regret and fury.
Finley leaned into me this morning, her face letting me know her headache from the day before had not gone away. “What do you think I should do mom?” I nuzzled her and thought about my day. A 2:30pm presentation 45 minutes away, a speaking engagement at 7pm also 45 minutes away, and a morning of rehearsing for both.
“I think you should get up slowly, feel my icy hand, it’s my new wake up weapon,” I placed my hand on her forehead and she squealed and giggled as she wriggled away. “Then you should have a drink of Gatorade, which might help your headache and then, more cold hand, ” she dissolves in laughter, “and then let’s go downstairs and I’ll drive you to school with your sisters and we’ll have a Starbucks date.” She grinned.
I had bought a day. I was disgusted with myself. She didn’t have a fever, it was likely that it was morning blahs, but I wasn’t allowing room for anything but her going to school. I needed her to go to school and I literally felt sick about conning her into it.
Yesterday I snapped at Sean as he tried to get me to focus on my preparation for today. I wanted to listen to the hearings and tune into the press briefing. He nudged and nudged. I yanked the ear buds out and stewed. He’d been right, there are only so many hours in the day and last night and this morning I had to cram.
Dropping the girls off at their schools they were perfectly content, saying I love you and wishing me luck. The Starbucks date was a luxurious 40 minutes of I spy and ‘I remember when…’ we both lingered and declared it the best date ever.
The 2:30 meeting went well, now I’m sitting at another Starbucks killing time after an update that Fin’s headache never went away. Then came a text.
She apologized saying I had too much else to worry about, that she shouldn’t bother me. I corrected her and said that I always have time for her, which is true. Yes meetings and research call for me, but I can break away. I can also stay home for sick days and go on field trips.
It’s just that it’s hard to remember the times that it’s worked perfectly. I feel guilt for the adrenaline I feel when the work stuff goes well. This is inelegant and rushed, but the many ways in which love and purpose crystallize are unpredictable. This late afternoon sun and strangers milling around me as the texts turn to hearts and I love yous and “I’m so excited to hang out with Dad tonight,” is revealing that even in this space between unhurried and overbooked is bittersweet beauty.