Over the last two weeks, I’ve been in Fort Worth, San Francisco and NYC. As a single mom of twin 15-year-old boys, I’m fairly adept at juggling business meetings, but this has been the most intense travel schedule in the last three years. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a melt down in my household.
I calmly explained that travel was part of my new role, this was a “big week” for me and I needed them to step up. One son retorted, “Mom, it’s a big week for me too- I have CAPT testing and state swim championships.” The other chimed in, “I have CAPT testing too, plus Crossfit training and there’s a new game coming out on Xbox.” Even my babysitter, an elementary school teacher, responded, “It’s a busy time for me too- we have registration all week activities, plus teaching.” Ok, so high marks for communicating well as a family, but a revolt was still brewing.
Sheryl Sandberg’s Book
Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In has re-energizing the discussion on how women can achieve their ambitions in the workplace as well as home. Sandberg promotes talking openly about the challenges you face in the workplace and home. She also purports that fewer women aspire to senior positions because of the demands and trade offs. I’ve explained to my boys that I love them unconditionally, but I also love to work, and I’m good at it. At this point in my career, I can’t put my ambitions on hold until they go off to college. It’s not always pretty, but every day you prioritize, work hard, and roll with the latest crisis. I’ve “leaned in” to my authentic self- embracing my career aspirations, asking for help and holding myself accountable to achieve my goals. I am fortunate that I primarily work remote, which affords more family/personal time than if I was in the office 10-12 hours a day. Also, I am grateful that my Roberts Golden team, led by Sara Roberts, understands work-life integration and provides support and flexibility.
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What I’ve come to realize is that time with my boys is a series of inconsequential events- listening to what happened in Spanish class over an afternoon snack of peanut butter crackers and apple slices, taking stats at a basketball game, driving to/from practice, watching the finale of Grey’s Anatomy together on the couch, etc. Sewn together-they make up a hectic, but joy-filled life.
So what happened? We all stepped up! I spent Saturday prepping four favorite crockpot recipes and coordinated rides to practices, Kinser took on the laundry for the week, James agreed to make breakfast and Sarah came home by 5:30. We acknowledged that the stress that each of us was feeling about the upcoming week was very real and we needed to shift and prioritize together to get through the week (Admittedly, my efforts pay the bills, but I chose not to play the trump card!)
I cringe when I see a stock photo of a working mom- poised at her computer with a bubbly infant perched on her lap, gnawing on her Blackberry while she sorts through files and toys strewn across her desk. What’s your snap shot of the working mom? (See above for mine)
What are your juggling stories?
What stories do you have on juggling a “big week? How do you juggle travelling? I look forward to your comments.