THE GREAT DIVIDE
On my table at home, as I write this, the following papers:
· School district policy: related to an issue with my current high schooler;
· Info worksheet for a tax client for which I have some information jotted down to complete their return;
· Payroll client file so I can send a note to them tomorrow about paying a garnishment for one of their employees;
· Volleyball info and blank physical for my tweenager, with a note to myself to reschedule the appointment I had already made for the 20th because she needs it by the 17th;
· My life insurance confirmation for filing but I haven’t made that file yet; and,
· The score sheet from the game of Scrabble I played with my tweenager today (which I won by only 10 points).
The contents of my table tonight are pretty typical for my life. My business and client work mixed in with kid duties and general life stuff.
I’m a working mom. Very much like my own mother. And my sister. And so many other women in this world. I have serious respect for mothers who don’t work and do this mothering thing full-time…it’s exhausting. I use my work as an escape from being a mom.
My work gives me an outlet. Just as I imagine stay-at-home moms use Mommy’s Day Out or volunteer opportunities or wine. However, just like those SAH moms, my outlet doesn’t mean I’m not a mom. Even when I’m working, I’m wondering how one kid did on this test, if the other made the team, if the third is paying attention in class. I’m also second guessing every decision I made that morning, this year, their whole life. Basically, I spend almost every waking minute questioning every move I’ve ever made and all the moves I’ve yet to make. Near certain I’ve made the wrong choice every time and swearing I’ll do it differently the next time that exact situation arises.
My business doesn’t stop for my kids. After nearly 20 months of running my own business, that is the only constant. My clients are aware that I’m a mother but that fact is irrelevant when it comes to their needs. Understandably so.
How does a mom balance all of that? When I worked full-time for someone else (for the past 15 years), it didn’t seem so difficult. I’m available for much more time now and able to be much more flexible than in the past. Perhaps because there’s no divide. My business life melts right into my personal life because it all takes place in the same location. My children or husband see me sitting at the dining table or my desk (in the kitchen) and they probably guess that I’m working but, because I’m there, I’m available. Handy. Accessible. Only backing off when I completely lose my cool and insist that we discuss their “extremely important” life decision at a later date.