Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tightrope

My life is like a coin, with two very different sides. Sides that, some days, seem to be on two different coins, in different pockets, and are actually completely different currency.

Monday through Thursday I go to work - a very welcome break from the world of sippy cups and runny noses, bath time with bubbles and duckies and jammies with feet. And people who cry when you tell them not to kick their brothers.

Work is a hectic place - deadlines and demands that seem unreasonable - but part of what makes me good at what I do is that I can meet those demands, and before those deadlines. I have an office - complete with a printer, a wrap-around desk and TWO computers (I deal with a lot of data; it helps to let queries or jobs run on one and continue my work on the other - not to mention the software demos and beta testing I need to do).

I wear heels and skirts, jewelry and make-up. I have coffee and breakfast while reading through my email, and if I'm lucky, I can grab a second cup mid-morning before that Web conference starts.

I try not to work through lunch, but admit I'd rather leave on time in the afternoons rather than get a true break. When I do, I like to head to the cafeteria on the 36th floor to sit in the sun and look at the lake. Sometimes I read a book - sometimes I eat with friends.

Then 3:30 rolls around, and its time to go.

Time to switch gears.

Time to shoot those last-minute emails out, completing that last project and (literally) running for the door. I almost always call the Hubster to let him know I'm on my way, and with just minutes before his shift starts for the evening, he's already anxiously awaiting my arrival down at street level.

I jump in his car, ready to head home with the boys, after a quick kiss and rundown as to who had what for lunch and how long they napped. He jumps in mine and heads to work.

Then I turn and look in the backseat to find two smiling faces, excited to see Mommy.

I take a deep breath and begin to drive. And it starts.

"Mama, we not play race 'em shake 'em today," Nick reports. "We play when we get home?"

"Sure hon."

"Buh-ball! Buh-ball! Buh-ball!" shouts Will.

"Sure bud, we can play basketball, too."

THIS is the hard part of my day. Shutting off the work brain and shifting gears in 3.2 minutes to adjust to the demands of completely different clientele.

Balancing work and home is a challenging task. I don't need to tell you that - every working parent knows that pain.

But this abrupt shift is enough to make me half loose my mind. There's no time to shake off the stress of the day to steady myself for the stress of, "MOM! He pinched me!!!" and "I'm hungry!" and "I don't wanna got to bed!"

So I forge on, the only way I know to how...I replace heels with sweat socks, dress pants with sweats, get down on the floor, and play with my kids.

And leave the rest of the world behind.

5 comments:

Mama Smurf said...

You deserve a pat on the back for being successful at both sides of that coin.

***patting you on the back***

Huckdoll said...

From one working mom to another...props, woman...you're my hero :)

PS. WOW WOW WOW to your cafeteria!! That said, I totally know what you mean by not taking lunches...I almost feel guilty leaving my desk for more than 15 mins. This week is especially busy and I've eaten lunch working at my desk everyday.

...but at least I got a juicy highlighter ;)

InTheFastLane said...

I know that tightrope. And some days, I feel like I am falling off. I some days joke that work is were I can go to relax.

Roger said...

You are awesome, and I hope that your kids will always appreciate what you do for them.

I know that Jenni looks forward to the time I get home, and the kids leave her alone. :)

Thankfully, the kids do allow me to go to the restroom, for my 3, okay 6 minutes of peace.

Colleen said...

I do at least have some down-time in-between when I walk out of the building and when I arrive at daycare. Theoretically it should only be about 15-20 minutes but traffic is obnoxious enough to stretch that to closer to an hour. But even then, I haven't completely cleared my head of stuff I need to work on that night or the following day.
It's tough...and it makes you crazy...but I think you're doing a fantastic job and I'm sure your family really appreciates it.