We had a cool "balance-affirming" moment this week.
Last month, I had to reluctantly sign up my kids for after-school care with the local parks and rec department. I thought I could cram my full time job into the 6 hours a day that my kids are in school, but I just can't do it. I was frantically ducking out of meetings in order to drive 21 miles on the freeway (God, I hope there's no traffic) to get there in time to pick them up. The after-school care means that there's a little less pressure on me, and I feel like I can do my job without people judging my "leaving early."
This week, the kids were at the after-school program on Monday for 8 hours because the school was closed for a "pupil-free" day. Not very "working-family-friendly." My meeting lasted until 5 pm, so my husband picked the kids up at 5:30, and I ran in the door at 5:50, threw an apron over my skirt and blouse, and started cooking dinner.
In a brief moment of passing, I stopped to hug my husband. My daughter came in the room and said, "I want a hug too!" She ran at us and grasped our legs. Then T1 came in. He wanted in on it too. "Family hug!!!" we all cried. And we picked up the kids (really not very easy, now that they're almost 7) and had a good long squeeze.
This was very affirming to me. This is why I do it. I really feel so lucky to have such sweet kids, and I sincerely recognize that luck when I spend a little time away from them. If I were home with the kids all day, which I also love, I don't think I would have appreciated them as much as I did in that moment. Likewise, I don't think they would have wanted to be around me at all anymore. I shared this story with my colleague at work the next day, and he said, "It's about balance. You're showing them that work matters, and they matter too."
We're taking a family trip this weekend when we'll be together 24/7 for the next 4 days. That's a different post altogether....