I'm only in the office two mornings a week. The rest of the week, I'm balancing work during the boys' nap/TV time, post bedtime, and weekend outings with daddy. When I pack up my laptop and head out for car pool pickups on office days, the office manager typically says goodbye with a "Have fun at your real job."
And that's certainly how it feels. I definitely bill more hours to the mommy job than the other. Each has its own uniform with a nice Mr. Rogers-like transition when I come home replacing the skirts with jeans and the heels with slippers. Each has its own compartment in my brain and color on my iCal. Both are relieved with a glass of wine and a good book.
I took a little time off from the hustle and bustle around the holidays and put work away for a bit. When I came back, ready to tackle the scheduling and the balancing act again, I decided to approach it a bit differently. To mentally stop trying to balance a see-saw that defies all rules of physics to begin with. To approach each day with a unique task to accomplish. To only judge my performance on that one task whether that day's focus is bringing snack to my son's preschool class or developing an outreach plan. To try not to say "in a minute" to my kids when I'm trying to finish an email/press release/dinner.
The last has been the toughest. Inevitably, the boys are done with naps/videos/Legos five minutes before I'm done with whatever task I'm trying to accomplish. I want them to know that mommy works and that what mommy does is important but that they will always be the most important job mommy has.
At dinner recently, the five year old was asking the hubby to stay home from now on and mommy could go to work (the boys enjoyed the extra time the hubby was around over the holidays burning some saved up PTO). I explained that mommy already goes to work, just while they are at school. I thought I could use the opening as an opportunity to explain a little bit more about what mommy does. And so I asked him, "Do you know what mommy's job is when she's not home taking care of you?"
His response, "Loving me?"
It's good to know that he understands my real job.