Every morning it’s the same routine: wake up to no alarm clock but instead the jabs of my 1 year old poking me or slapping me across the face. “Maaa-ma”. The three-year old sleeping diagonally chirps in, “Can I have chocolate milk?” Ah, the life. After getting everyone their milk, I’m sure to make a coffee for myself to try and shake the fact that I was just up a couple hours ago trying to get the baby back to sleep or console my toddler with her recent night terrors.
I take a 2-minute shower while peeking out every now and then to make sure nobody fell off the bed or broke a bone. My husband is usually gone at this point. He leaves early for work, which leaves me with the morning routine. Milk, shower, blow dry, minimal make-up, clothes for me, clothes for the girls, take the dog out, feed/water him, make breakfast (because we’re usually running too late for daycare breakfast), shoes and coats. I grab my computer bag, purse, lunch and whatever else I need for the day. Oh yeah… and the kids. Typically someone is crying because they didn’t get to wear the dress they wanted for the day or because mom is horrible and made them wear tennis shoes instead of sandals when it’s 20 degrees out. The. Life.
Why we do it
But we do it, don’t we? We drop them off at daycare, give them all the kisses, most days peel off a three-year-old while cluing in the daycare provider about the night and morning… then jet out of there only to be late for work. I know many are envious of the fact that I get time for myself at work. I get it. It is nice not to have someone touching me at every minute during the day, but I can’t lie and say I don’t miss my kids during the day.
I’m fortunate to have a job and one that I love. I work at a non-profit serving the youth in our community, and I’ll tell you what, nobody goes into social work for the pay-grade. My place of work values relationships and family. They understand when my child is sick, and I have to stay home with them. My schedule is flexible because I can work from home, or if I need to take someone to the doctor, I flex out my hours. I do have a pretty good gig. The thing is, I can’t help but think of all the things I’m missing out on with my kids, and I know I’m not alone.
I am you
So, whether you’re working because you have to or working because you want to, just know that I see you getting up hours before your kids just so you can have a moment of silence with your coffee before the start of the day. I see you dropping your kids off with childcare providers so that you can chase your dreams of developing your career. I see you reaching for that afternoon coffee because your baby had a bad night from cutting the dreaded two-year molars. I see you rushing to meet deadlines all while wondering if you will get your kid to gymnastics in time. I see you skipping out on lunch so you can get out of the office early just to get some extra time in with your kiddos in the evening. I see you battling dinner-time with your toddler while trying to get them to eat “one more bite” and secretly responding to an email that can’t wait. I see you finally winding down with a glass of wine and reality TV just to get interrupted by little people who won’t stay in their beds. I see you staying up way too late just to have that ‘me’ time all to wake up early and do it all over again. I see you, because I am you.
I’d like to think, despite the hectic and typically impatient mornings and nights, my girls will look back and see that I was just out there trying to break that glass ceiling for them. Whether you’re a mom who works full-time, part-time, or works hard all day in your home with your kiddos, I think we can agree that we’re just on our own paths hoping for the same result: children who are kind. Children who include those sitting in the corner by themselves, who are honest, caring, loving and grow up to be nice people. I think we can all agree, that’s success.
This is how and why I do it. How do you do it? How do you raise compassionate kids, while keeping your life running? We’d love to know.