I’m sitting in my hotel room at 3:39am writing this while sipping on a giant iced coffee. I bought it at Starbucks last night, put it in my mini fridge, and gloriously celebrated my genius at 2:45am today when I pulled it out to start my day. I think I even said, out loud, “Thanks, Past Becky, you’re the best.” She really had my back.
You see, I’m on a business trip in Hawaii. Hold on, ok, I know I’ll need to give you enough time to roll your eyes and shut your laptop because you cannot today, while sitting in your frigidly cold office somewhere drinking stale coffee from the cafeteria. I know, I know, I’m the worst.
But what you witnessed with the Past Becky Starbucks Save is experience. What you witnessed is nearly ten years of traveling for business, and changing time zone after time zone, sleeping in strange bed after strange bed, and suffering massive caffeine headaches because the coffee place on the corner in San Diego doesn’t open for three more hours, but you’re up and working because you’re not here long enough to adjust to the new time zone and so….the Starbucks Save.
This is what my version of being a working mom looks like. I’m a working mom who FaceTime’d with my kids an hour ago on their way to daycare as their daddy tried to wrangle them long enough to gaze at the Hula skirts I bought for them and ask me when I’ll be home. Explaining to them that I'm flying 10 hours through the night so I can be there in time to take them to ballet and a birthday party was kind of lost on them since, you know, they don't care and kids are the worst. But that's The Working Mom Hustle.
I’m a working mom who will spend nearly as much time flying to and from Hawaii as I’ve spent here, and not because I hate beautiful, tropical island getaways in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record. But rather, because I’m a working mom who leaves on a business trip nearly every other month of the year and once spent four hours on the ground in California to have meetings and then turn around and fly home so I could be in the living room when the kids woke up the next day. I’m a working mom who Amazon’d a unicorn journal and sparkle pen to the house last night so that it’d be there in time for the birthday party my oldest daughter is attending tomorrow.
I’m the working mom who met with world-class minds yesterday and talked about strategy for the year to come, laughing and being grown ups and wearing a blazer without kid food or boogers on it, for once. I’m the working mom who wrote out the lunch menu for my husband in order to make his life easier in the midst of having to shoulder his own full-time job and our two kids while I’m away…again. I’m the working mom who Amazon’d Valentine’s Day cards to the house, knowing that next Thursday would be here before I blinked twice and I didn’t want my kids to be the kids whose mom forgot to get Valentine’s for the class. I’m also the working mom who just booked a business call on Valentine’s Day and got word from a colleague, “I have dinner plans that evening, as it’s Valentine’s Day…”. Ian is such a lucky guy.
I’m the working mom who showed my mother-in-law where I hide the fruit snacks in the pantry so she could give the kids a “special treat” for the car ride home from daycare, since she’s shouldering that responsibility while I’m away…again. I’m the working mom who sat at the edge of the beach yesterday and ate lunch at 3:30pm because that’s when my first opportunity for real sustenance was since breakfast. But at least I was on the beach! And I’m the working mom who snapped a gorgeous picture of the view, posted it to social media, and was asleep before the sun went down on that very same beach.
This week, that’s my version of The Working Mom. You have yours and she has hers over there. But I’m guessing that at least a few of you can relate to the fact that when I’m at work, I’m a still a mom, fielding the questions from teachers, filling out the permission slips for field trips, and making the grocery list in my phone so I can stay ahead of our impressively fast banana consumption. And when I’m at home, I have work responsibilities that don’t just stop because I have a toddler with pink eye. The little red exclamation point next to an email doesn’t care that she puked in the car on the way home from the doctor's visit and now I'm burning everything we own to get the smell out. And the inconvenient business call reschedules certainly don't care that my daughters are on their fourth costume changes of the day and need me to have Alexa play “You’re Welcome” from Moana on repeat.
Which is why I’m up writing this now at 4:04am. This is what working mom balance looks like for me today. It looks like getting it done when I can because I didn’t stay up for the hula lessons last night, though I’m sure I would’ve nailed it, obvi. It looks like being grateful for Amazon Prime, in-laws, and FaceTime. It looks like knowing that the balance doesn’t always work, the groceries don’t always get stocked right away, and the meetings might run longer than they should if you want to get to pick-up on time.
But this week? Being a Working Mom also looks like this...and so it's ok if you punch me in the face next time you see me.