So, I've been busy. How about you?
In addition to my core business (coaching and writing), I just launched a pilot for new platform to support working parents. As much as I love the exciting new directions my career has been taking, the rapid pace and increasing demands of my work schedule have not been lost on my kids.
Last Sunday afternoon my daughter S (5) and I were walking to my colleague's Leslie's house. S and Leslie's daughter were going to have their semi-regular playdate while we worked. S took the opportunity to let me know how she was feeling.
S: Mom, I'm going to tell you something. Then I'm going to cry. Then I want you to tell me how much you love spending time with me. Ok?
Me: (cautiously) Um, Ok.
S: You are working all the time!!! It feels like you don't ever want to play with me ever again. I give up. (Starts to cry)
I gave her the right response under her direction, and added some heartfelt, original thoughts of my own. While I know that my daughter will benefit from my watching me as a working mom, it doesn't make those moments easier.
A recent Fortune article asked whether all work-life "experts" were hypocrites. The author, herself an expert, asked how could we really give advice about work-and life if we didn't have all the same scheduling demands our audience/clients did? And if the "expert" couldn't fit work and life together seamlessly, who was she to talk about it?
Honestly, I used to think I was full of it. I used to believe that to be a great coach for working parents, I had to do it all perfectly. I'd act as though I never let my kid down and cried about it, never over committed at work or at home, never dropped the ball, never forgot after-school was cancelled while my daughter waited for me, never served Annie's mac and cheese and peas multiple nights in a row, never let the TV go on at an off hour so I can put the extra hour in on a tight deadline. I have. That's what happens when we try to do everything we are capable of without enough support. Some of us try to hide it, but we are all fallible. I've learned how to manage and delegate better, but not without my moments. I advise because I have the training, I understand the realities at work and I know how to help others generate and find the support they need.
Where do you find support?
If you have a partner to share the working/parenting load, how do you divide it up so it's not all on you?
(I gave some advice about partnership in a recent interview on relationships for Fatherly.)
Over the past six years, I've heard hundreds of stories. I know how parents and their employers are making strides and where they are cutting corners. I wonder what you wonder about.
If you could peek behind the curtain, what would you want to know?
I can't wait to hear from you-