The Work-Life Challenge

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blog post photoWork-life balance is a huge topic among working moms. I know I’ve blogged about this topic before, but it always seems to be at the forefront of my mind and my heart. Lately, I’ve found the busier I get, the more quality time I’m spending at home. While it seems paradoxical, this is the best compromise for my family. Read this article about working moms to help assuage some guilt :)

I feel like my kids have a pretty good concept about the fact that mommy works, and that’s just the way it is. They understand why I work. Still, there are good days and bad days with our children.

This week, I attached myself like glue to my daughter, because she expressed her need for mommy time. Rain, who is three-years-old, got quite angry last week. “Mommy, you NEVER pick me up from school.” I tried to explain to her that I work on Mondays and Tuesdays. “I try to go into work late so I can drive you to school,” I said, “but I can’t always pick you up because I work.”  I made a commitment to her last week: I took a full day off to spend with her.  I also promised her I would pick her up from school on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I am making a huge effort to do that.

Something interesting happened the other night. As much as my kids need time, my relationship needs time as well. David and I have really been trying hard to carve out some extra alone time to keep our romance burning and stay committed to each other. We’re guilty of allowing each other to be last on the list. The other day, we spent the entire day with the kids. I took them to DWTS on Saturday for a script reading. They love hanging out in my dressing room and exploring the ballroom.  I took them to an Operation Smile/ Pottery Barn charity event I hosted. They got to dress up in their costumes (and they were so cute)! It was a great party. There was candy and games (like potato sack races!) and food. I love backyard parties. It was a pretty amazing day.  Then, David and I had an early wedding to go to. We brought the kids to that event too!

After those three huge events, David and I had a little bit of energy left. We snuck away for a glass of wine and a late-night dinner. The kids were freaking out: “Mommy, why do you have to go?” “Mommy, I need you!” “Mommy, please take us with you!”

So I sat down with Rain to try and calm her bursting tears.  “Mommy  took some alone time with you this week. You have to understand that just like you need alone time with Mommy, Mama and Papa need alone time too.”

I was very impressed with Rain’s understanding of what I needed. I feel like it is very beneficial for me and her when I take the time to communicate honestly with her on her level, and explain what is going on. She is a very understanding child.

During our date, my 10-year-old texted me about 15 times (no, I’m not exaggerating).  “I need you. Call me back, etc.” It upset me, because I feel like she was abusing her privilege.  When David and I returned, my two oldest were still awake. They came into my bedroom and were quite upset. It was Rain who calmed them down. “Listen, Neriah and Sierra. You know how we need our time with Mommy? Well, Mama and Papa need their time too. So don’t be unfair, OK?” David and I looked at each other, trying to hold back laughter. We were so impressed with her. Our three-year-old broke down the situation to an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old. Everyone understood.

I think it’s important to listen to your children’s needs without ignoring other priorities, like romance.  I felt like everyone got what they needed this weekend, which is not a feeling I have often.

The work-life challenge forces a lot of moms to choose one or the other. However, I truly believe everything is possible if you make a strong commitment to your family, yourself and your relationship. It just takes a lot of TLC, effort and patience. But, at the end of the day, everyone will be better for it.  

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