David packed his bags at home in Malibu- Rain saw the suitcases and lost it…She is just getting use to him being back from Africa, and worked has called again. This time a short trip to shoot a movie. Saying goodbye that night was too much for both of them… So he didn’t.
He buckled Rain’s car seat into the car and off they went to the LA airport. I was in-flight heading to the same airport, and we knew our paths would cross. We planned to meet each other at his terminal to say goodbye. The International Terminal was hardly the ideal place to meet, but these days we take what we can get. How special Rain felt to be going with her Papa. I was so excited to land and have a short time to be with David before he took off. It wasn’t about the make-out opportunity but the embrace and a chance to connect one last time before he left. Rain on the other hand, lucked out because he buffed out his goodbye by taking her with him. A 1 hour trip in the car goes a long way for a girl her age. Then she could be transferred into my arms. Coming home with me brought a huge smile to her face, and I am sure comforted her in ways I may never comprehend.
I was always committed to never leaving my children. Even when I worked, when I had only 2, we traveled together. Now that I am a mother of four, it is much more difficult. Rain was so lucky for the first 2 years of her life, because she was NEVER without David or me. I was always proud of that, but times have changed and David and I are doing our best to make the best of it.
The good news is that we are working, and for that I am very grateful. The tough part is the impact it has on our children and what we do to balance that. Every day I shoot DWTS, I go into my dressing room before we go live to chill and settle myself. Part of that ritual is spent counting my blessings. Working on that show is such a gift. The fact that I can have that role, and have the other 5 days of the week to devote to my family is a true gift! Trust me, I know what it’s like to put in 12-15 hour days. That takes a toll on everyone. On Mondays, I drive the kids to school and make it home by bedtime after we wrap. It’s so important to me to be there for bedtime and our morning routine as much as I possibly can. Please note working moms, I said “as much as I possibly can!!!!”
Here’s the thing. If you’re a working mom like me, you can’t always do the things that you intend to. There is always some other mom doing more and making you feel lame… Sometimes our kids need more than we have to give, sometimes they need less. A guilty mom is not a healthy mom. What I do is make up what I miss by doing these things:
I schedule as little as possible in the evenings, so we can have family dinners together. (A tradition that started when I was a little, thanks Mom…)
I make weekends mandatory family time. We have less friends and play dates so we can all catch up.
I plan one on one events with my kids so they can express their desires & feel special.
I can’t do as much as I would like at school, no time, so I pick the spots that are most important to my kids. Hosting the end of year party, carpooling field trips, attending the out of town (hell) trips, volunteering to help for class parties, donating items for fund raisers, etc. Yes they wish I was class mom, but that’s not reasonable and neither is brownie leader, but I do lend my yard to the yearly camp out event! 🙂
I take my kids to work with me sometimes so they have a point of reference about what mommy is doing.
I use a detailed weekly calendar at home so everyone knows what is happening, where they need to be and what to expect I cannot run my family with out it.
I teach my children that we are raising each other and that we need to count on each other. I thank them for helping me and supporting my needs too.
I let each one chose an activity, sport, play class, music lesson, etc that they enjoy and I explain that those things cost money. THAT’S WHY I WORK! They totally get that.
I have capable people helping me that they trust and enjoy being with, so it’s safe and fun when I cannot be present.
I cuddle and kiss my kids a LOT!
I make sure time spent together is quality time. Focused, uninterrupted and special.
I try not to let my chaotic schedule mess up the structure that they need and count on.
I drive my kids to school – EVEN when I don’t have to because it is important to them.
I block out my schedule for all important school events that I should be at and I do not back down unless we all feel comfortable.
I work my BUTT off, but I rush home at every opportunity because I WANT TO and my family is my priority.
I check in often with them, I listen and I make appropriate adjustments.
I love deeply and that is what matters most.
I give what time I can, I explain what I can’t and I change when I need to.
This is what keeps me sane. There are no rules. I know how hard it is to have a career and raise a big family. But it’s all possible- even when LAX is your meeting point and saying goodbye is harder than you thought. So what if your kid misses bedtime once in a while to spend a few extra hours doing what means the most. Personally, I break the rules once in a while to see a smile on my child’s face. And I mix it up when I can to never see a broken heart.