It’s a cold March day. A Sunday. My kids woke up with a plan. They knew it was Sunday and therefore I did not have to work. Snow was on the ground, sun was shining…so of course they wanted to do one thing and one things only…SLEDDING.
Simple request right? I mean come on, Sundays are a day of rest, so I have nothing to do right? WRONG. Between church, laundry, and an afternoon long meeting with my partners my Sunday was jammed pack. It broke my heart to look at them and tell them we couldn’t go. “Maybe next weekend guys”…the words sounded so bad coming out of my mouth.
I hate disappointing my kids. But this is part and parcel with the working Mom gig life has so graciously bestowed upon me.
But a strange thing happened when I told the kids that my afternoon plans did not involve sledding. I stared at them with that look of “go ahead, you can cry now!” But, the reaction was entirely different.
“ Well, can we go outside when you get back from your meeting?” J asked me. H chimed in “Yeah, can we do that?” No questions of Why? No pouty lips.
At such young ages, my kids of become masters of improvisation. They simply go with the flow. They make the best out of any situation. This unfortunately is probably due to the fact that they have had to deal with disappointment their whole life to some degree. From L pulling on my leg begging me to not go to work in the morning, to J missing out on a cool after school activity because I can’t transport her there, to H being forced to sit and run errands with me instead of playing catch in the front yard. Trust me, I am sure as a working Mom I have given my kids enough disappointments to keep their therapist entertained their entire adult lives.
But I have to work. That’s the reality. And Reality is incredibly disappointing when you are 2, 5, and 6.
So at 4:00 p.m. when I returned from my meeting out we went. As I stood there watching the kids run around our small front yard I couldn't shake the fact that this had to be incredibly disappointing to them. I mean, there was hardly enough snow to even make snow angels..
I smiled as I watched them head down the driveway to a small pile of snow that was piled there. Hardly the snow hill they had in mind I’m sure. But I watched as they smoothed out the surface. My daughter then sent my son to retrieve the saucer sleds from the garage. They then took turns sledding down their snow pile.
And their faces, had not a trace of disappointment. I mean they were laughing and smiling so much that you would think they were tobaggoning down an alpine slope.
They made sure that even when reality hit…they still got to go sledding. They made lemonade when life handed them lemons.
Yes once again, my kids are so much wiser than their Mommy. I at 34 do not deal with disappointment as well as toddlers.
This year as I mentioned before is going to be stressful. My law firm is embarking on a huge construction process. We are purchasing a building, gutting it, and extending it. And of course as a partner this means I have to fit part of the bill. In fact, this project is so large that I realized very soon in the year that I won’t be able to take my family on vacation and my husband and I have to wait another year to move. My husband and I are simply too worried about the unknowns going into a huge construction project to spend our savings.
I found myself doing a mental “pouty lip”. I mean, I live for vacations, I love spending weeks with my family on some adventure. And reality is taking that from me.
I am getting a whole lot of lemons.
So you know what? If my kids can do it, I can do it. Let's start making lemonade.
My first step is fixing that whole “no vacation” thing. So I decided that instead of taking my standard week off this summer for vacation, I’m going to take 5 Mondays off…give myself three day weekends most of the summer. Will I be going to exotic places? Nope. The only island I will likely visit will be Rock Island, Illinois. In fact, with my kids summer schedule I will probably spend the majority of those Mondays carting them around. But you know what? I’ll be as happy as those kids in that front yard. Because it’s one day more a week to do what I love doing the most…being a Mom.
Being a working Mom is the hardest thing I have yet to do in my life. I still after almost 7 years of doing it struggle with balance, and the fear I am doing something wrong. I still struggle with the reality that no matter what I do, there are only so many hours in a day and so I’m going to continue to disappoint my kids. But you know what? If at the journey my kids are still smiling like they were today, I think that will be the sweetest “lemonade” of all!