It’s Monday morning, and I’m staring into my closet trying to decide if I feel like wearing heels all day. I notice that I don’t hear the clank of a spoon against a cereal bowl, so Gabby must be done eating. It’s that, or she’s turned on the TV downstairs (with the volume down so I won’t know) and her cornflakes are now soggy.[sws_pullquote_right]By the time I open my office door, I’m not only overloaded with thoughts of what I have to accomplish at work, but I’m already thinking about what I need to get done once I get home. [/sws_pullquote_right] I poke my head around the corner to glance at the clock on my nightstand, which is eight minutes fast. Ok, it’s 7:21 (7:13). And I now have exactly 12 minutes to brush Gabby’s hair, put on mascara and get her to school before I miss my window of opportunity to avoid stopping at every traffic light between the school and work.
By the time I open my office door, I’m not only overloaded with thoughts of what I have to accomplish at work, but I’m already thinking about what I need to get done once I get home.
I’m a big believer in setting goals, but I’ve never been all that into making New Year’s resolutions. Too much pressure. But this year, I’ve decided to make few- with a twist. Rather than creating a list of all the things I’d like to change or accomplish this year, I’m writing down four things that I’m giving up as a working mom in 2015.
I will not bring work home from the office.
Ok, let me clarify here. I am not saying that I will never bring my laptop home or that I’ll never work on a project for work after Gabby goes to bed. Nor am I promising that what happened at work will never come up in conversation at the dinner table. I am saying, however, that if I’ve had a particularly stressful day at work; I will not bring that energy into my home and take it out on my family.
I know it won’t be as easy as simply leaving the workday on my doorstep, so I’ll have to come up with some ways (and I apologize for evoking Taylor Swift) to shake it off. That may mean going for a quick walk, listening to some music, or locking myself in the bathroom for five minutes alone – whatever it takes for me to transition from work so that I can be truly present for Gabby.
I will stop being a hypocrite.
I have spent an inordinate amount of time reminding my daughter to make her lunch, pack her backpack, and pick out her clothes for school at night, rather than waiting until the next morning. Gabby’s actually pretty good about the lunch and the backpack, but guess who rarely does those things? Yep, me. Obviously, I could save myself some time by practicing what I preach, not to mention making it easier for Gabby to develop these habits by setting a better example. So, rather than continuing to live by the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy, I’ll be picking out my heels at night from now on.
I will give up on being the “Black Martha Stewart.”
“Black Martha Stewart” is the nickname my mom has acquired (well, I gave it to her) over the years. She’s earned it by baking pies from scratch, cleaning at 3:00 in the morning, and preparing to host a house full of unexpected guests at the drop of a dime. The truth is my mother operates on a minimal amount of sleep… she always has. And I’ve often wished I could jump up in the middle of the night and get things done the ways she does. But honestly, I NEED my sleep, and I could stand to get a little more these days.
When I do forgo my sleep to get a jump on things around the house, I pay for it in crankiness, fatigue, and bags under my eyes. For what? To have pristinely folded towels in my bathroom. No, I think I’ll let my mom wear the crown, and I’ll just settle for being the “Black Kim Kardashian.” I’m just kidding… and don’t tell Kanye.
I will stop beating myself up for feeling guilty.
I don’t know any other moms who work outside the home who haven’t at some point felt guilty about not being home with their children, even those who absolutely love what they do for a living. But the only thing worse than feeling guilty is berating yourself for it. So, I’m done. It’s natural for me to feel guilty from time to time, but it certainly doesn’t do me any good to dwell on it. The best thing I can do is take full advantage of the time I have with Gabby when I’m not working.
So, that’s my list. Now, what non-resolutions do have planned for this year?
Taralyn Caudle is a freelance writer and Huntsville native who returned to her hometown to raise her beautiful and energetic daughter, Gabby. When she’s not nurturing the talents of her budding artist, she can be found on the hunt for good food, good music, or a good deal on a pair of shoes. Practically possessed by politics, purple, and Prince, she loves alliteration (obviously) and has been known to quote music lyrics in everyday conversation, from Hall & Oates to
Kanye West Kendrick Lamar. Her current philosophy on life: a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of laughter never hurt anybody.