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Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

I don’t think your daughter meant to pick a feminist fight…

So randomly reading my facebook stream tonight I see a link to this article.  This feminist-working-mom writer interprets her daughters question, “If dad made more money you wouldn’t work, right?!?!” with a wee bit of sass for my taste.  I don’t disagree with many of her points, but I’m pretty sure her daughter’s question was rooted in a desire to have at least one parent not, and I quote,

“hunched over the computer and planning my work day while the daily circus of morning family activity had played out.”

As humans our deepest desire is to connect with other humans.  We all crave it.  We all need it.  And while clearly this mom is very happy connecting with other adults in her working environment, and that is completely ok, it saddens me that in this article she doesn’t seem to consider the fact that her 10 year old daughter wishes there were a world where she could connect with her mom over breakfast, and mom not be worried about planning her work day.

I don’t want to pick a feminist fight either, as I have so much admiration for working moms. They truly work double duty and I am in awe of so many of my working momma friends and my sisters.  I am just a little surprised that this particular working mom doesn’t get that kids are very selfish, especially when it comes to getting attention and love from their parents.

“What unnerves me is realizing that somehow, my own daughter has picked up on the idea that for a mother to not work is the optimum situation, the one that, if money were no object, of course one would choose.”

I don’t think her daughter has “picked up” on anything in our culture.  Further, it annoys me that she wants to blame Modern Family or the SAHM’s who volunteer in her daughters school for planting sexist thoughts.  I think her daughter was only expressing her ideal world, where she, the child,  could have it all.  Where she could have a sense of security both in being provided for and being cared for by her parents.  Is it really that offensive that she wishes she had more of your attention in the mornings before she heads off to school?

The CEO and I have discussed often that one thing we both desired and appreciated about our parents, beyond even their unconditional love, was their time and how they spent it with us. It is true what they say, ‘time with your children is priceless’ …. to them.  As parents, we know all to well the price we pay for staying home, or leaving work early, to be with our kids.  But to our kids, the fact that we are there, with them, is priceless.  They would trade anything for more of that.

Working moms are amazing. They are.  And I really want to reach out to this mom and tell her not to be offended by her daughters comment.  She isn’t trying to offend you and what you’ve accomplished in your career.  She isn’t parroting a political statement from the SAHM lobby in the cafeteria.  And you are right, in a few years when she is off at college dreaming big dreams of her own she will probably be damn proud of you and all you accomplished in your career.

But right now that sweet 10 year old girl is simply telling you that she thinks you are amazing and the most wonderful thing in the world, and if it were up to her, yes, she would like to spend more quality time with you, without giving up the comforts she knows you and dad currently work to provide.  Because you are her mom, and that is the only job title she cares about.

It doesn’t have to change your answer:

“I like my work. My work is important to me. I want to work.” She looked at me, puzzled, and asked, “Why?” ”I always want to make you proud of me,” I told her that morning. “And this is how I do it.”

That is a great answer, and one she will grow to understand and appreciate.  But tomorrow, maybe put the laptop away at breakfast and spend a few extra minutes with her.  She’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

Holidays with Toddlers

So yesterday was not my finest day.  I was, how do I put it…. mean, crabby, impatient, annoyed… let’s just say all of the above.  The Sunday after a long Thanksgiving weekend, and I was mean mommy all afternoon because I wanted to finish decorating the tree and get all the Holiday decorations out and storage boxes put away, but of course all my little Associates wanted to do was take things OFF the tree, climb in and out of the mountain of boxes in our garage and stay up in the attic all day.

I knew I was being mean.  They certainly knew it.  Associate P was telling me to “Calm down, calm down Mommy.  It’s ok.  Look you have lots more ornaments that I didn’t break.”  And of course, the CEO took notice.

I like to think normally I’m a better parent when the CEO is around, just like any employee is when their supervisor is watching them, but reality is I usually act the same and just make sure he doesn’t hear me whispering bribes or threats to the Associates.  (kidding.  kind of.)  But today, he heard it all, and it was all pretty bad.

When things calmed down a little and we were making dinner while the Associates played in the other room he asked me what was wrong.  I then let out my sob story of “I just want to be able to enjoy the holiday stuff like I used to.  Now it is all work, that I don’t have time for and can’t get done with them running around. I can’t take my eyes off Associate A for a minute or he ends up covered in dirt from digging up half the flower bed.”

He looked me square in the eyes and held my shoulders and told me I’m crazy.  That I have two young kids and I’m the one setting unrealistic expectations for Holiday decor, traditions, crafting and efficient shopping.  And then he emphasized the point that I should, under no circumstances, ever take my eyes off Associate A. Even for a Minute.  That kid is cray-cray just like his momma.

I know he is right – and it is so hard to admit when he is, especially if it means I was wrong.  This was the end of an amazing weekend.  We hosted Thanksgiving for our extended family, had a football watch party the next day, I had a girls night out Saturday night, and I did in fact manage to get 90% of our holiday cards mailed, lights up on the house, the tree decorated, a fun family outing this am, and even had time to empty and wash out the kitty litter box.  WOAH.  That is a detail I rarely do.  I must have really been in the zone.

Our Family Christmas Tree

Our Family Christmas Tree

So I tried to end this amazing weekend on an up note, playing with the boys and not worrying about all the other Holiday to-do’s that had been running through my head all weekend.  I am trying so hard to relive happy memories of big family Thanksgivings and decorating the tree with my family as a kid, that I’m focused on my enjoyment of these things, and making them perfect for me.  Not my boys.

I dunno.  I was a bit of a cleaning obsessed, Martha Stuart wannabe, not at all attentive momma the last few days, and looking back I can only hope they are young enough to either be oblivious or only remember the highlights… playing with cousins, singing Christmas Carols while helping me with the tree, and reading Dinosaur Rumpus a few hundred times.

After all, I only remember the good times.  It is possible that my mother may have been high strung, bossy and impatient around the holidays when she was playing hostess, but that’s not how I remember it.  I remember being thrilled she trusted me to dust the legs of the dining room table (very important busy work, right?!).  And I remember my dad always letting me help get the decorations down and back up into the attic.  I don’t remember him ever threatening to leave me up there.

So let’s go on assuming my parents are the saints I have built them up to be in my head, and that my little associates will do the same.  After all, they did get to spend a lot of time up in the attic this weekend, and that is pretty darn cool.

#youwanttostayuptherealldayfinewithme #noididntreallylockthemintheattic

 

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