One of the most vivid memories I have from childhood looks like this: 12 little girls wrapped in sleeping bags and blankets covering every square inch of the living room floor. Each one hopped up on cake and ice cream. Each one fighting sleep into the wee hours of the morning. My mom, setting in the recliner, reading to us from “Othello” as we slowly drifted off to sleep. I don’t know why I remember it so clearly. But it’s a memory that I hold so close to my heart. It makes me feel warm and safe. For the longest time I thought I liked reminiscing on the living room scene because it was silly (I mean who reads a flock of pre-teen girls British literature to get them to sleep besides my mother??). But now as an adult, I think I love it for a different reason. I love it because it’s my first memory of what it means to hustle, to look at an obstacle that is telling you “no”, and to look back at it and say “yes”.
The backstory to this memory is that my mom was raising my sister and I, while running a successful preschool. And going to college full time (getting straight A’s). All while throwing killer birthday parties. She never let on to my sister and I how much she truly had on her plate, how many nights she probably didn’t sleep at all, how many times she helped us with our homework when she had her own. I thought she was reading us “Othello” because it was deadly boring and sure to put us all to sleep faster than a sedative, but now I realize she was reading it because her brit lit final was approaching and she had to make it through the book that weekend. This is my first memory of what it means to multitask like a boss.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes this memory gets me through the day. When I feel like I have too much on my plate and feel like I can’t possibly handle one more thing, I think of my mom. I think of how she worked SO HARD to get where she needed to be. She didn’t complain or make a spectacle of her workload. She put her head down, dug in, and got things done. She is the original #momboss. There are so many wonderful qualities that my mom has shown my sister and I; compassion, loyalty, bravery. But at this point in my life, her hustle is what I most respect. Set a goal and go get it. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Just go. Read “Othello” in the middle of the night if you have to, but never quit.
Some days I feel like I am totally killing this mom-boss/work-life balance. Today is not that day. Today, I’m mediocre at best. I’m writing this on my phone as I watch my daughter take every single book off of her shelves, simply because I’m too drained to stop her. I have emails to answer and sessions to edit. She’s getting two teeth right now and isn’t super keen on sleeping. I need to work on marketing material, update my website, and get my equipment serviced before wedding season is in full swing next week. My house is a disaster, the sink full of dishes and laundry in baskets needing folded and put away. I’m giving Q half of my attention as I try to multi-task, and it isn’t cutting it.
Maybe she’ll bless me with a nap soon, but probably not. I’m writing this not because I love a pity party (although I do appreciate a good party). I’m writing this to tell myself it’s okay. This is my pep-talk, and if you need it then let it be your’s too. Every day isn’t like today. Eventually she’ll sleep. Work will get done and laundry folded (but probably not put it away, let’s be totally honest here). Tomorrow the scales of working and parenting might even back out, but today they tip heavily in my daughter’s favor. And this is me surrendering to that. I’m putting my phone down now, refilling my coffee cup, and giving her my 100% attention. Work and dishes aren’t going anywhere. But this day with her will pass, never to be gotten back. Maybe we’ll go plant flowers and play in the sun. Maybe tomorrow boss will win. Right now though, I’m just mom. And that’s enough for today.