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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

When balls drop in the act of juggling career & motherhood

This past week has been humbling as a working mom. I started my week attending a funeral and memorial service for my dear friend and next door neighbor. Not the way you want to start any week.

Arriving at work just after noon on Monday, I began review of month end commission statements, held a sales meeting to kick off the new month, and worked with our online sales manager to confirm our digital numbers - our best month ever! I was happily getting into the swing of things when at 3:45 PM when I received "the call" from my son's daycare provider. "Your son has a fever", the director shared. This was the beginning of what would be a week of balancing a sick little one, a hectic work schedule, a husband out of the country, and the loss of a close friend.

My son started feeling under the weather with stomach issues on Saturday, but once the fever hit I knew we were in trouble. And after nursing the new symptom of a croup-like cough all night long, we headed straight to the pediatrician first thing Tuesday morning in an attempt to nip whatever it was "in the bud". The pediatrician confirmed my fear: Coxsackie virus. She said they call it the "summer flu" because it's quite often spread in warm weather and, in particular, pools (Um, we have a pool). Thankfully he didn't get the accompanying mouth sores, which can be incredibly painful. Daycare was out, so Tuesday became a sick day for him and a missed day of work for me. I'm one of those lucky working moms who usually has a lot of support. This week was the exception rather than the rule and I was lacking back-up big time.

I attempted to find a new groove on Wednesday and Thursday spending half days at home in the morning with my son (including a SECOND trip to the pediatrician) while the second half of the day my parent's watched him while I hustled into the office trying to squeeze in conference calls, meetings, deliverables and other sales management duties. At home on the couch in the morning, emails and voice mails piled up on my BlackBerry while I stroked my little boy's hair as he lay his head on my lap. Afternoons spent in the office were interrupted by daycare and doctor and concerned granparent calls centered around on my son's health. This was not going to be easy.

As Friday begins - my first full day back to work - my to-do list is a mile long and my fingers are crossed that my son will make it through his whole day at school. My husband is simultaneosly making his way home from South America and tomorrow we'll be one happy - and (hopefully) healthy - family again.

I'll be spending a few extra hours in the office over the weekend in an attempt to not start the week at a deficit, which is just fine. As a working mom it's never possible to give 100% to two separate endeavors. Each day, as hard as you try, you inevitably come up short somewhere. This week, both work and motherhood suffered as I tried desperately to keep the balls in the air. Once I finally acknowledged the truth that they had fallen on the floor, I took care of each the best I could knowing that there isn't a playbook for the working mom. If there were, mine would most certainly be dog-eared.

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