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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.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When Valentine's Day is Deadline Day

I've meaning to write about this since Valentine's Day, and I figured this blip of chaos was still worth telling.

So, Valentine's Day was also Magazine Deadline Day for me, fumigating the love in the air with intense pressure. I didn't see how I could possibly focus on the attention my kids and my sweetie deserved on a day they all saw as special.

Had I planned ahead a little better (ha, ha) I would have already had in my possession little tokens of my affection for them. But, as many readers know, that would be out of character -- not because I'm not thoughtful, of course, but because I'm constantly on crisis time management.

Coupled with my lack of preparedness for Valentine's Day was the fact that I had no room in my day to think about or feel very loving feelings. There were so many loose ends to tie to get the March edition of Spirit of Saratoga magazine to the printer by the end of the day, I was coming completely unraveled.

I had been up and working at home since about 5 a.m., when everyone else got about 7. My daughter excitedly brought a basket of valentines around the house, delivering several to each of us.

"I'll have mine for you later today," I told her, a twinge of guilt in my gut.

Upon seeing his sister's valentines, my 11-year-old son said, "Oh, it's Valentine's Day? I guess I should get some cards soon."

My eyes widened. As it turned out, though I thought my husband took both kids to get cards one afternoon, only she got cards that day. I apparently was the only one who saw my son's class list for Valentine's Day in the bottom of his backpack, and my husband assumed our son didn't need them.

I immediately Googled "free kids Valentine's cards," found something decent and hit print -- only I realized when nothing came out that I had accidentally printed it to the computer in the newsroom. Oops. My husband and I laughed at the reaction people in the office would have when they saw Spongebob Squarepants rolling off the printer.

After getting the kids out the door, I got back to work, electing to work from home free of the distractions at the office. But things were not coming together as well or as quickly as I'd hoped, and I just grew more freaked out in the quiet of the house as the hours wore on.

By the time the kids were coming home from school, I was packing up to go finish the magazine at the office -- and I was at a breaking point in my stress level. The kids were buzzing about their days as they barreled through the door, one of them carrying a vase overflowing with red roses. "Here, Mom. We all got these for you!"

I busted out in tears. "Oh, thank you" I blubbered. I read the confusion on their faces. "But Mom, it's supposed to be a happy day."

"I'm sorry guys. It's just that the magazine work isn't going well today, and I have to finish it by the end of the day."

They were so sweet trying to console me. And I took off to the office ready to conquer what remained to be done and determined to get home with Valentine's treats in hand.

Several hours later, I was hitting the final button to send the magazine to the printer. It was nearly 9 p.m., and I was exhausted. One of the guys working in the sports department asked if anyone wanted a couple heart-shaped Reeses peanut butter cups because he had consumed too many already. "Ooh! My kids love those," I told him.

I still didn't have a card for my husband, though. Then I saw -- still sitting on the printer — two sheets of Spongebob Valentine's cards. I giggled as I cut them up and stuck them in an envelope.

Grabbing my coat and running out the door, I noticed a nice array of treats someone in the Advertising and Classified departments had left out (thanks, Meg!). I took two heart-shaped lollipops and shoved them in my purse with the other treats.

I made one stop for a bottle of wine to go with my Spongebob cards, and headed for home.

The end of the story: my kids were happy to get a treat, my husband got a good laugh out of his cards, and we both enjoyed a lovely glass of wine -- celebrating a quiet moment at the end of a crazy day.

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