Last week I had the fortune of being interviewed by Dr. Portia Jackson of workingmotherhood.com for her podcast. We had a lot of fun talking about challenges and successes. I talked about treating each child as an individual, which can be a challenge with twins. (This article in Time about twins and gifted programs resonated with me as we submit our applications for public middle school this week – yes, applications because we have no zoned school.)
In preparing for the podcast, I thought a lot about the long view, and how situational so much in parenting is. Letting go of guilt is a perennial theme in the working motherhood genre, and I really had a hard time doing that until I was able to look back over a period of years and see that I did not miss as much, on the whole, as I thought I did in both parenting and my career.
Also, with my third, I had more of a “been there, done that” attitude – she will be okay if I am not there for every milestone. And I will be okay too. I really do not like going to the playground, and I can admit that now.
Letting go of guilt is closely tied to Kelly Wallace’s excellent article on Cnn.com in October discussing Gisele Bunchen’s comments about the importance of taking care of herself. I told Kelly how I learned the hard way that taking care of myself enhanced both my parenting skills and my job skills.
I have carved out more time for myself, whether that means meeting a friend or working out or getting a manicure, but that does not mean I have solved everything – not by a long shot. It is hard to step back from the moment, especially if it is a late night at the office and I really wanted to read that good night story. Or when all three kids are fighting and I want to beam myself to a childless state.
Right now, my hair needs to be cut, I skipped two runs in a row and I have neglected the personal writing I enjoy so much. But I had a very productive day at work yesterday and also took my three-year-old for crepes as we waited for my husband to get back from an early morning class he teaches. She chatted and giggled as we waited for our order and I had a nutella stain on my shirt as a souvenir of our fun. So, to use an overused term, it balances out.