The other morning, I was caught up in creating costumes for dress-up day at my kids’ camp, and we were running late. I threw a jumble of (healthy! nutritious! lovingly prepared!) stuff into their lunch boxes, nagged them to finish eating breakfast, and finally grabbed their backpacks, tennis rackets, swim suits, towels, and herded them into the car. Then I went back for the costumes, and then for my wallet, and then we left for camp.
(This is not a post about the importance of organization or how to streamline your mornings by preparing the night before. Obviously.)
It’s a quick drive to camp, and I arrived at the same time as one of my dearest friends, so I snapped pictures of our kids in full “Winter Wonderland” costumes (two Christmas presents and hockey player) and we vented/chatted for a bit. We walked them over to their counselors, who gave me strange looks followed by quick, polite smiles. I told everyone to have a great day. Then I drove home and got to work.
It wasn’t until hours later, when I got up from my desk to go to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, that I realized I’d showed up at camp looking like the insomniac workaholic I’ve become. Hair sloppily pulled back into a frizzy, haven’t-had-time-to-wash-it ponytail, a halo of frizz poking up from one side. Ratty T-shirt. Rattier jeans. iPhone clutched in one hand, instant messenger app pinging with info from the office. A scrap of wrapping paper taped to my hip, from making my son’s costume.
I was horrified. Then I remembered the strange looks and polite smiles and realized that I’d gotten out of the car looking like that in front of random parents and kids and—worse—in front of the perky, perfect-looking counselors who are still friends with my teenage stepdaughters.
I was even more horrified. What have I let myself become?
Forget about work-life balance or finding some “me” time. That glance in the mirror showed me that I really need to control my inner workaholic.
How do you control yours?