Do you ever feel like you are keeping score of your performance as a working mother? I know, I know… the game of life is not a competitive sport. Still at the end of every day, I know the score of that day’s juggle. And whether it was a win, a loss, or a draw. Sure, these games will never be played on ESPN and there is no fancy Superbowl Ring being handed out for a job well done. But the announcer in my head is keeping score of how I am doing as a working mother.
“Mom starts the day strong with a 3-point bonus: she manages to pack her kid’s lunch AND pull out the leftovers for Dad and herself. Everybody eats today! In fact, it looks like she scored an additional point for extra difficulty; each family member received a fruit, a veggie, a protein, and a whole wheat grain. Mom is clearly taking control today.”
“Oh no, Mom lost 4 points for not using her hands-free device on a conference call in the car. Nervously looking for any cops who can dole out a hefty fine clearly shows that she is not on top of her game. Can she recover, folks?”
“We have another scoring opportunity. Mom is giving a presentation to her VP and Sr. Director on the new project. She grabs 7 points for making an out-of-this-world presentation and anticipating their questions. But when she gets back to her desk, she realizes that she gave the presentation wearing a sweater with a glob of oatmeal stuck to her boob. Two-point penalty for not dressing for success.”
“It’s the end of the day; will Mom score by leaving for work on-time? She shuts down her computer, packs up the folders she’ll need when she works from home tomorrow. It looks like she’ll be on-time. Oh no, here comes the chatty sales manager, Bob. Mom quickly darts out the side door to the parking lot. 2 points for leaving on time and 1 bonus point for her impressive maneuvering. She’s on a roll, ladies and gentlemen!”
“Mom gets to the car and realizes she forgot to pack a snack for the little guy on the ride home from daycare. She loses 3 points for lack of organization. She may lose more if there is a meltdown in the car. Mom scrounges and finds a piece of gum - not nutritious but will hold off any “I’m so hungrryyy” tantrums in the car. We’ll give her a bonus point for originality.”
“Now we’re moving into the critical after-work juggling event. She’s got 25 minutes to get dinner on the table before Dad’s conference call with Japan starts. Clueless as to what to make for dinner; she quickly throws some frozen meatballs in with leftover pasta sauce, cuts up string cheese sticks and pulls out the hotdog buns. We have MEATBALL SANDWICHES. Mom does it again! 7 points.”
“The kid refuses to eat it - minus four points!”
“After giving him a bath, Mom realizes that he doesn’t have any clean pajamas. She’ll easily lose another 3 points here. Mom forces Dad to lead the bedtime routine of reading books and brushing teeth even though he just got off a stressful conference call. Four more points lost for being an unsupportive partner. Oh, and now she passes up cleaning the kitchen to watch Survivor. That’s another 1 point deduction. Mom started out the day strong but now barely seems to be holding it together. Will she rally to win?”
“Mom pulls out her laptop and fires up. It looks like she is starting her second shift. Will she score more points? Oh no. Mom has pulled a fast one. She is merely looking up the time of her first meeting tomorrow. No additional work means no more points.”
“Final score for the day: 1 point, a weak win”
Tomorrow is another game. Most of the time, I feel like I do a great job of balancing family and work. It’s probably a good thing that I’m the only one keeping score.