My heart is pounding. I just got off the phone with a senior government official regarding a work matter. The fact that she’s called me today means that this is a critical issue for the government and for my company.
She said she couldn’t discuss the full matter right now but could she call me back in an hour. I said yes. I then sat back down on the lawn chair and continued to watch my son play in the sandbox with his friend. I’m not officially working today but when you’re a part-time working mom, you know that there is no real “day off.” At any moment you might have to switch gears.
I always find those moments surreal. When work and family intersect with such force. My heart is still pounding but as I watch my son play, it takes me a few seconds to remember why. Oh, yes, the important work matter. There was a time not long ago when I would have gone into a total tailspin if something like this happened. I would have scooped up my son and gone right home so I could get “on-line” and start making calls. I would put the work first and see if that helps to get a better life. I would worry myself silly thinking about how the important matter de jour would play out and how I could help fix it. You see, I’m a FIXER. I take things on and I fix them. That’s just what I do. I latch on to the issue with my teeth like a bulldog and don’t let go until I’ve finished it off. Or that’s what I used to do.
Today, I stayed in the lawn chair and let my son keep playing with his friend. As my mind was racing about the matter and how it would play out, my face and body sat relaxed and talked with my friend whose house we were invited to for the playdate. About half an hour later, my son and I walked home holding hands. A short time after lunch, I got the call and switched full force from mommy to professional. The issue was hard and I had to make some difficult decisions and phone calls. Then I started the worrying. I had done all I could for work but my heart kept pounding and my mind kept racing. If this is the “American Dream” I might think again.
Then I remembered all the times that a “critical” issue had popped up on one of my days off and I wasted hours worrying in front of my computer screen or checking my iPhone just to find out the next day that it had resolved itself somehow. Well, today I was not going to let that happen. I forced myself to rethink my usual routine in these situations. So I sat down with my son and started to help him build a giant tower with his favorite widgets! What a thing to invest in.
Every time the “thoughts” crept into my head, I looked at my son and forced my mind to think of him instead of the work. Sometimes I would succeed and other times I failed. Maybe it’s better to go to some job fair. Who knows how long I’ll be hanging in this job, who knows…
In the end, I’m just happy that I succeeded part of the time and build a one-kick-ass tower with my son!