Good morning, Mamma. Ready to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016? Are you doing your year-end review today? I’m looking back on twenty years of working motherhood this morning. There were things that worked well, and things that were disasters. A short list of raves and regrets:
Flexible job: Awesome. Absolute necessity. My life would not have worked without the many jobs I’ve enjoyed that allowed me to control my schedule. There were weeks I worked sixty hours, but I got to pick which hours.
Job with no flexibility that had me working 12 hours a day, every day: Horrible. I quit that one after six months.
Full-partner husband: Best ever. Thank You, God for bringing that man into my life.
Promotion with 50% travel: Just about killed us. How I wish I could re-do this part of my life. Painful disaster that left scars. It damaged my relationships with my kids, no getting that back. No amount of money or prestige worth that. I know there are women who can make this work. I couldn’t.
Decision to get cleaning lady instead of fancy vacation, furniture or new car: A+
Decision to buy $800 jacket: D –
Reading at bedtime: LOVED. Can I go back to those days, please? My kids, all teenagers now, still talk about how much they loved this.
Email at bedtime: Oh, Mamma, why did I ever do this??? Loss of precious, irreplaceable family time for something that certainly could have waited 12 hours. I want to go back and scream at the me that said, “Just let me check this quick”.
Weekends with phone off: Gold – and I didn’t do this enough.
Days where I was supposed to be with kids where I was constantly distracted by my cell phone: Toxic sludge.
Grandma doing laundry: Manna from heaven.
Boss who told me to wear more jewelry and stop talking about my kids: Painful boat anchor. Almost as painful as boss who told me to drink more, or boss who told me he didn’t see how a single (divorced) mom could possible do my job.
Telling the truth – to my husband, to my boss, to my kids, to my customers: Good
Trying to be someone I’m not: Not good
In short: When I put my family first, when I was honest, when I did the right thing, even when it was hard, when I didn’t let glamour and money distract me from what was really valuable in my life, I won. My regrets almost all stem from the times that I let ego or greed play a part in my decision making.
God bless you, Mommy. This double life isn’t easy, but nothing is easy. Keep your values and your family at the front of your life and heart. Use the “is this good for my family” filter in decision making. It’s a good filter.
Because if we screw up raising our kids, nothing else we do is going to matter much.