Being There Jen and John Speak

Being There

As I write this, I’m sitting on a train headed to Washington DC. I didn’t see my kids this morning because I left too early (although I gave them extra hugs last night). And I stuck little notes in their lunches for today, letting them know I love them, and that I’ll see them when they get home from school tomorrow.

As a working mom who travels a lot, one of the things I struggle with is being there for everything. I have missed the occasional school performance, birthday (although we celebrated when I was home), etc. And I have struggled with guilt over this. Because I know I need to do my job to make the money needed for the family. Yet I also want to be the good mom. The one who is always there for my kids, with baked goods waiting as they walk in the door from school.

I know it’s not a unique experience. June Cleaver messed us all up. We struggle to be supermom while dealing with the realities of today’s society. I’ve tried to be the stay at home mom. And I nearly lost my mind. It just isn’t me. I crave the challenge that comes from my business, even though I also love being with my kids. But it does mean I can’t be there all the time.

And so I’ve learned to cut myself some slack. Heck, I might even be teaching my kids a few lessons that relieve some of the guilt for them when they become adults. I hope I’m teaching them that they are incredibly important to me, and their celebrations matter. They just might not always happen on the exact day. They will, however, happen (even if it means I have to watch that performance on the DVD). And when we’re all together, they get my full attention.

They’re also learning what it means to work hard. They know full well that getting the toys they want, the roof over their heads, the food on the table, is a direct result of John and I working hard, and me being away sometimes. It’s our reality. (And they’re actually pretty fortunate in that when I’m not traveling, I work from home. So they may actually see us more than the average kid with 9-5 parents.)

And my kids are still happy, funny, and secure.

Am I June Cleaver or Supermom? Nope. But my kids know I love them, and they’re learning how hard work translates into a good life.

And that may be even more important.

How do you balance it all? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.