Over the past few weeks, a few (childless) friends said, "I don't know how you do it: work full time, parent, and generally have your act together. You are such a role model!" My response each time has been to gape at said friend like a fish, and then burst out laughing.
True confession: 99% of the time, I feel like anything but a role model. Yes, I work full time, parent, and manage to make it out of the house looking somewhat presentable. But I have got to tell you, this whole juggling thing is damn hard. And for a self-confessed Type A gal, I usually am stressed out that I am not doing something (OK, everything) as well as I could be, or as well as I feel like I should be. Case in point: just last week, C's school had a pumpkin painting party, which started at 5. I rushed out of the office a few minutes early, after wrapping up some loose ends for my business trip the following day, and made it to school at 5:15. Unfortunately, my husband and I were the last toddler parents to arrive, and C was beside herself, apparently thinking that we had abandoned her. Hello, massive guilt trip. And as far as being put-together goes? I put on a great game face, people. (And I have a love affair with concealer...but that's beside the point, I guess.)
When I think about my own role models, many are very successful women, who also happen to be moms. And though they'd likely laugh at my calling them role models, too, they are more "seasoned" than I, and therefore seem infinitely more capable when it comes to juggling things. As we approach C's second birthday, though, I've come to realize that not everything has to be 100% perfect all the time. If everyone is happy and healthy (and by everyone, I mean both at work and at home), then shouldn't that be good enough? I will admit that "good enough" is sometimes not good enough for me, but I'm really working on retraining my brain to understand that no one/nothing is perfect, and that it's much healthier to just let things be a little bit "wrong" instead of driving myself and everyone around me crazy. I'm also slowly coming to realize that if others see me as a role model, I must be doing SOMETHING right.
So thanks to my friends for calling me a role model. I might not have shown my appreciation very well, but I really am very flattered. And when you ladies have kids of your own, I think you'll understand where I'm coming from on this one. :)