I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Here’s one of our Christmas photos from this year.
As I prepare to return to work tomorrow, I am trying to institute some change for myself for 2018. I don’t want to call them resolutions exactly because it’s not a goal that I’ll achieve and be done with. Instead, it’ll be an ever-changing process as I evaluate what works for our family and what doesn’t.
My oldest son wrote this letter to Santa last year, when he was 7.
It created all sorts of working Mom guilt. Does he realize how stressed I am trying to juggle everything is making me? Was my frantic pace to juggle it all – work, family, and friends affecting him? Should I stop working? It gives me so much meaning to be a physician, but is it detrimental to my kids?
When I want some special time with him, I’ll take him out for boba tea. It’s a treat and it encourages one on one time. Our younger two kids (ages 6 and 4) are so feisty, that sometimes my oldest does not get as much attention since he doesn’t demand it in the way the other two do. Anyone with kids probably knows what I’m talking about.
So, I asked this sweet boy, pictured above, “Do you want Mommy not to work?” He thought about it long and hard. And, he said “I like that you work because you help people. But, I like when you don’t work too, because you pick me up from school and I get to spend time with you and I love you”. Cue the waterworks. I’m not really a very emotional person, but man, did I feel proud and touched by this little guy’s answer.
So, this year I endeavor to be more intentional in my time with the kids. I’ve had this discussion with many of my friends who work part time – sometimes it’s the best of both worlds – home and work, and sometimes it’s the worst. I feel guilty when I’m away from the office, but I also feel guilty when I’m away from the kids. And being out of the office doesn’t mean I’m off duty. Since I am the managing partner for the office, I feel the need to be ever available to my staff. So, on my days “off” I’m still fielding at least 3-4 phone calls with the staff, writing blog posts, emailing our accountant, HR provider, doing Quickbooks, etc. So, there is a tendency real fast, for work to creep into all aspects of my “time off”. I’m checking my phone when I’m with the kids on the playground, calling patients back when we are at the aquarium. Part of this is the price for being able to work from home 2 days a week. But,I am hoping for 2017 that I can find a better balance. I may not be available to my children at all hours, but I want to make the time that I with them count. Quality, not quantity.
With that in mind, I am trying to create these intentional moments with my children. Carving out time for just them and only them. Right now, my oldest son and I are working on an art project for our master bedroom. His art teacher at school told me she was very impressed with his painting skills and I have always loved art. Obviously, growing up in a pretty traditional Indian household, academics was always prized above the creative arts, however, now that I have my own time, I thought this was something perfect I could share with my son.
We are doing our own version of this painting we spotted on minted (but are too cheap to shell out $2K for). Plus, the trips to Ben Franklin, the time it takes us to construct this piece together, is worth so much more. And, in the end, I’ll have art in my house which is meaningful to me and something that my husband and I can agree upon (we have vastly differing art styles!).
For my baby girl, she is a girly girl who loves the water and is extremely fearless.
Climbing too high for me.
Since my husband was an all-American water polo player in high school and college, I let him handle the swim excursions with her. But, she and I have our special time when I give her little manicures. Some might think 4 years old is too young for nail polish (as my husband says) and I agree, but I have given in on this front. I do only use these awesome VOC-free nail polishes that I found at Nordstrom. She has quickly commandeered all of the bright pink shades.
For my middle, he loves reading with me and getting massages (yeah, I know, I’m spoiling him for my future daughter-in-law, sorry!) and what he calls “date night” with me.
Usually, we just go to Coffee Bean and I’ll get him a strawberry milk and he tells me about his day. It’s nice to have separate time with each child when you have more than 2, sometimes I feel like I’ve spent the whole day with the kids, but have not been an active participant in their playing or their activities. It’s all about running them to ballet, soccer, piano, etc. So, I’m hopeful that creating some intentional moments with them will benefit all of us for 2018. As my friend said “All moms have guilt”, whether you’re working full time, part time or SAHM. But my mom (a child psychiatrist) once advised a friend of mine “The fact that you are having guilt about these things means you are a good Mom. Bad Moms don’t even give these decisions a second thought.”
**All photographs courtesy of Daphne Hargrove Photography. She is amazing! She does family pics, birthday parties, senior portraits, and even boudoir photos**