Sure there are lots of times that I feel like I am failing at work and at home simultaneously. Demands of one impinge on the other regularly. This happens on a large and small scale, but regardless it never feels good. So when there are highs at both work and home, it feels remarkable.
This week I had a work event that I needed to attend on a weeknight that was not child-friendly. My husband and I picked my son up from school and then they dropped me off. I was sad to leave my son, knowing that by the time my event ended it would be his bedtime and I would have missed his entire evening (as well as his day, while he was at school). Making me feel more guilty, he whined, “I want to go to the party,” as I got out of the car.
My work event went really well though and I left feeling a sense of pride in my career. I was pleased with my ability to accomplish making an appearance at the party and still making it home in time to put N to bed. And despite his earlier protests about wanting to attend the party with me, he had a much better time getting ice cream with his dad.
As we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day together, N pointed to the different characters and identified their facial expressions as either “happy” or “sad.” He then pointed to my face and said, “happy.” After we finished reading, I suggested we brush his teeth and he instead turned around in my lap and gave me a big, unsolicited hug. His head nuzzled in the crook of my neck, we rocked holding each other for a few minutes. My eyes were full of tears but I willed them not to fall and disrupt this fragile ecosystem. For a busy 2-year-old like himself these moments are very rare. It was certainly the highlight of my day.
It seems that whenever I am beating myself up about the work-life push and pull, N finds a way to reassure me and give me permission to be happy.