Work Jen and John Speak

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I Want to Be Supermom But My Cape Ripped (And I Don’t Know How to Sew)

My patch-less brownie :)

I am a working mother.

I have a husband who makes sure the household stays running smoothly so I can take the lead in running our company. (God bless him.)

Our roles are often reversed. Parents in town sometimes make the mistake of coming to me to make plans with our kids. After giving them a blank look, I send them to the master schedule keeper (John) who will also most likely be the one who shows up for the playdate or birthday party with kids in tow. He also does the laundry and the taxi driving of the kids. (God bless him.)

We really do like the way things have worked out, even though it’s rather non-traditional. But sometimes it’s hard, too. I’m on the road a lot and miss performances and things. I try to show up for things when I’m around, like caroling with the Brownies.

But I also sometimes think about moms in generations before ours. Those superwomen who cooked and cleaned and got the kids where they needed to be (in heels and pearls, God bless them.) The definition of supermom back then was a lot different than it is today when we’re balancing work and family and everything else we want to do.

Heck, they even knew how to SEW (a talent I simply do not possess.)

Case in point…brownies. I have written before about the stress the whole brownie patch thing has added to my life. I still haven’t added the last 2 patches to my daughter’s vest because I’m not sure where they go. When we went caroling with the brownies at the nursing home, I figured I’d check out the vests of the other girls and then do my daughter’s. ¬†Only when we got there, EVERYONE’s patches were falling off. And it made me feel better. LOL Maybe it’s not just me.

So even though I try very hard to be supermom, there are simply things I’ll never be able to do like June Cleaver. I still haven’t attempted to attach the brownie patches. My husband doesn’t ask me to sew hems (he asks his mom.) And yes, I’ll miss the occasional child activity.

But you know what? It’s OK. It’s what we’ve chosen. It’s the life we created. The kids are happy most of the time.

Even if I don’t know how to sew.

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.