Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Confessions of a Type-A Octopus

Is it possible to have a successful career and a good family life, both at the same time? That is today's question, and I'm here to attest that it is. And it isn't. Both.

Obviously, many of us manage to succeed in both arenas; skillfully multitasking Girl Scout e-mails in-between work e-mails, and stopping on the way home to pick up cupcakes.

But I've also learned that there are times when the Type-A part of me has to "let go," otherwise I'd make myself crazy. I will share with you that, despite my best efforts, I have worked with spit-up stains on my blouse (attained just seconds before departing Grandma's); Likewise, my husband has gone to his office with glitter on his slacks (since glitter is attracted to his car upholstery with the same impenetrable vengeance that normally applies only to cat fur).

Yes, it's a balancing act. We want to be ultra-professional at work, yet there for our families at home. Most of the time we succeed, but on the occasions when one affects the other, we have no choice but to forgive ourselves; the only other option being a straightjacket.

Last week, I taught a seminar three hours from my home. It started at 3:00. At 2:36, I received a phone call with an emergency about my kids. What's a mom to do? Other than thanking my lucky stars that they have both a Dad and a Stepdad who are extraordinarily capable, there was no way I could be there. Yet obviously, this was preying on my mind, and shutting my cell phone at 2:56, forcing myself to focus on providing an energetic, interesting three-hour workshop was one of the hardest things I've had to do.

It all worked out okay. Thankfully, my kids were fine. And the seminar also went well. I received much positive feedback, which was reassuring, although some people (including myself) were a little disappointed that my timing was off. Overall, the program was a success.

Was it as perfect as I'd have like it to be? Absolutely not. Was I thrilled about being torn between my responsibilities? Definitely no. But in the end, we Type-A people who choose to do both will inevitably be faced with the occasion where we'll have to forgive ourselves for being mere octupuses rather than centipedes.

Although at times it's hard to find solace that "At least I'm not an insect."

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