Most schools will immediately notify parents when children have a spike in temperature. That notification came for me today while I was 30 minutes into leading a meeting for our Annual Black History Month Celebration. It was the first meeting we are having since everyone has returned from their holiday vacation/break. I’d received multiple data points from the committee and had several updates to share. My personal phone rang once at 3:28 p.m. I did not answer. My phone rang again at 3:31 p.m. and I picked it up. The teacher for my youngest son was on the other end of the line…(immediately I know this is not a call to tell you about the amazing thing my child did today, I know there is a problem). I hear only part of what she said and responded, “I will be right there.” I step out of the meeting, grab all purse and computer to barrel down the street…#WTH I caught every red light along the way. While driving I am blowing up my husbands phone as we are trying to coordinate who will get the kids, who will pick up dinner and all end up together at the hospital because I think my son is on the brink of death. As I arrive at the school, I quickly pack the kids in the car and we drive to the doctor. We get checked in and husband arrives with dinner in hand. During processing, my youngest son is afraid to get weighed and allow the nurse to take his temperature. Big brother steps in and says, “I will do it.” Nurse swipes is head, looks at mom and say, “he also has a temperature.” #WTH we now have two sick kids. I am worried, dad is slightly worried and the kids are running up and down the hall playing. Wait, what just happened. All of a sudden my youngest has a burst of energy, we are out of pocket for two co-pays and I am trying to calm my nerves because the child that was sick is now a bouncing rabbit, the well kids is actually sick and the doctor is looking at us all like we are new parents. He tried to make light of things while delivering his advice about home remedies that will save us heartache, money and stress in the future.
All I can say is #myburnttoast. The kids ended the night like they always do, snug in their warm beds. I had to sit and wonder what lesson did I learn today. When it comes to young kids, I’d rather be safe than sorry. As a parent I want to always be there to take care of and comfort my kids. As a career woman I want to have a perfect world where the two roles do not intersect. As a realist, I know it is all blurred and I will roll with it no matter what.
I read a study conducted by the Pew Research Center about how households rely on two-parent incomes more now than a decade ago. That means there are more women like me trying to balance a career, marriage, children and a social life at the same time feeling the pressure of having to do it all right. Most of that pressure is self-inflicted but non-the-less it is present. Like many of you reading this you have asked yourself this question, “Can I have it all?” Can I have a successful career, a handsome husband and keep him happy, respectful kids and a social life meaning time with friends or a massage and still look like a #rockstar when I step out the door each morning? Let’s keep it real, sometimes work is stressful and 40 hour weeks turn into 50 and 60 hours. The kids will have to eat take-out a day or two during the week and your husband will express that he misses you because you are working so much.
You are one person, I am one person. There are times I wish I could clone myself but either technology is not available to the general public yet and if it was I could not afford it. Having it all seems impossible all the time or for some, most of the time. There are two things I have found that can allow you to have it all. I once attended the Women’s Conference hosted by Maria Shriver at the Long Beach Convention Center where Valarie Jarrett was the guest speaker while she as an advisor to President Obama. She discussed how she achieved work-life-balance and the key to her secret sauce was her father. He helped with errands, pick-ups from school and other to-do’s on her list. With that I was reminded that #havingitall means having a #supportsystem in place that will help pick up some of the slack. You either have a support system inherently with close relatives or parents nearby or you can build one organically with close friends and extended family members.
Alternative to having a support system the second thing that is key to having it all is giving yourself the power and courage to define your own happiness. Maintain accountability for your success but release the pressure you put on yourself to achieve the things that are unrealistic expectations of others or stem from how you want others to perceive you. You must set priorities for yourself and manage the expectations of yourself and just say “to hell” with the rest of it.
As I lay in bed asleep I hear a loud noise that suddenly fades away and is replaced with faint sounds of someone calling my name, that is soon replaced a loud screaming of my name. I realize I was asleep and the person calling my name is my two-year-old son that is suppose to be asleep in his room. I grab for my phone to glance at the time, it is 3:48 a.m. He has awaken for a cup of warm milk. I make my way across the cold wood floors to the cold tiles in the kitchen. Beep Beep Beep I hear the sound of the microwave, the milk is ready, poor into bottle and make my way to his room. Before he takes his first sip, I am on my way back to my warm room. I ease back into the sheets, rest my head on the pillow, close my eyes and realize…This is My Burnt Toast.
My Burnt Toast are the every day occurrences and life experiences that are not always the most pleasant and sometimes unexpected. Just like real burnt toast, when it happens the way you react to it ultimately determines the overall experience and impact it has on your life.
Welcome to my blog, My Burnt Toast. I hope that sharing my experiences with you will enrich your life in some way as the experiences of others have helped to guide me.