IMG_3245Ahead of Mother’s Day this weekend, various publications will be running pieces on the state of modern motherhood. One of the reasons I wanted to write I Know How She Does It is that I feel a lot of the literature on women, work, and life is profoundly — and unnecessarily — negative. Yes, it can sometimes be challenging to make the pieces of life fit together. But for all the Recitations of Dark Moments that dominate the Can’t Have It All literature, many women do succeed in their careers while happily raising their families. Many sleep, exercise, make time for friends, and see their spouses too!

I am writing this from a hotel room in New Orleans. I suppose by some tellings, this week might be an example of…I don’t know. Something. I will be gone from Monday morning to Thursday at some point. I’m speaking here, I’m attending an event in Washington D.C. in mid-week, and then I’m speaking in New Jersey on Friday. But looking at the week as a whole, there’s plenty of space for family stuff too. I found the hash tag on Twitter “#momwins” and I quite like it. I’m adopting it to celebrate the various parenting and work/life integration moments that work. For example:

I read to three of four children on Sunday night. The 2-year-old is really starting to like his stories. I read to him and the 5-year-old with relative frequency. But the surprise of Sunday night was the 7-year-old. I got him showered and ready for bed, then we snuggled up and I read a chapter of one of those Gameknight 999 books based on Minecraft. Not exactly the sort of book that will make my To Be Read list, but the 7-year-old loves them, and he loved having me read part of the saga to him.

I thought through the plan for the time I was gone, making notes and arranging logistics for things that might be problematic. I hired a second sitter to come from 3:45-7:45 on Monday night, so the 2-year-old didn’t have to go to two karate lessons and the 7-year-old could be picked up from our house for wrestling practice. I flagged that the 9-year-old needed to wear his choir uniform on Tuesday, and reminded the 9-year-old that he needed to remember this too (he informed me that his plan had been to rely on me to remember…hmmm…). Grandma and Grandpa will be there on time on Wednesday to help with that multi-kid sports run.

I celebrated with the 9-year-old his getting promoted to a higher math group. This has been a long time coming. He is incredibly proud of himself, and I am too. Another cool thing for the 9-year-old: he’s been putting together our Shutterfly book for 2016! He’s figured out how to pick the photos and write captions. Now that he knows how to do this, this vastly increases the chances that our yearly photo books get made before May of the following year.

I’m enjoying looking at photos G sends me of the kids. The awesome thing about modern technology is the ability to connect when you’re not there. I’m hoping to Face Time at some point later today. My husband and I are also coordinating birthday presents for the soon-to-be 10-year-old via email and text.

My boys have next Tuesday off school for a teacher in-service day. Because I marked that on my calendar far ahead of time, I’ve managed to keep it free, so I’ll be able to do something fun with them. It only took me a few years of school calendar studying to learn to do that, but hey! Better a late #momwin than never.

For the moms reading this, what #momwins are you celebrating this week?

Photo: View out the window

7 thoughts on “#Momwins

  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    At times when I am stressed at work I tend to switch off on family. But after reading your blog, I tend to train myself that this 30 minutes is for my exercise or play with kids and focus on that and only that. It’s still in progress but I feel better with this strategy. Thank you.

    1. @Teja – thanks – I firmly believe in the importance of being where you are. If you’ve decided to spend time doing something other than work, then the rumination doesn’t really help. Easier said than done, but still worth trying.

  2. I love this post and your approach. I think sometimes it is easy to fall into a trap of “mommy guilt” for moments when you’re away from your children (i.e. at work or travelling for work, or even travelling for pleasure on occasion) but I have really tried hard in the past year or so to realize that I *am* there for my children whenever I can be and to focus on major quality time when I am with them. I love the story of you reading with your 7 year old – little things like that mean so much to kids and they usually aren’t hard for us to do! 🙂 thank you for your positive perspective

    1. @Heather – thank you. One positive thing for me with my time logs is that I can see for sure the copious copious quantities of time I spend with my offspring. I can also see that I’m really not working that much – sometimes I probably feel more guilty about that!

    2. I love your approach and perspective on managing time, as well. I completely agree that the “quality” time is truly important – not necessarily total time – although it’s still tough sometimes when you are working full-time and kids go to bed at 7pm every day, leaving limited time for fun during the weekdays. It’s easy to be a bit jealous when your “perfect” SAHM friend posts about sweet adventures outside on a beautiful day while you’re fighting fires at your corporate job, but I also need to remember that those snippets aren’t the whole story…and while my friend may have had a fun day today (I hope she did!), I know she’s not always happy with her situation either – every choice has trade offs, unfortunately. I think if we feel like we are acheiving the right balance 80% of the time or so, then that’s pretty darn good!

  3. Traveling for 48 hours this week to help my elderly parents. Consider this #momwins ~ got to spend some time with my parents, my son learns that you help other people when they need help, and have the morning tomorrow blocked off to spend with my son.

  4. My momwin is if I manage to remember the days day care is closed and arrange babysitting ahead of time, instead of a panicked round of phone calls to grandparents the night before.
    Also, the few times I have managed to completely empty the laundry basket have filled me with a ridiculous amount of pride.

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