I was working as an attorney at a major NY law firm on a LARGE bankruptcy case. My son, then in 5th grade, knocked his front tooth out playing ball one day. Yes, it was a permanent tooth. It happened on a Sunday, and Mondays were my busiest days -- hearings were held every Tuesday in the bankruptcy court, so the day prior to that was a critical day of preparation. The thought of sending him to school on Monday actually crossed my mind, I'm ashamed to admit, but my poor son was mortified with the gaping hole that now adorned his smile (though he refused to smile). I ended up calling our dentist at home that Sunday night, and scheduling an "emergency" appointment for my son the next morning.
I walked my son into the dentist's office -- he was scared, but relieved that he didn't have to face his schoolmates that morning. The dentist started working his magic. Instead of staying right there by my son's side and holding his hand or encouraging him with my words, I fled for the reception area and worked furiously on my laptop. Shame on me!! I made arrangements for my husband to pick my son up from the dentist's office and drop him off at school so I could go straight to my office.
Yes, everything turned out okay -- my son's smile returned and I completed my preparation for the next day's hearing. But to this day (he's now a junior in high school), I regret not being able to set aside my work and stand beside my little boy during his trauma. No work is that important.
I'm a big fan of MORE and I enjoy your column. It's the first thing I read no matter what enticing things are advertised on the cover! Before I answer the question you posed in the December issue regarding handling balance in the past and today, I wanted to show you a photo from my vacation which was last week. My family took a cruise to Mexico. Here I am on the Serenity deck of the boat. I took the last several issues of MORE with me to re-read and savor again plus the December issue, of course.
I am 45 years old, married for 25 years with three children and am one of those crazy women still endeavoring to do it all. I juggle several jobs at the same time, and the question I get most is the same one people ask you: "how do you do it all?" I am honest with others that although I continue to carry all of these roles simultaneously, there are days I don't actually "get it all done". Some of it waits until the next day. The old me felt like a failure when that happened. The current me is more accepting of my limitations. A lot of things started getting better once I stopped compartmentalizing. In the past I tried so hard to keep everything separate. Preparing for one of my vocations, I was trained that keeping home life and work life separate was a cardinal rule. I tried so hard to keep home/work/marriage/relationships/faith in all of these separate boxes. My heart longed to try to balance things differently but there were no role models around me at the time doing it any differently. In retrospect I realize what my heart was speaking to me was wisdom. I never really take any of these hats off. I am who I am - the total package. I don't stop being a mother just because I'm doing another one of my jobs. I am all of these things at the same time, and living with them integrated has worked much better. Although odd to some, this works for our family. I have found that a perfect balance is probably not realistic for me, but juggling well is.
--Deanna, Tampa, FL
I am writing to you directly because I did not wish to log on to the website to send a letter to the editor. While the MORE website is a great forum for more articles, I would prefer that a simple “letters” email address be provided in the magazine.