The best parenting advice I ever received came from a failed job fair.
This was about seven years ago. The company I was working for was in dire need of new talent that the typical classified ads weren’t bringing in. So the powers that be rented a resort conference room for a day, ran some radio announcements, and opened the doors for an official company job fair.
They asked me and two other women to be there to represent, and we were prepared to do on the spot interviews for the floods of potential employees.
Only, no one came to our job fair that day. Well, one person did, but that was it.
As a result, two coworkers and I got to sit in a quiet room all day, eating resort food on the company dime and chatting it up. Eventually, the topic of conversation turned to my bulging belly.
Yep, I was pregnant with my first child.
Both of my coworkers were in their forties, and neither one had (nor wanted) any kids. Together we tried to fathom what working parenthood would be like.
“You have to accept that in some areas of your life, you’re going to be a B.”
My coworker stated, passing on the motto she’d heard from one of her friends.
At the time, this phrase resonated deeply with me. And now that I’m seven years into this parenting thing, I see how really true it is.
I’d love to be more fashionably adventurous. Every time I go clothes shopping, I feel like a cute-minded person trapped in a working mom’s wardrobe. My fashion proficiency is not innate, but I’d like to think if I had time to read fashion blogs, or time to…you know…browse establishments that sell clothing, I could probably do okay.
But say I go to Anthropologie and consider buying a patterned skirt.
Well, that patterned skirt would probably require a certain kind of top to go with it, one that I don’t already own, and most likely a pair of ballet flats (don’t have any of those). Hence, buying this skirt would mean more shopping to complete the outfit, and I don’t have time for that either.
So I often pick the charcoal grey pencil skirt that goes with every top I already own for the sake of efficiency.
I’m not going to win any fashion awards, but for the most part (I think) I’m put together and clean, or at least as clean as a mom with gooey children can manage.
I’d love to make beautiful gourmet dinners every night. Or perhaps have a meal plan with some sort of variety, rather than the same old convenient meals that have been gracing our table for the past few years.
There was a short period of time when EeeBee was three, before Baby Rock was born, that I was obsessed with eating only whole ingredients. As a result, I made a lot of food from scratch. It was the first time in my life that I dove head first into culinary adventure, and I loved every minute of it.
But it was time consuming. Several hours were spent examining cook books, making stops at multiple stores for specialty ingredients, standing in the kitchen with my cutting board and food processor.
Then my second child came along, and with him my parental efforts doubled, restricting dinners to anything that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less, with mundane ingredients available from one grocery store.
But I do make an effort to get quasi tasty meals onto the table at least three or four nights of the week.
This one’s a solid B.
I’m brimming with ideas for this blog. Ways to promote it, topics to write about, features to add, guest posts to compose, even brand new websites to build. If my thoughts were accurately depicted in a Venn diagram, it would look something like this.
So many times I have to step back and remind myself I can only do so much. I won’t be a super-blogger as a working mom. It’s just not gonna happen. But I do manage to publish at least three posts a week that are of a quality I’m proud of, with the exception of the occasional spelling error of course. ;)
Don’t get me started on the other areas of my life – the cleanliness of my house, being an attentive friend who sends birthday cards, my ability to make homemade gifts, my ability to make homemade anything.
B+, B-, B-, B
Now, I’m not saying any of this to be discouraging or negative. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Accepting a B grade in so many areas has freed me to be a mom, a wife, a friend, a blogger, and a provider, all at the same time, without the pressure to be perfect in every category of my life. That’s not to say I can’t try to improve my grades in food, fashion or blogging if I want to. But I don’t have to.
Whenever I get frustrated at all the things I’m not doing, or all the things I’d like to be and don’t have the time for, I take a breath and remind myself that I’m a working mom.
All I need is a B.