By heather | October 29, 2008
Yesterday I was asked to drive one of the VPs of my company back to corporate after a visit to my client site. Seeing as how I am not the best driver under normal circumstances, I was understandably a little nervous.
Reasons this was a bad idea:
1. My car is an unmitigated disaster that I basically live out of 5 days a week.
2. I have never driven the route from my client site to corporate and thus did not know where I was going.
3. I get nervous when I don’t know where I’m going.
4. When I am nervous I find it harder to pay attention the GPS.
5. I’m still feeling a little foggy.
6. I have a tendency to say dorky things.
Surprising everyone, most of all myself, I did not forget to turn down the radio, rear end another car, or get lost on the way to the office.
(I did get us lost in the building which is perhaps more embarrassing, but we’re going to pretend that everyone gets as confused as me in beige office settings and while she may have suspected we took the looooong way to the conference room hopefully she won’t know for sure.)
Did you get that?
Someone at the meeting asked her how she balanced her work life committments, which is a big buzz phrase around here. Her answer was that she uses resources that the company offers and asks for help when she needs it. She also jealously guards her time – family hours are for family, work hours are for work and ne’er the two shall mix. (Possible paraphrasing there…just sayin’.)
Can it be that simple? The only thing that seems missing is the “me” time.
The whole car ride I really, really wanted to ask her if she felt guilty at work for the time she wasn’t spending with her kids. Because I knew the answer, of course she does. Don’t we all beat ourselves up on a regular basis?
Does she ever feel like she’s missed out on thier baby-hood by working full time? What does she do on days when she’s completely spent from work and has not an ounce of patience left for the kids that you just spent all day feeling guilty about? Is she ever late for work because she had to run back home three separate times for forgotten essentials? Does it chew her up inside when she’s doing something strictly for her, like going to the gym or getting a haircut? And does she feel even worse if she comes home to find that, in fact, the family was getting along just fine without her?
I didn’t ask any of these things because no matter how nice she was, she is not a girlfriend. I talked about how supportive my boss has been and how I am interested in the work I’m doing now, both of which are true. We made it back to the office without incident and I don’t even think I said anything cringe-worthy.
Sometimes I wonder if I appear the way she did, like I have it together and am perfectly balancing the whole working mother shebang.
I’ve been told that I do.
I know better.