Yesterday there was a great blog in the Huffington Post about "Don't Carpe Diem". The short version of this blog is that this mom is tired of people telling her to enjoy every moment of motherhood because let's face it--it's hard work. But, her main point reviews the two types of time: Chronos and Kairos time. Chronos being the every day moments, including all the muck, and Kairos being the gems that you cherish.
It is this duality of time that is at the heart of the working mom's dilemma. For the last few months I have been in an interesting position. I expected to go back to work full time when Franklin was four months old. Due to the progressive thinking of my old company, they thought it would be better to eliminate my job so I could spend more time with my child.
Once I took a deep breath and stopped panicking about our financial free fall, I tried to enjoy the fact that I had "a fussy-free, sleeping through the night" baby who just wanted to spend time having fun. However, since we live in Silicon Valley, not getting a new job wasn't an option. We are not set-up to be a single income family. But, if I am honest, it is not all about the money.
Today was a great day. I woke up, enjoyed morning time with my little guy, then I dressed in grown-up clothes. I slid into my pre-pregnancy pencil skirt, curled my hair and put make up on. I was meeting with a new client who had flown up for the day to meet with a customer. It felt so good to slip back into my old life, where my mental challenge of the day wasn't remembering the lyrics to 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'. It was a Kairos moment for me--a moment to come back to myself.
Don't get me wrong. There was still a lot of craziness to the day. I was twenty minutes late to the meeting because I had forgotten what a commute was like. I rushed back to my house after the meeting to work on materials for another job and pick up Franklin to take him to the afternoon meeting. I am in a unique position in that I had a lot of people cheering me on for this baby, so it is great when former colleagues want to meet him and I can take him with. I then to took F to his grandparents, so I could work some more but realized that I left the computer at home.
Yet, despite all of that, I had one of those clear defining moments of what I want my life to be.
I had been wrestling with the idea that staying home might be the best thing for Franklin and I should find a way to make it work. But it isn't the best thing for Franklin because it isn't what will make me happy. I'll admit that I can't deal with the muck day in and day out. I applaud the moms out there that can [and I was raised my one who could], but it's not for me. What is important to me, however, is to find the job the will allow me to still have many Kairos moments--it may be scaling up my consulting business, or it may be that my current part-time gig will become full-time. Now, you are saying how could a full-time job give you the flexibility to still have those special moments?
See my part-time gig is a VP of Marketing role for a forward-thinking company who is focused on financial planning and investing for young families. As the person responsible for fostering the company and brand culture, you can bet that we will have policies that allow for attending pre-school holiday parties, soccer practices and school field trips. Participating in your family life will be required not optional.
Meanwhile I am going to enjoy these early days as much as I can. I've had five more months in Franklin's every day life than I expected. And, each night when I kiss him good night, I am very thankful for Kairos.