Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Any woman who has attempted the feat of derring-do known as working while raising children has likely developed a theory about the Almighty that allows for one of the following:
  • God is a sadist

  • God is a misogynist

  • God has one hell of a sense of humor
Being fond of God (check earlier posts where I have declared that Hashem is my homeboy), I am going to go with the concept of God as a cosmic writer for the Colbert Report.

And the comic situation most beloved by God is the one in which the needs of one's children come into direct conflict with work deadlines and commitments, causing maximum stress and embarrassment to the mother who is struggling to appear as competent and professional as possible.

With Big Babe approaching his 23rd birthday and Little Babe just newly turned 12 (and Middle Babe about to celebrate her 19th B-Day...not to leave out my only daughter) I have over two decades-worth of that initimitable experience known as "feeling like crap" because I have fallen down on the job as a mom or as a professional...or both.

There is a log somewhere (in heaven most probably...just next to the Book of Life and a bit to the left of the Book of Deeds) that has recorded every birthday I was absent for, every school event I missed, every trip permission form I failed to fill out, every late payment to camp or school, every lame-ass gift I have bought and every unfair allegation I have lobbed against my blameless children.

Next to these entries is the work-related reason for the maternal slip-up. The conference in Washington on Little Babe's birthday, the interview that took me away from Middle Babe's kindergarten play, the deadline that kept me up late at night so I didn't wake up in time to sign the trip permission slip before the school bus left in the morning, the birthday shopping spree at the local 99 cent store because we were flat broke because a client was late in paying, the sharp words because a child exceeded a budget and we were flat broke because a client was late in paying...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And next to this particular book is a book written by my clients filled with testimony of missed deadlines, broken promises, failed campaigns, bad press releases, cancelled meetings, interrupted meetings, meetings I attended with unwashed hair and clothes, meetings in which I was barely awake and/or coherent that is, in turn, accompanied by the child-related reason for each transgression -- the child sick with flu/bronchitis/pneumonia/croup/stomach virus/mono/PMS/diarhea/chicken pox; the child inconsolable following the break-up of a relationship; the child with nightmares; the child who had to endure an anti-Semitic tirade at their school in England; the child marooned in a foreign city/airport/beach; the child bullied at school or camp; the child who is scared/sad/depressed/filled with existential angst; the child who is graduating; the child who has a test/homework/term paper/project; the child who has a prom; the child who has a birthday... etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

One day -- after one hundred and twenty years, God Willing!!! -- an accounting will be made of both logs to see if the screw-ups on both fronts cancel each other out.

With such grown-up children underfoot, one might conclude that my life has become easier, that I can pour myself into my work with a clarity of focus. In fact, just yesterday, as I trod on the treadmill during lunchtime, a friend who has four children younger than 5 waxed poetic about the magical, manageable lot that must be mine.

Well... yes and no.

Yes, when the Babes are out of the house and Hell No!!! when they are around.

In fact, with Big Babe home from college and Middle Babe returned from her gap year in Israel, the house is suddenly alive with the sound of children. Not to mention their music, their friends, their phone conversations, their complaints and their demands...er, requests that I spend quality time with them (i.e. -- talk to them) in the middle of the work day.

Making it really challenging to keep my home-based business afloat or to even finish one e-mail in peace.

Making me pull all-nighters that are still interrupted when Big Babe arrives home at 2 am and proceeds to blast the soundtrack from The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover or launch into a spontaneous discussion of what to do for the rest of his life now that he's graduated from college.

Making me lose my concentration when -- in the middle of a conference call -- I hear the biggest scandal that happened on Middle Babe's Israel program and I know the parents of the child involved.

Making me unable to rewrite the lead on a simple Media Advisory because I realize I never filled out the school registration forms for Little Babe that were due two months ago.

Somewhere in Heaven, God and His/Her pals are having the laugh of their (eternal) lives tuning into the sitcom that is my life:
Bungalow Babe in the Big City Tries to Have a (Professional) Life
While Not Totally F$%^&ing Up as a Mom.

No comments: