work-life balance

Taking My Kids To Work

I know that many of us are struggling with how to be very present moms, and to do meaningful work outside of our homes at the same time. This delicate balance is thrown totally off kilter (for me at least) in the summertime.

After sending my son to camp for a few weeks (who can afford that kind of cash outlay for the whole summer?) I decided that we would have camp at home in the mornings with activities and fun outings, and in the afternoons, I would sit down to do some work. But I’m finding that meetings can’t always happen in the discreet 5 hour block I have each afternoon.

So, when a meeting creeps up in the morning, and I have to tote my two kids along, it is not pretty.

This morning, I thought I had it all worked out. Snacks, check. Array of DVDs, check. Art supplies, check. After 20 minutes of sitting quietly, my 3-year-old got bored (while DVDs are a fun treat when he wants them, they can turn into a punishment when I want him to want them.) While my colleagues were very generous, I figured they could only endure my children’s “cuteness” for so long. The morning reached its disruptive peak when my son decided to go to the bathroom on his own (“I want my privacy imma”) and then proceeded to run out of the bathroom half naked, sit on the newly upholstered chairs, and then go out the front door to test if the grease on a bike chain would leave a mark on his hands (it did). He then came back in and scampered about the room with the threat of his greasy hands taunting white walls and tan summer clothes.

After a few sharp barks (not my finest moment as a mom), the meeting was over (at least my part in it) and we headed home, my 3-year-old in one arm and 9-month-old (who was happily entertained by all the commotion) in the other. When we got home, I realized that this wasn’t working. I need to set up things so that my children (and I) can succeed. Bringing them to my meetings is not the way. When noon rolled around and my babysitter arrived, I was eager to get to work. Funny enough, she brought her 8-year old son to work with her.

Dasee BerkowitzDasee Berkowitz is an educational consultant, community builder and writer. Her pieces have appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, Kveller, MyJewishLearning and JTA. She currently lives in Jerusalem Israel with her husband and three children.

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