Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is a Concert - A Symphony


“Mom, you came back!”

This is the quote my twin sons yell at me everyday as I return to the house after a full day of work.  This wasn’t always the case for my 4-year olds, but my workload and commute wasn’t always this way, either.  After a welcomed yet unexpected recruitment to one of the world’s top hospitals, my commute time quadrupled.  My primary work responsibilities went from supporting the efforts of a small office to providing assessment and educational training support for a department of about 5500 healthcare professionals.  While I love my work and have always loved working, it’s not that encouraging to have your young children remind you of how long you’ve been away from them, by yelling “You came back!” in incredulous voices… daily…

Regardless of commute time and work load, however, my assumption is that all working moms go through, what I can only describe as heart-wrenching guilt.  And yet, I also have other working moms, moms of multiples, aspiring mothers, moms of color, and young female professionals exclaim to me often, “How do you do it!?” Well… “to do ‘it’ is not an option,” I tell them.  And this is why…

I am a 34-year old Filipina-American, born to Filipino immigrants who came here in the early 70s, leaving all of their family behind to give their unborn kids the quintessential “American dream.” I am completing my PhD program in Educational Leadership.  I am the founder and CEO of a consulting and training business in diversity, cultural competency and change management.  I work fulltime at one of the top pediatric hospitals in the world.   And last but not least, I am the proud mom of 4-year old twin boys and the wife to a great husband (who also works one full-time and one part-time job).  I say all of this not to brag.  Actually, having written all of that, I feel close to nausea – but I start off by listing the nuances of my life to state with strength that ‘it is possible.”  “How?” you ask?  My simple answer is,” You don’t make ‘not possible’ an option.”

Another working mom once told me that she has a conversation with all of these so-called crystal balls that we working moms juggle.  The conversation basically goes like this: “We are going to work together.  This is a concert – a symphony – that necessitates all of us figuring this out together, daily, and consistently. Eye on the prize, people.  Not working together is not an option.  Not making this work is not an option.  We will make this work. And it will be fun.”

Directive? Yes.  Decisive? Yes.  Sadistic? No, it’s not.  And it’s not sadistic, simply because you’ve had the conversation. It would be sadistic and self-sabotage if you weren’t having this conversation with yourself and all the crystal balls that are floating precariously above your head.  This is what working moms call “control” and is something all of us strive to have and maintain.  I’m not arguing that it’s always possible, but if you have already decided what crystal balls you want to include and juggle, then go the extra step and have that conversation with them.  We do this with our kids and our colleagues at work, right?  We direct behavior, influence feeling, incept control, and bypass passivity.  This is what occurs in self-directive conversations like the one above. 

I believe fully that working moms are the ultimate symphony of control in unparalleled grace.  For me, at least, much of that symphony starts with a simple conversation with myself.  The next hurdle is making sure everyone else around you is listening to the same music…!

Eloiza is a mom balancing work, twin preschoolers and entrepreneurship.

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