“I really like ‘vacation mom,’” my younger daughter said to me one night over the holiday break as I patiently enjoyed books with her in her room.
“Cause you listen, and you’re not in such a big hurry,” she replied with the true wisdom only an eight-year-old can impart on her forty-something mother.
I thought about her words carefully in the days that followed before returning to work. Somehow, my work seemed to leave me on empty in the evenings when I came home to the point where I just didn’t have the emotional energy or patience to be present the way I wanted to, the way I needed to be with my children.
Even on the weekends, I find myself rushing from one activity to another without really fully taking in any given moment. The truth is, I like "vacation mom" too. In fact, I think I like her a whole lot better than the other version.
But the reality is that most of us have to work for a living to pay the bills, so it’s difficult to find the balance between "vacation mom" and "working mom."
I think in 2012 that will be my goal, to get a little closer to "vacation mom" on a daily basis, even if that means leaving emails in my inbox and calls unreturned until the following morning. As my mother recently told me, the only true emergencies in life involve bloodshed. Most of what we consider an emergency in corporate American falls well below what logic dictates is important on our daily triage of must-do’s.
“Mommy sure wishes I could stay home and be ‘vacation mom’ every day,” I said to my daughter wistfully as I pulled her in for a hug.
“You can, Mommy. Just tell Daddy to change his job and be a doctor,” she said with the sincere logic only a child could muster.
Now why didn’t I think of that?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.