Face Reality

I came home ready to play around with the kiddos. They had friends over and I was gonna challenge them all to a game of Monopoly. I walked in the door and yelled hello. They came booking up the stairs from the basement to greet me. Mario and Rowan told me about their Beyblade challenges and Ri and Henley told me about the show they were watching. Rocco jumped all over me.
Then my phone rang.
Work needed me. “Can you send documents ASAP?”
I scurried around my email trying to find the documents. My computer was acting up, of course. I was getting irritated and pounding on the computer keys as if that would make the documents readily appear. The phone rang again. “Are you sending them?”
Arghhh. Twenty minutes later, I found them and angrily sent them off.
Meanwhile, the kids were sliding down the steps on their beanbags and spilling food everywhere. They were having a blast. I didn’t feel too bad that I had been pulled away for work since they were actually happy about it (another 20 minutes together!). But I did feel irritated and overwhelmed
In general. Then I stewed about the request for an hour afterward.
Jon told me to get over it – nice and simple. And he was right. And he’s a good example of how to get over it. He doesn’t stew. He let’s it go, turns on the game, and chills. I want to get there.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had to answer emails or a phone call after 5 pm. I can safely say a lot. So why am I getting so upset when I know it’s par for the course at times? I think it had to do with the house being a mess, my my expectations of coming home and having the kids swarm around me and all of us sing kumbya together, and the dog going nuts. In other words, living in a different reality. I should be grounded in the fact by now that the dog is gonna go nuts when I walk in the door, the house is gonna be a mess, and the kids are not gonna twirl me around in a circle singing “you are the best mom ever!”
As this article adeptly points out “Face Reality!” If I know that work may ring and interrupt my evening, then I can change my thinking from “dammit, the stupid phone!” to “I will take this call for 10 minutes and then be with the kids .”
At the same time, though, I need to keep some perspective and set limits to when I will and won’t answer work calls. If they call before 6:30 or after 9, I will respond. Anytime in between is dinner and kid time. An exception may be needed here and there but I think that is not unreasonable for the normal course.
I continue to appreciate it is all a learning process and will continue to be. A few years ago, I would have bawled my eyes out with a call like that coming through.
“That’s 20 minutes I didn’t get with my babies and they need me.”
Now, they don’t need me so much. They need their friends…and the computer…and Austin and Ally. It’s not quite as traumatic when the work phone rings and I need to get on it for a few minutes. And it’s also not as hard to let it go to voicemail at times – like when it’s 8 pm and I’ve just finished the dishes and feeding the kids and getting homework done and reading a story to them. I am getting better at turning that phone off when I need to – and doing something I want – even if it’s getting the mail, looking at the latest Title IX catalog and standing at the kitchen counter eating a handful of Cheez-Its.


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