From the Director - September/October 2013
As I write this, the start of school is just weeks away. When I was young, the first day of school meant the debut of a new outfit, a stylish haircut and shiny shoes. The anticipation of seeing friends I’d missed all summer and impressing a new teacher made me giddy the last few weeks of summer.
As a working mom and wife, the first day of school for my three children conjures up entirely different feelings akin to mild panic attacks. It starts when the first of three fat envelopes arrive with teacher assignments, supply lists, log-on instructions for the new parent portal I’ll never use, a list of important dates for the next nine months, and a reminder of the summer projects I never had my children do. Dread mounts with a steadfast momentum up to that first morning the alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m., and I heartlessly drag the kiddos from their warm beds.
By the time you read this, I’ll be a couple of weeks into a new routine and a few inches away from completely losing my sanity.
Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not working mothers can “have it all” and do the work it takes to rise in the ranks. While these ladies are having civilized discussions about leaning in, I’m just trying to keep from tipping over.
My husband and I both have pretty big jobs and three children in three different schools. While summer for many families means vacations and beloved family reunions, for us it means we can get out the door without waking our children, drive to work in silence or enjoy the luxury of listening to NPR. And the drive home doesn’t include an hour of circumnavigating the city picking kids up from aftercare programs, throwing together dinner and going right back out to scouts, choir practice or other activities that we hope will make our kids well-rounded and scholarship-eligible.
I love my job. I believe our work makes people’s lives better, including my own family’s. And I know my job affords my family resources and opportunities others don’t have. I don’t know how some working moms make it happen, and I applaud parents who manage to juggle commitments to careers and families without losing it completely. You’re awesome. And probably superhuman.
If none of this sounds familiar, consider it a public service announcement. If, in September, you notice others looking a little frazzled or maybe downright anxiety stricken, back away quietly and know that it’s probably a temporary condition. One that will go away and then reappear in late April, growing worse until the first day of summer vacation, when a new balancing act begins.
Melanie Huggins, Executive Director
I just finished: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
I’m just starting: A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
I can’t stop listening to: The Civil Wars self-titled album
You don’t want to miss: Homework Help Center / Centro de Ayuda