I’m going to be honest with you: I do not have time to write this blog post. I did not have time for breakfast today either and ended up downing a handful of triscuits when I went upstairs for a glass of water. I have a major partnership in the works with two shipping deadlines imminent, as well as a large PO (purchase order) to fulfill for one of my best wholesale clients. And of course, the regular orders to fill from my shop and emails that have gone unanswered and… well, I think you get the point.
I have been working in overdrive to be sure that I don’t let anyone down. And then yesterday I shelved everything for 24 hours. It was Mother’s Day after all. After sleeping in (that’s 8am or so) I went downstairs and was met by my children’s happy faces. They gave me kisses and wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. We snuggled on the couch together (Ryan was still out on his morning run), and they both asked if they could present me with the gifts they’d made in school.
Nathan went first, and gave me a framed haiku he had written for me. He chose words that he thought described me and I beamed as I read his choices, which included “hilarious, creative, loving”. Then Lilly gave me her gift, a laminated sign that read “All About My Mom” which featured a picture her teacher had taken of her and a series of fill in the blank sentences. It was me, in the eyes of my five-year old. Some of the sentences were adorable such as “My mom is _____ years old” (which she had filled in as ’25’, bless her heart), and “My mom weighs ___ pounds” (she chose ‘5’ pounds). Some of the sentences swelled my heart, such as “My mom really loves _____” (‘big hugs and kisses’ was her answer).
Then there was the sentence, “My mom always says_____”. Lilly’s answer was ‘not right now’. And the sentence, “If my mom had the time, she would love to____”, and Lilly’s answer was ‘read me Alice in Wonderland’. We began reading Alice together about 2 weeks ago, and yet have only managed about 3 chapters so far.
Working from home when there are children afoot, I face different challenges than my office-working peers. I could be elbow deep in chemical tarnish remover only to hear a small voice call out “Mom??? Can you come hook up the wii?”. My answer? Not right now. Sometimes, less than an hour before dinner the same little voices want to know, “Mom!? Can you come make me a sandwich?” The answer? Not right now. Seems like a logical response on a case-by-case basis. But seeing it in writing, it took on a completely different meaning and became a lump in my throat that I was careful not to convey to my sweet and honest little girl.
I told myself that I just had to make it through the busy Holiday season and then things would slow down. Then there were several amazing offers that I accepted, once again amping up my daily to-do list. Now it is May, and I am still going at the same pace as I was in December. And two little children are six months less little. I could start by replacing “not right now” with “soon”. But isn’t that the same thing, really? I could tell myself that this is just Mommy-guilt and remind myself of all the time we DO spend together and the wonderful things we do… but if it were enough, would those three little words have been the ones she believes she hears most often? Has Not-Right-Now become such a mantra that even when I am not working at a frantic pace, it is slipping out here and there? I don’t know.
What I do know is that starting yesterday, I have shifted from the passenger seat to the pilot’s seat in the flight of my time. I don’t expect it to transition smoothly overnight, but I printed out calendars and set time slots for the Has-To-Be-Dones, that breaks everything up into manageable chunks throughout each week. I set specific tasks that can be done at exact times which will add up to huge amounts of shop work being taken care of a little a day.
While it is impossible to run a company during school hours only, I do have to accept that it is unfair for me to work until 7:30 most nights. Since I get an earlier start than most (no morning commute save the walk into the studio), I should be able to end the day with my 5pm mail drop off and sit down to a chapter (or ten) of Alice in Wonderland with my little girl.
Now when the voices trail down the studio steps, asking for me in those small ways that add up to a childhood’s worth of memories, my answer will not be “not right now”. It will be “I’m here. Come sit with me while I finish this up, and then we can______”. And I will be the one filling in the blank, with stories or walks or just being there. Right now.