Can women truly have it all? Family, marriage, motherhood, work, hobbies, me time… I’m sure I missed a few points on that list.
Last Saturday, I took the day off from work. Why? Because I wanted to spend time with my daughter and give her my undivided attention. I knew household chores, my other relationships and the million other things I juggle (including writing) would consume my Sunday and I didn’t want her to have to make do with the leftover dregs of my attention and energy on Saturday as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I spend a lot of time with Z, both quality and quantity. But it’s time and attention that’s rationed between calls, messages, mails and people. Other people who also inhabit our lives.
So, on Saturday, I chose her. I dropped everything else and everyone else, put my phone on silent and spent the whole day doing whatever she thought was fun. We spent time at a play area, won some silly stuffed toys, sat on a carousel, ate French fries and bought a balloon. We then came home and watched Tangled together for the 250th time.
A couple of months back, I was told by Z’s school that they were going to do a fashion show with the kids. The theme was ‘reusing waste material’ and her outfit had to be fashioned from it. Since I am arts and crafts challenged, I passed the task on to my niece who did a fabulous job. The next day when I was handing the dress over to the teacher, she asked, ‘Can you come back by 10:30 to help dress her up?”
I was already shaking my head before her question was even finished.
“I have a packed day at work, but I’ll be back in time for her performance.”
“Can you try? All the other mothers will be there. She will be the only one without a mother present.”
Ahh. A dagger to the heart.
“I’m sorry.” I was resolute. “I have a very important day at work. I can’t miss it. I’ll be back for her performance for sure.”
I repeated that promise to Z before I left. I wouldn’t be there to dress her up but I’d be there to watch her on stage in her garbage bin liners dress.
Except, I wasn’t. My meetings ran late and I had a ton of paperwork to catch up on and by the time I made it back to the school, it was all over.
Apparently, my daughter was a star. Everyone told me that. Everyone also didn’t happen to take any pictures or videos of her being a star.
Did I fail her? I don’t know. I certainly broke my promise to her.
I do know that I chose to prioritise my work that day. I knew what I had on my plate at the office was important and I chose it over watching my daughter walk the ramp at school.
Can we have it all? Sure, we can.
Can we have it all every single day? Not in a million years.