What I’m listening to – The sound of all the buzzers, bells and beeps that are produced by instruments to measure breathing, heart beat, blood pressure at a hospital.
What I’m watching – My watching habits tend to be whatever Disney show my kids are currently hooked on, my BravoTV binge watching Real Housewives or for the last couple of weeks whatever channel my dad has the TV on in his hospital room.
What I’m reading – I have several books penned by members of the Little Rock Nine that I am trying to read since I’ve had the great honor of working with them through the years, but lately all I’m getting read is work emails and news feeds.
What I’m doing – Currently feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a full time working mom to two amazing human beings and the daughter of an aging and lately, very sick father who lives three hours away.
Do you ever feel like your life goes on overload sometimes? I am currently experiencing that feeling in my own life, hence this post. On a normal day, I am the mother to a 10, almost 11 year old son, and a 7 year old daughter and I also work full time as the Performance & Innovation Coordinator for Little Rock. Our days consist of getting everyone off to school in the morning without major drama, heading to the office or various public meetings, trainings or other events and then picking everyone up from school to get dinner and homework done before winding down for the day…that is unless Mom has a neighborhood association meeting, public hearing or Board of Directors meeting to attend that night. That all got turned on its head earlier this month when I found out my beloved Daddy (yes I’m a Southern Daddy’s girl at the age of 46) was sick…very sick.
We all like to talk about Work-Life balance, but what do you do when the balance doesn’t exist? Lately, I have spent the majority of my days parenting via FaceTime while sitting by my dad’s hospital bed working from my laptop via VPN and then going home to his house each night and cleaning it so that he has a healthy environment to come home to once he does get to go home. I am very thankful for my husband, who is also a City employee, as he takes on the role of single parent while I am helping my dad. But I have to wonder, are we doing this the right way? Should a dedicated public servant have to choose between being there for their family in a time of need and getting pulled on every day by the expectation that we all have to be connected to our jobs 24/7? Yes there is Paid Time Off and FMLA that can be used, but who is there to help take care of the caretaker? We talk about our organizations being like family because we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our own relatives, but when it comes right down to it, are we supporting our fellow public servants in the way we would want to be supported if we were the ones in need?
These are all questions I am struggling with right now as I navigate this part of my life where I am trying desperately to parent my children and being a care taker for my parent. I know I am not alone in my feeling overloaded as I know others who are trying to make their way through similar situations and as we all age, we will only have more tough choices to make. I guess the thing I would like to leave you all with it this, if we espouse the notion that our organizations are family, then be kind to your family in their time of need and take care of them as a family should.