Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maintaining Balance: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time...

...there was a working mom, named Schmegan. Schmegan thought that balancing a demanding career and the needs of three children with a husband in school would be a piece of cake.

"No problem! I can do it!" said Schmegan, time and time again.

Then one day at work, a partner asked Schmegan if she could be on a conference call at 6:00 pm that night. The only trouble was, Schmegan's husband would be in class at that very same time.

"No problem! I can do it!" said Schmegan.

So Schmegan drove home from work early that day, sent her husband off to school with a kiss, gave the kids a snack, turned on their favorite show, spread out her legal paperwork on the kitchen table and got ready to dial in.

Beep-boop-beep-boop-boop-beep-beep-beep-boop (etcetera etcetera...there are a lot of numbers to dial on those dang conference calls.)

At the tone, please state your name followed by the pound key.

"Schmegan," said Schmegan optimistically.

Thank you. You will now be placed into conference.

Little did Schmegan know, however, that one of her children (let's call her Schmashley) had heard Schmegan dialing in, and was about to subject her mother to what is known as a "career-limiting move."

No sooner had Schmegan said to the gathered conferencees: "We have a situation where [insert boring legal situation here]...", when Schmashly popped up out of nowhere and said:

"Mommy, let me talk?"

Schmegan flashed her dagger eyes at Schmashley, and emphatically pointed at the snack/television diversion items she had so thoughtfully prepared pre-conference call. However, the dagger eyes backfired, as they only convinced Schmashley further that this must be a really good conversation.

"Mommy, I want to talk! I want to talk! I want to talk! I want to talk!"

Schmegan panicked - what to do? Her fellow conferencees could clearly hear Schmashley hollering her desire to participate while struggling to pry the phone away from Schmegan's ear. Schmashley is loud. And strong. Schmegan finally managed to regain the upper hand, but only at the expense of sending Schmashley into a full-fledged tantrum.

By this time, Schmashley's identical twin brothers (Schmaidan and Schmowen) had picked up on the fact that there was something much more interesting going on in the kitchen than whatever they were watching on television. Schmegan tried to overcome the mass chaos erupting around her by talking louder, but with Schmashley freaking and Schmaidan and Schmowen starting to join in, Schmegan decided her only chance was to make a run for it.

Unfortunately, Schmegan chose to run through the living room, which her husband had recently converted into a deluxe cardboard box fort/castle play area, so the run was more like a mouse and cheese maze than the mad dash for the front porch she had envisioned.

But eventually, Schmegan made it to the front porch, where she continued the conference call in relative peace after apologizing profusely for trying to practice law in the presence of three toddlers. The other conferencees were gracious, and Schmegan crossed her fingers that they couldn't hear the muffled sounds of three tiny bodies hurling themselves against the door in an effort to follow her outside.

Luckily, the conference was cut short due to spotty reception on another participant's part, so Schmegan was able to head back inside a few moments later. Once the children realized their mother was back within the four walls of the building, they all delightfully exclaimed "Mama!" and clamored to hold her hand.

Schmashley said "I want dinner, Mommy." And Schmegan said:

"No problem! I can do it!"

And they all lived happily ever after.

(At least until the next evening conference call.)

No comments: