When I was pregnant with Life - named after a string of ancestors on my father's side & bearing initials in honor of his paternal grandpapa - I told myself I wouldn't make any fast decisions about Girl Meets Dirt. I had finally succeeded in bearing a child - the motivation to do so was what spurred me to launch this business, and keep growing it. I wondered if what I really wanted in the end, was to focus fully on mothering (it is not lost on me that having this choice to make was a gift alone). This is a complicated affair, this talk of balance (work, life, otherwise), that permeates the media and social awareness of so many women. Six months in, I have decided, not inconsequentially, to forge ahead with Girl Meets Dirt - to be a "working mother". We're taking the plunge and investing in our very own headquarters, complete with kitchen space, storage, office, and a small hub for retail, in order to grow the business. Life is already, and will continue to be, a very important part of this growth. We're put up shop right beside the headquarters of my husband's business. We're 'all-in', so to speak. Invested in ourselves, our family & this fine community we have been lucky to call home.
But balance? I am reminded of a conversation I had with a boss of mine many years ago. At the time it infuriated me, and buoyed me in my decision to leave the rat-race business I was steeped in. She was insistent that there was to be no concept of 'balance', as a working mother (having just had her first child around the age of 40). There was simply a pendulum, swinging from side to side - sometimes adding extra love and impetus to family, and other times, to that other mother, work. This conversation has stuck with me. I've mulled over it again and again, particularly as I face on my own, the challenges of being a working mother. And as it turns out, she was right. Right as day.
Though there has been many a day my son has watched me work at the computer from his laundry basket perch (playing with this toy, or that piece of paper, or his little hand), I haven't been fully with him during these times. That might be called balance. But for me, it's impossible. He is in everything that I do, everything that I make, everything that I write and say, and sell. But when work needs to be done, I need to focus. He needs someone else to care for him, to give him their full, undivided attention, to help him grow. And I need space. To let him sink in, to influence whatever it is I need to do that day. And I am most happy when the pendulum swings to him -- and I. The two of us, nursing, playing a game of patty-cake, practicing our crawl, babbling or singing 'Wild Thing' together. Does it make sense to say that I need that ever swinging pendulum to be able to fully appreciate these tender moments?
And yet there never seem to be enough of them. I am overwhelmed by how I can't stop and grasp them. I snap pictures, so many pictures, capture sounds, stop and relish. But being? Being. Here. Now. This is hard. Maybe it's a relic of my Wall Street days, but more likely it's a relic of my upbringing, of today. I don't want to miss a thing.
And the pendulum swings on.