This is brought to you by my very first accountant in my past life as a business owner. I feel like I just finished a three week vacation, at home. My boys were here. For one glorious week we were all together. One had to go back to work, but the other two were able to stay longer – three weeks in total.
Back to my accountant, Phyllis. She gave me probably the best advice I received as a business owner and a new mom: when you have to choose, always err on the side of your child. Her words were sort of an everyday version of the quote attributed to Harold Kushner: “No one ever said on his deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.” Make room for your family to win.
When my boys were little and I worked from home, I did my best to honor their requests. When they were in school, I still structured my business life around them. I managed to be room mom every year and attended almost every field trip. Before they reached middle school, I “retired” to be sure I was home when they walked through that door after school. I instinctively knew those first fifteen minutes were the most important. If they had something to say, that’s when it usually got said. I made sure I was mentally present as well as physically there.
Once the last one got his driver’s license, things shifted again. After school no longer mattered. Instead, it was waiting for them to get home when they went out with friends. And setting my work aside (or just the normal house-related tasks) when invited to sit and watch a movie.
Weekend togetherness disappeared when they all went off to college. Time was then relegated (and limited to) holidays and summers (and even summers disappeared as the first two “launched” and got responsible jobs).
My last is a junior in college. He has one summer left and he already has plans that don’t include living at home. These past three weeks were amazing and mundane and bittersweet. And I happily savored every moment.
Thank you, Phyllis for that sage advice twenty five years ago. You’ve influenced me greatly and benefited my boys in ways I’m sure we’ll never be able to measure. I’ll credit myself for being smart enough to listen.
And now it’s time to get back to work. To continue from where I left off. Although I remain ready to set it all aside when one of them needs me and celebrate on the occasions they come home.
How has the time you’ve spent at work shifted over the years? Either because of your family or your own personal desires? I’d love to know below.
P.S. You’ve landed on my new website. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s easier to navigate and highlights my new logo. Take a look around. I’d love to know what you think.