Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Feb 2, 2010

Groundhog’s Day—The Working Mom’s Holiday

Guest Blogger Jeanne Brown is a Boston-based freelance writer and communications consultant. She is also a married mother of two who is trying to juggle it all—family, work, health, writing, volunteering and the rest of life. When she finds time, she blogs at http://dichotomom.blogspot.com/ or tweets at @JeanneBrown.

To many, February means Valentine’s Day, complete with romance, hearts and fluff. I say, down with that. We don’t need candy and we won’t wear lingerie.  Instead, we need a day that focuses on keeping us sane, not one that makes us insane.  Working mothers should unite. Let’s lobby Hallmark for a new February holiday, one that honors the cornerstones of any working mother’s life—routine, consistency, schedules and predictability. Up with Groundhog Day!

One of my favorite movie lines is from The Devil Wears Prada when Emily says "I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."  Right now I'm feeling kind of like Emily, except my life is not close to the high fashion scene and my stomach flu doesn’t end with me happily fitting into skinny jeans. I am a working mother. That means I’m just one stomach flu away from my finely crafted schedule getting flushed down the toilet.

There is a way my life is like a movie, though more like Groundhog Day than Prada.  In the 1993 film, Bill Murray plays a weatherman stuck in Punxsutawney, PA, and he relives Groundhog Day over and over and over again, until he finally gets it right.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get it right. Getting it done is good enough. And if I can manage to do it all—or most of it, anyway—with just a modicum of yelling, well that’s a great day. I get it when Bill Murray’s character Phil says, “It's the same thing your whole life: ‘Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever.’ Oh yeah: ‘Don't drive on the railroad track.’"

Because for me, it really is the same thing every day (minus the railroad track): wake-up, work out, get kids to school, work, pick up kids, drive kids to activities, cook dinner, play or read to kids, put kids to bed, check e-mail, fold laundry, fall into bed, do it over again. While each day has a sprinkling of variety (Tuesdays the kids are home early, Thursdays we have dance, basketball AND wrestling), it all follows the same exhausting rhythm.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. For the most part, I’m okay with the go-go-go pace and I’m not that different from a lot of other working parents. Besides, I’ve never really been one for drama, I like my schedule and I thrive on routine. Why shake things up?

But I am shaking it up. After fifteen years working in marketing/communications, I’ve decided to try a new career path. I’m early into it, but this change has required me to rethink my priorities and rejuggle my schedule. I’ve got to fit in 10 hours of studying a week, so right now, my routine is critical. A stomach flu would derail all that I have going.

So this February 2, celebrate Groundhog Day in style: Make a meatloaf. Watch The Biggest Loser. Fold some laundry. And give a great big cheer for the routine (and a silent prayer that everyone stays healthy.)

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger