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Who's Got Time to Give Thanks?

© 1999, by Lisa M. Roberts

Thanksgiving is next week and to be honest, gratitude is farthest from my mind. Instead of preparing for the holiday by revisiting history with my children, counting my blessings, and shopping for ingredients to make homemade pies, I am feeling squeezed by looming deadlines all around me. And the forces at play are naturally working against every work goal I make. It's EP life, yes, and it's the holiday season, yes, but it's stop and go so much so that I'm feeling car sickness at my desk! Is it just me? I wonder!
Someone somewhere should re-schedule American Education Week. A calendar jam-packed with classroom visit expectations was sent home last weekend. The principal says, "The number of diverse events is intended to simplify your life, not add stress," but the teacher says, "PLEASE have SOMEONE come in so your child is not all alone on this important day." Meanwhile my husband has been home with the flu for two days and has taken over our home office. His work commands two lines -- one to log on to his system at work and the other to conduct conference meetings at the same time. My hands are tied. It's very LOUD in the office. The laptop is broke. I'm writing this editorial with...and it does feel unnatural...a pen and lined the kitchen...with every door possible between here and there shut!
Once again, my own work agenda is pushed to the backburner. Is this fair? Well, yes. To put it bluntly, my husband's job pays the mortgage and mine doesn't. Who could argue with that? And if he's sick, he's sick, what can I do? Insist he head out anyway and catch pneumonia? And of course I'm happy to be there for my kids, attending class events vital to their sense of self -- it's why I chose the EP life in the first place!
Still, sometimes I feel like all forces are bent on foiling my professional goals. I really can't put the blame on family members -- they're just living day-to-day like the rest of us. Yet something, or someone, somewhere, is teasing me. Must be. Get this -- last week I practically jumped through hoops to have ONE day completely clear of domestic responsibilities. I drove 3 1/2 hours round trip to have my preschooler spend a few days at my mom's. The next morning, I arranged for my two boys to have after-school activities, and asked my daughter to stay at the library after school until I picked her up. My hope beyond all hope? To have a 9-5 work home. Wanna hear what happened? Guess. OK, I'll tell you. A phone call by noon from the school nurse. Pop. Pop. Pop. One more big bubble burst.
I know my family is on my side. My son, home sick on that 9-5 wannabe day, took a long quiet nap when he came home. My husband is at this moment -- after finally getting off his 3-hour conference call -- arranging to install a third phone line. My daughter waltzed in from middle school 20 minutes ago and all I had to say was, "Honey, Thomas is in the playroom, can you please...?" and was greeted with a smile and a "Sure, Mom."
So I started this editorial under complete durress and am ending it in total harmony. Gratitude is tip-toeing in closer and closer to my mind and heart. Like a lullaby, like a fairy spell, that someone, something, somewhere is lulling me to acceptance and peace. OK, the message is received. Keep the faith. Hold on. The holidays are family wants me to succeed...and this editorial is, despite forces to be, done. Maybe there's time to give thanks, after all.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, owner of The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC and the author of How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business (Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of her book are available for purchase at EP and through Amazon.

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