I gave myself a time-out. No, I didn't throw a tantrum or dump my egg strips on the table. I decided to go to Chicago for a 2-day buisness trip, to learn but also to give myself a time-out from the rush-rush-rush of my daily duties.
I had a lot of time to think and do things for myself. Things that I wouldn't be able to do, say, if I had a 3-year-old in tow.
1. Food - At SFO, I went straight for the sushi bar. I picked up a pack of Raisinets before I boarded and ate the whole pack myself.
2. Literature - Instead of being immersed in stories about the Island of Sodor, I bought several trashy magazines (People, InStyle, etc.) to catch up on the latest gossip and celebrity fads.
3. Entertainment - I watched Devil Wears Prada on the plane. And in the hotel room, I watched a horrible Sunday night movie, "Murder in a College Town". Now I know what ex-Charlie's Angel, Kate Jackson, is up to - not much. Unfortunately, once I started watching I couldn't turn it off until I found out what happened at the end.
The business trip was for a Marketing to Moms conference. One of the presentations talked about how a lot of moms know what they do, but don't know who they are. I discussed this over lunch with a few other marketers, who also happened to be moms. We surmised that this maybe was a segment of moms of a different age and lifestlye, those who got married right out of school and had kids right away, never having a chance to do things just for themselves.
It's not that I love being a working mom all the time. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. For me, I need to work to be happy and feel well-rounded, but maybe not full-time. Most of the other working moms I know feel the same way.
I met all sorts of amazing people, mostly women, at the conference.
- Head of the "Mom Squad" at a large global ad agency. Basically, she managed a team of talented copywriters and ad directors who were moms, but wanted to work part-time. She was the face to the client that represented all these women and the work they did.
- Ellen Diamant, founder and designer for Skip Hop diaper bags. She quit her high-powered design career to design and sell these cool new diaper bags.
- Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of "Mommy Wars: Stay at Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families". She's a Harvard grad and Wharton MBA, writer for the Washington Post, touring author, and mother of three. She said that though there is tension between the working moms and full-time moms, she said that the inner-war and need for balance, the guilt of whether you're doing the right thing, is more pervasive. I would agree.
All of these women I met seemed to know exactly who they are and where they're headed. I know there are moms out there, who don't know who they are, but I guess I don't know any of them.
The women I met and talked with over lunch and dinner were all working moms. We all enjoyed the time-out we gave ourselves by coming to this conference, meeting new people, eating, talking, etc. But we also missed our families and looked forward to going home.