It was just over a month ago that my 5-year-old daughter’s Purim play took place on a Tuesday.
Tuesday, in my world, is production day. That means from when I get in that morning until I go home, usually very late that evening, I am reading and editing pages, finalizing story lists, determining the paper’s order, etc.
It’s my busiest day of the week, and I try never to be out of the office.
That morning, I was talking with my husband and noted I would be missing an hour of work to watch Netanya’s show. “You are taking time off on a Tuesday?” he said, more shocked than I about the decision.
“No one will remember this or that article I wrote in a decade,” I said. “Netanya will always remember that I was in the audience, cheering her on.”
It’s not that I don’t think what I do is important; I wouldn’t work as hard as I do if I didn’t love my career and my company. But I recognize that while I could effect change through the words I pen (or type) for this paper, I am molding an entire world in each of my children.
Parenting is harder than work, that’s for sure. Forget the nights of waking children, nursing babies, cleaning vomit (spilled milk, mud stains, clutter … boo-boos). That’s just maintenance.
The challenge is setting a good example even when you are so tired you really just want to skip brushing your own teeth and crawl into bed in your clothes. It’s tough not to scream when a car cuts you off, to hold your tongue when Grandpa says something so annoying that … (this is not the platform), and it’s almost brutal to say, “that’s lovely” when your child has shown you 503 pictures in the last 503 minutes and you are trying to do something else.
You have to be on at work all day. When you have children, you have to be on at home, too. I try. I don’t always succeed.
Sometimes I let them eat frozen yogurt for dinner because I don’t feel like cooking. Occasionally, I say, “Skip your bath,” and then just tie up my 2-year-old daughter’s hair in the morning. There have even been times when I’ve stood in the middle of the room and screamed in total and utter frustration, only for Shlomo, 9, to stare at me with his puppy-dog eyes and tiptoe over. “It’s OK, Mom,” he says. “Do you want a hug? I love you.”
I know he does. It melts me 100 percent of the time.
I know my children know I love them, too.
I believe the kids respect that I work hard, and that teaches them the importance of doing so. I hope they’ll forgive some less-than-stellar lunches for my hugs, kisses and 504th “that’s lovely.” And I assume that as long as their teeth don’t fall out, it will be OK if they don’t brush one night. When they think back, they won’t remember the mouthwash, they’ll remember snuggling in bed, reading together.
Netanya was thrilled I attended her Purim production; she rubbed it into her older brother a dozen times: “Mommy came to my school!”
That’s right! She should feel good about it. On that Tuesday, Netanya was more important than anything (or anyone) else.