I got to work this morning early, as is usual on Thursdays, so that I could leave at 430 to make it to Diva's dance class. Today wasn't any regular day though, it was dance recital picture day. Even better, I was missing an element of the costume, pink tap shoes, which were sold out all over town. The solution to this problem is a special can of dance shoe spray paint, which you can purchase for $6.95 to spray paint your otherwise perfectly nice shiny tap shoes, until they drip and are chipped and tacky looking.
I realized too late, that in my rush to leave in the morning, I had forgotten to grab the makeup bag with blush, lipstick and mascara for Diva. I know this sounds weird for a five year old, but if you have taken dance pictures you know the drill. They like for the kids to have a little blush, lipstick and mascara for pictures and recital, otherwise they tend to look washed out with the bright lights and costumes. I left a message for UberGeek and asked him to dump every last piece of my makeup and brushes into a Ziploc when he ran by home before picking up the kids. Then I would meet him at the dance studio.
Around lunchtime I drove over to the dance supply store to purchase the paint; while I was there the salesperson also sold me a device guaranteed to make Diva's hair into a perfect bun for $6.95. This is probably a lesser cost than the five cards of bobby pins and eight cans of hairspray it took last year to make the perfect bun so I bought it. Then I headed back to the office, found an old pizza box and spray painted the shoes in the hallway on top of the box. They didn't look great, but passable. Then the afternoon was a blur of meetings and a last minute user issue before I extricated myself ten minutes behind schedule.
By the time I met up with UberGeek and the kids in the parking lot of the dance studio, we were behind the eight ball and my anxiety level was rising. Children were everywhere, perfectly shellacked, groomed and made up, and my child did not even have her costume on. We put her dress on in the minivan and then I got out the perfect bun device. Fifteen minutes later and not only was there no bun, but I absolutely could not figure out from the diagram on the card that came with the device, how to replicate what the sales person showed me in the store. I grabbed Diva by the hand, dragged her toward the dance supply store (conveniently located next to the studio for your spending pleasure, don't you know) and begged them for help. By then I was near tears, blathering on as to how I couldn't figure it out, the salesperson at the other store promised a perfect bun, why do they have these classes at 5:30, don't they understand that some parents work and how are we supposed to get our kids ready and to a picture session in hair and makeup at 5:30. Diva remained calm and quiet, thankfully I can't remember her expression because most of the time she was facing away from me while I wrenched and grasped at her hair in vain.
To their credit, both women in the store were helpful and sympathetic, taking Diva and I to a woman who immediately fixed her hair up with the biggest can of Aqua Net I have ever seen and an even bigger smile. Her hair was perfect and we headed back to the dance studio. All of the other little girls had on sweet pink blush and a touch of lipstick, some had light color eyeshadow as well. I didn't have time for eye shadow and UberGeek had somehow missed both the powder and creme blush. I settled on some lipstick I quickly dug out from the bottom of the Ziploc and a quick coat of mascara.
I chatted with my other mom friends and watched their daughters have pictures taken and all I could think of was that I should have been able to have my daughter ready in time. My daughter should have had makeup just as beautiful as theirs. Diva certainly will never know the internal anguish I suffered today; she was oblivious.
It's not that I don't enjoy having a career, I do. When my children were infants I worked as a contractor or adjunct faculty at least part time as soon as they were a couple months old. Then I eased back into a salaried part time position and then a salaried full time position. I've always really enjoyed and received satisfaction from having a rewarding career. I just wish there was some way to make it easier to juggle having a family and a career at the same time.
How do you juggle family and career commitments? What do you think about the new government initiatives encouraging Workplace Flexibility? Do you ever, or how often do you feel guilty about juggling your family and your career?