I try to "live the model," maintaining my own positive work-life balance, by not working between the hours of 3-6:30 pm. Instead I pick up where I left off after the boys are in bed. From 3-3:45 Anderson, our 1 1/2 year old, gets my undivided attention. Sometimes we go on a walk, other times we just roll around and play. 3:45 pick up the twins from the bus stop, then it's fast and furious through homework/dinner/bath/bedtime.
Wednesday, because my husband was home early enough for dinner and had things under control, I decided to break my cardinal rule of not answering the phone during dinner when I heard the tell-tale ring ring.
But it was my work line. And a new client. In a recession. What did I do? I picked up the phone.
I was in the middle of finalizing a great deal when I hear one of the twins screaming, from the shower, "fire emergency! Evacuate to our meeting place!" Wow, I think, he remembered what the firefighters taught him about a family meeting point, in our case, a neighbor's oak tree, in case of a fire evacuation. Then I think, wait, what's he talking about? Then I smell it, the unmistakable scent of burning plastic and metal. Next I hear my husband swooping in, running down the stairs, and at that point I say to the client, "I'm going to have to call you back."
Turns out I put the high chair tray on a stove top that was still on, causing a minor house fire. All went according to plan, the boys knew their role, Ben got the dripping burning plastic out the front door without having to use the fire extinguisher, and we commenced clean up right away.
Lesson learned? The client can wait 2 hours for a returned call, it wasn't life or death. Picking up the phone during dinner? That could've been.
Tell me your working mother horror stories. Come on, I know you've got 'em.