I’ve always been a working mom, and at times it has been incredibly trying to juggle all of the demands of my life. When my daughter was a toddler, she’d often ask me why I couldn’t stay at home with her. “I don’t want to go to school. I want to be with you!”
Her protests would break my heart, but I was confident that going to work was the right decision for me, and for our family. I just hoped I’d find strategies to make it easier.
In those early years I had a really stressful job and on most mornings I’d be racing around our house getting dressed, rushing through breakfast, and trying to get out the door to make it to my first meeting on time. My little one would look up at me with her big brown eyes and ask why I had to leave so soon.
“Mommy has another coffee meeting,” I’d respond, kissing her rosy cheek and giving her a reassuring smile.
One morning my daughter gave me a very stern look and in a loud voice shouted, “I want a coffee meeting with you!”
That demand made me stop in my tracks. My two-year old had no idea what a coffee meeting was, but she knew that it must be important – and she was missing out.
So from that moment on, we began scheduling regular “coffee meetings”. They are on my calendar, highlighted in my daughter’s favorite color. They are never cancelled or rescheduled. Hand in hand we head to a neighborhood cafe before school, on a vacation day, or after a ballet lesson. I usually order an almond milk latte while my daughter gets a flavored steamer. We sit for an hour or so, talking about our favorite things and making plans for the future. Sometimes we color or read together, play My Little Pony, or explore a book store. Our meetings focus on the important work of childhood.
Having these special moments with my daughter is something that I cherish. It has definitely helped me find more balance in my life. Now my daughter is fine when I say Mommy has another coffee meeting, because she gets coffee meetings, too.