Work life balance is a hot topic but I think prioritizing that balance is important. It is hard to do. I know it all too well. It was December a few years back and I found myself in the middle of planning our local community holiday event.  Some how in a moment of insanity, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up to bring 100 (yes 100 cups) of hot chocolate to the park for the holiday festivities. When I came home from the meeting and told the kids we were going to make and bring the hot cocoa it was like we won the lottery. “Mom, Mom, can we get marshmallows, can we make a hot cocoa toppings bar, mom, can I stir it? …. Mom can I be in charge of giving it out?”  The kid’s eyes lit up and I could literally see balloons above their heads as they planned out this magical assignment in their head.

Now here’s the news flash, I am horrible at anything in the kitchen. I try I really do but it never turns out well. I fly by the seat of my pants at home. I have to, it’s a survival mechanism. I work in large company in a national role. I overcommit myself all the time : work, school, neighbors, you get the picture. Some people say one day at a time, I am operating some days at one hour at a time. I can only address what is in front of me for that one hour because I focus, I do it well and can’t think of anything outside it or it will take three hours and I won’t be having inefficiency.

In the meantime, I head to the store. I am on budget due to the community funding and I am advised to get a can of mix and paper cups. What was I thinking? No idea. Don’t have time to think, the phone rings. It’s work.  ” Andrea, we are days away from closing the first half of the year. We have this $1m deal on the table but there is one sticking point on compliance. They need an expert in compliance and then I remembered you could do this! YOU did it before. We NEED you. Is there anyway you could take this call with the customer and help close this deal?” I am in sales so I how could I say anything but yes.  At that very moment, it never occurred to me that these two things would collide but believe you me, I should have seen it coming. It’s like a cheezy sitcom and I am George Costanza.

Long story short, I am enthralled on these calls for days talking thru every detail. Hearing every concern and trying to address it. In the meantime, I have a stove with four huge pots on it, boiling water. Kids jumping around, so pumped to bring the hot cocoa.”Mom, can I stir it?” Trying to find a way to transport it. Another call comes in, checking the status of the deal. I have a piece of paper and I am doing a math calculation to see how much cocoa mix to add. In the moment of insanity, I stopped for one minute and thought… at this very moment in my life 100 cups of cocoa is the same value and priority to me as a $1m deal, how does that happen? I am trying to please my children.  I want to make fun memories and my best memories as a kid were everything that had to do with the neighborhood I grew up in. I want to close the deal, do my job well and get paid obviously. In the end, it worked out in my favor but it was very stressful. Hot cocoa was served and if I am being honest it was a little on the watery side, deal was signed and there was a important lesson learned for me.

My buzz worthy lesson: Prioritize and balance. Placing an order at Dunkin and paying out of my own pocket would have been much easier. Next year sign up for collecting donations but don’t give up on your dreams of making fun memories and doing your job well. Ask others for help. If my work role was held by a man, he simply would have taken the call and told his wife to take care of the hot cocoa. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You can have both a career and a family, you just need to get creative and never forget to laugh along the way. #workingmomproblems