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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day, 2017!

While part of me automatically dismisses "made-up holidays", I haven't found a strong enough reason not to get swept up in the celebrations that kids put together for Mother's Day.

Of course, every day is Mother's Day and Father's Day,  Grandma's Day and Grandpa's Day,  Daughter's Day and Son's Day,  Brother's Day and Sister's Day... And, not all of us can make every day special for all those someones we care deeply about.

Being a staunch Wish List advocate, we've always kept a running wish list for each of us, kids included. Some of the items, we have to work for it ourselves, and some of it can be given to us by others. Oddly enough, most of my wish list items turn out to be generally for the family, not just exclusively for me... every once in a while, I'll have a camera accessory or car accessory or a garden accessory on the wish list that nobody else cares about, and feel extremely thrilled when I get it as a gift exclusively for me.

I am rambling already....

Speaking of Mother's day, the kids declared; "Mama, you like hikes, so, for Mother's Day, that's what you are getting as your present."

So we went hiking, on a trail that was quite deserted but for small game, and drank in the beauty of nature and its wildlife.

The best part for me is, kids hang out with the dad on the trail, and I get to walk at my pace, stopping for pictures, letting my thoughts wander and generally trying to let go of the constant stress I feel to balance everything I am juggling.

One of the thoughts that nagged me throughout this walk, no matter how hard I tried to push it away, is this ever-present one: Why can't we as a society find a better balance for raising families in a constructive and positive way, while allowing for parents to pursue their professional careers with all the support they need.

For example, trendy companies offer dog room and gym and cafeteria and other comforts for their employees. In my Utopia, these companies will also offer Montessori-based childcare for K-12! 

The biggest struggle that we face as working parents is to find a safe place for kids to be when we are not with them as we are pursuing our own professionally fulfilling lives outside of domestic environment.

School of course is only 9 to 3 in my district, with 1-hour late start on Wednesdays. 

As employees, we owe it to our employers to honor our commitment of not just x hours of work, but our commitment to high quality of productive and efficient contribution.

The other adult and I are constantly facing the challenge of being in two places at once: be at the office to interface with our teams and have interpersonal interactions that foster team spirit for the standard office hours, and at the same time, find a way to be there for the kids so they are not latchkey kids.

And, understandably, this thought has begun to nag me even more now that nearly 12 weeks of Summer holidays are looming large on the horizon. Not all kids are wired to attend summer camps; and even if they are, not all parents can juggle the logistics of dropping them off and picking them up at odd hours, while still trying to be at their jobs that will help pay for these expensive summer camps.

Agreed, some of us are lucky to have employers who support flexible schedules as long as employees can be productive contributors. Some of our jobs permit telecommuting and helps us collaborate with our team via advanced technology, while managing our kids' summer break somehow. But what about those others who have no flexibility? 

Anyway, I am rambling again... If there was an easy solution, we wouldn't be where we are now...

Back to Mother's Day, where I started: I was grateful to savor the made-from-scratch  "Mama's Special" Pizza that the other adult is well-known for. So, what's in Mama's Special: Eggplant, kale, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, feta. Not much mozzarella or cheddar as Mama does not like pizzas smothered in cheese. And it is fairly thin crust. And the sauce is home-made to Mama's liking with just the right touch of home-garden oregano. And, best of all, it is not made by Mama!

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