Nose in the laptop
For my kids’ recent seven-week stint on the swim team I made work concessions so that I could stay for practices and watch. I did not want our youngest Benjamin, an inexperienced swimmer, to get in over his head (literally) in the deep end. My husband and I worked hard to have kids and are not interested in doing with one less!
Most parents did not stay at practice. Instead of spending several hours working in my home office, I compromised by having the pool serve as my satellite office. With my laptop in tow I would write and check emails with an eyeshot of Benjamin. It wasn’t ideal, but I felt Benjamin was safer with my presence.
However, there was an unanticipated downside to my strategy–I suspected my efficiency came off as unfriendliness. It was particularly awkward with one mom I was acquainted with from our parish. With her kids in t-ball, swim team, and Boy Scouts she was my shadow for the summer. While I always greeted her, I started to feel unfriendly by not visiting more with her as I pulled out the laptop and headsets. Yet, at the same time I felt tension and stress about my need to get my work done. I could have sat around and visited, but would have been up all night getting my work done that should have been accomplished during the day.
Yikes! I did not want to be aloof to this woman. But my conflicting priorities intersected. My multi-tasking was impersonal. I felt torn and uncomfortable. What’s a Catholic girl to do?
I concluded that at the next opportunity, I would make amends to this woman. I would not make amends for working, but for how it might have seemed unfriendly towards her. I would make sure she understood it was nothing personal.
The experience taught me that it’s fine to find creative solutions, but to never overlook the human dimension.
Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Always consider the impact on yourself and the people around you of the choices you make about getting work done.