Make Your Own Rules

06.07.20 05:03 PM Comment(s) By Adrienne Towsen

What mattered most when my kids were young...

       I always wanted to feel like I was a part of their day...even on days when I didn't see them. The hours I keep as a surgeon include early mornings, occasional late nights and some weekends as well. It was not uncommon for me to leave for work before my daughters were awake, and at times they would already be asleep by the time I got home. It was hard for me when that happened, but I still made sure I was always present in some way. As soon as they were school age, I began making their lunches. I did this every day until they graduated high school unless I happened to be out of town. Since my younger daughter graduated this year, I have now made my last school lunch... the sad part is, due to the pandemic and the way the school year ended, I didn't even realize I was making the last school lunch forever on that day.  This was one of my rules that always made me feel connected to them. 

     Another rule I made very early on was that I would never be away from my daughters for more than three days at a time. Part of my work includes continuing medical education courses which can involve travel. If I had to be away for more than three days, the girls and my mom would come with me. If I was going to a fun location, we would try to turn it into a mini-vacation. When it was a quick trip and I went alone, we would talk every morning and every evening without fail and I would always bring them a souvenir (often purchased in an airport gift shop).

    On those days when I would leave for work early, I would always have a good morning call to them as well. We picked a time when I knew I would not be disrupting the getting ready routine, even it had to be while my mom was driving them to school. A few minutes was all I needed to say " I love you and have a good day". Once my older daughter went off to college in Boston, the rule became a talk/text ( more often text😉) every day so I would know she was safe. 

    No more school lunches to make and come September both of my kids will be living away from home. Now it is  weeks at a time when I may not see them, but I can keep my one rule in place and stay connected and present with both of them. We will connect at least once a day via text, call or FaceTime and I can be sure that my girls are okay. So my advice is to find a few "rules" that work for you and don't break them. They can be the simplest things, but as I look back on the rules I followed I am confident they helped me be a better working mom.


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