When you meet a woman you know to be a mom, do you ask her how old her kids are? I know I have. I’ve just recently understood why. It is more than being polite. More than being curious. It is to understand her lifestyle.
Our schedule, our energy, and how we spend our weekends is largely determined by how old our kids are. Our lifestyle is a matter of age and stage. This goes beyond personal lifestyle – it also impacts whether we can run a business, and what sort of business what we can do. In the last couple of weeks I heard two different women say things which reinforced this for me.
First, I met with another woman in business for a casual coffee. She is launching a really interesting service and building the framework for her success. We were tossing around marketing ideas, and I heard her dismiss something because “that is tough for me now because of the kids.” Of course – the schedule and demands of young children make some strategies totally out of reach for moms in business. I remembered that the JK teacher for my first-born daughter hated me because I routinely brought her to school late on Friday mornings. It was the day I had a networking meeting, which had me racing from downtown to home to school all in rush hour traffic.
Second, I saw a dear friend post on Facebook that she is feeling fantastic because she has started to walk home from work. The exercise has improved her health and her sense of wellbeing, and she noted “it is so much easier now that my son is independent, and can be home after school for a short time by himself.”
How much time we have to take care of our health, our career, our business – even how we decorate our home – depends on the age and stage of our kids. Understanding all this, I try to have more patience when the teenagers pick on their little sister, or I step into the shower and crunch on a forgotten fairy doll. Everything will be different again in a year, two, four…until comes the time when I’m an empty nester with a whole lot of stories to tell.