After barely an hour of sleep, I saw the light come on in my daughters’ bathroom.
A few minutes later, “Mom, I threw up.”
I tucked her back into bed, but only another hour passed before the light came on again. I cleaned her up, grabbed my pillow and held her hand as I walked down the hallway to our guest room and we climbed into bed together.
Throughout the long and wakeful night, I thought about the trip I had planned this week.
I am speaking at a conference tomorrow, and I planned to leave early this afternoon, settle in, meet some friends, prepare for my session, and enjoy the beautiful hotel. Not only that, I planned to stay beyond my presentation to work from the hotel, meet some business contacts, and connect with other friends. I wanted to stay through the end of the conference to hear Whitney Johnson, a long time client and mentor to me, present the closing keynote.
This trip would have equaled two full days away from my family, two nights away: certainly not an unreasonable amount of time under usual circumstances.
But a child with the stomach flu is not usual circumstances, and I am making plans to shorten my trip, to leave later, to drive to the conference, to speak, and to return home as quickly as I can.
I have not read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, yet. My copy will likely arrive from Amazon this afternoon.
I’ll tell you now, I am predisposed to push back against her message.
While I am an ambitious woman, with dreams that I am moving toward daily, I choose to lean in to my family first.
I am the only mother my three daughters have.
I want them to understand that they are far more important to me than success or earning potential, that being present with them means more than growth in my business or meeting my financial goals for the first quarter.
My eight year old, flush with fever, needs ME far more than she needs me to be successful in my career.
She needs me to lean in to being with her: to clear my calendar so that I can sit nearby while she rests, so I can bring her water and snacks when she’s ready to eat.
I’m leaning into my role as a mother, a role that is primary for me in these years while my daughters are young. I chose to become a mother; I choose to put my role as a mother above my role as a business owner.
I’m leaning in to my most important priorities, these precious girls, these precious gifts.