Let me explain, dear friend.
I hate having to explain because it reeks of apology. And apologies are so habit-forming. But I sort of want to explain because I don’t want you to feel hurt. You can imagine how the inner struggle! Anyone who knows me is aware, though, that I’m not an over-apologizer so I’m going to offer up this explanation to you:
You are someone I want to see.
I do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t initiate contact or when you reached out, I’d turn you down pretty quickly. But I do want to see you and that’s why I offer a date in the future. Yeah. I know, it’s maybe 3-4 weeks away. You likely feel surprised and put off. I don’t blame you. But here’s the thing. Here in the US, we don’t have full-day quality, free childcare for small kids. My daughter is not old enough for kindergarten. While my husband and I pay a considerable amount each month to have her in an extraordinary preschool, she’s there just four, half days a week. Most of the rest of the time she’s with me. I work and see friends like you (and head to anyone else like the doctor or hairdresser) when she’s at school and evenings when my husband is with her. My business and my personal life come after childcare and my husband’s career.
A bit about the business since you don’t work for yourself…as a newer, small business owner, I am the marketing, IT, PR and finance departments. I’m also the main creative, the only trainer, the careful administrative assistant, the eternal blogger, editor and the only community liaison. All of this (plus all individual and group client work) needs to fall within my 25ish hours a week at Outside The Mom Box.
So, you see I have a lot going on. Not more than you, perhaps. And my time isn’t more important than yours. This is all why, though, I can’t see you more immediately. Why I offer that lunch option three weeks away. I don’t have a hard time prioritizing; you are important. I teach clients how to weed through commitments or relationships that don’t work all the time so I’ve got that down. What I do have difficulty managing is the lack of support that our country gives to families so parents, especially moms, can be successful. That includes paid parental leave and sick days, early care and education, flexible work schedules. I shouldn’t have to say “it’s not me,” but I do because it sure looks like it’s me, doesn’t it? It’s no more “me”, however, than it is any other parent who is the primary caregiver in their family.
Until we live in a society where parents who provide the bulk of the childcare are valued equally, by helping moms like me with family-friendly social structures like early care and education, you might need to bear with me. At least for a few years, until my daughter is in Kindergarten. Oh wait, never mind. Nix that “few years,”, we’ll be in the same spot during the summer months.
Explanations are never good enough for anyone on the receiving end. But I don’t buy a “never complain, never explain,” attitude. Too many people are quiet when it matters. And you know me: seldom quiet when I “should” be. I deserve better and so do you. Can we get there together?