On Feeling Like a Grown-Up
Getting away (for work) can be a welcome change of pace.
All parents of young children know the feeling—that life revolves around night feedings, potty training, mediating sibling squabbles, daily chauffeuring to school/day care/soccer and endless loads of laundry.
Even if you work, there’s always the before and after—feeding them, getting them dressed, getting them where they need to be, picking them up from where they need to be, ad infinitum.
It can be hard to have a conversation that doesn’t somehow reference your offspring.
Occasionally, however, one gets to “slip the surly bonds of earth” (as well as the surly looks of children) and truly escape for a few hours. Tomorrow, I get to go to Chicago for the entire day, flying out at 7:35 a.m. and not returning for 12 whole hours.
It’s a conference for work. The speaker is supposed to be dynamic, and I’m sure I’ll return home full of ideas that will never get implemented because of a lack of time.
But, for those few hours, I get to be a grown-up. Not the kind of grown-up you have to be when you’re cleaning up the sheets a toddler just puked on, or the grown-up you have to be sitting at your desk paying the bills.
But a professional kind of grown-up, sitting in a meeting with peers networking and discussing the latest tips and tricks of the trade. Hearing new ideas and being able to actually spend time thinking about my job.
All the while knowing that the kids are doing just fine with my spouse in charge, albeit staying a little later at day care and the after-care program at school.
Tomorrow morning’s challenge won’t be what arguing over which color shirt to wear to school, but instead figuring out which color train will get me from Midway to the Kellogg School of Management. Tomorrow’s meal choices won’t involve picking a restaurant that’s sure to serve chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese.
Don’t get me wrong—I love my kids. All the work and worry that accompanies them is the trade-off for their impish grins and neck-bruising hugs. But occasionally, just occasionally, it’s nice to get away and think about something completely different. So, Chicago, here I come!