7th grade math is hard. No joke. I’m sure plenty of other parents are nodding your heads as you read this, affirming my declaration. I took a week off blogging last week because I simply ran out of steam.
It’s funny how some people think I must have a lot of free time now that I’ve stepped away from my career as a TV news anchor. Truth is, I’m busier now than ever before and the work I’m doing is far more intense and important than anything I’ve done yet. Yes, that includes 7th grade math. I jokingly refer to myself as “The CEO of Christian” when people ask what I’m doing these days. But really, it’s real. I spend his school hours being the CEO of my media company, 4Hearts Media. But when it’s time to pick him up from school, I’m all about him. He is my number one focus and the reason I chose to walk away from my TV career.
Being the mom to him now that I wasn’t able to be the last 12 years of his life is an eye-opening reminder of all I’ve missed and how much he has needed me. I am working to break habits that have been in place because there simply wasn’t an alternative. Think about it: I would see the kids in the morning before school and because I worked the night shift, I wouldn’t see them again until the next morning. If it were their dad’s days with them, I would drop them off at school on a Wednesday morning and wouldn’t see them again until the weekend. My daughter, I now realize, picked up a lot of the slack. I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if she weren’t that child-born-an-adult (joking, not joking). But that’s not my son. He needs systems. He needs guidance. He needs accountability and, he has needed me. He’s needed me to be exactly what I’m able to be now: the mom who can sit in triple-digit heat for back-to-back baseball games to cheer and support him; the mom who drives him to and from practice several times a week and will stay on top of his homework and help when I can – and even when I can’t. It’s a big enough change for both of us and comes with expected challenges. He’s had to get used to having me around all the time and at times tells me it’s just plain annoying. He’s tested me to the point where I’ve had to deliver consequences that while I know won’t sit well with him now – will only make him a better boy and eventually, a better man. He’s quickly learning that mom won’t back down, that mom is pretty relentless and — mom isn’t going anywhere.
My mom recently visited for a week and had to bite her tongue watching the power play happening between us. His response to one of our moments was, “Well you never made me do it before!” Rather than dismiss it, I chose to be honest and said, “That’s because I had no choice. I was at work. It was easier to just do it myself”. My mom’s reaction when he was out of earshot? “You have your work cut out for you.” On some days, that’s been true. But every day I see progress and I can say with joy in my heart, I’m seeing more of the progress and less of the ‘work’. I’m building trust where I’m now realizing, there should have been more. Choosing to be the CEO of Christian has been – and will be – my greatest work yet.