10/10/2012 01:20 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2012

Balancing Work and Motherhood

Every woman I know who has a job and is a parent has to deal every day with making enough time for both. I never really am able to do it. I just keep stealing from one part of my life to give to the other. (I figure by the time my daughter is in college, I'll be caught up.) Balancing it all is definitely one of the biggest sources of stress in my life, and one way I deal with stress is to write about it. Here's my song of Balancing Work and Motherhood. I'd love to know if you find something of yourself in my experiences.


Balancing Work and Motherhood

The journalist asks me, "How do you do it?"
My answer is "Not very well."
Each day is different
And when I think I've found a rhythm
All the plans I've devised
And so carefully scheduled
Get all shot to hell.

So I'll take a taxi,
'Cause I might get there faster
But the subway would cost me much less. . .
Ugh, the trains are delayed!
Now what if there's traffic?
Either way, half my days
Are spent out of breath

Running from one thing
Late to another
Looked away for two minutes, and now there's a line!
Forgot to bring lunch again
(Mine, not hers)
Slow down, slow down
Slow down
I'll get there
Just not on time.

Talking with Brian
And planning for sitters
Who's home today,
You or me?
That feeling of panic
That hits when I think,
"I forgot to make sure she was free."

All my years of therapy
And yet I still cling
To the guilt I feel when I'm not there.
It's such a cliché but I find myself thinking,
"I wish I'd been born as a pair."

In some ways it's easier now than it was
Lucy's used to me coming and going.
She's older, has friends, even tells me
"Get out Mom!" but each time it's hard for me
That I'll miss some of what she was feeling that day
And I'll miss hanging out with her too.

Time moves so fast (oy, another cliché!)
And there's only so much I can do.

I run my own business.
I'm both artist and boss,
But pretend I'm a mom who stays home.
Then I'm gone on the weekends
Or when we're together
Spend less time with her than my phone.

So I accept from a colleague
A derisive laugh when I say,
"Sorry, I can't make it then."
Because I'm picking her up,
There's a potluck, class play
Or perhaps there's just no school... again.

And I get to spend time with her
We read on the couch
Her body all snuggled with mine.
I breathe her in deeply
So I won't forget
Just how good that feels
Every time.

(Then I notice that I have a pile of new messages and texts and I haven't made dinner or taken
the dog out. When did it get to be 6:30 p.m.? When did she turn 8 years old?)

So I stay up too late
Doing work, sending email
I'm addicted to "just one more thing..."
I haven't yet found
A different way, a better way
Or just a way
To fit everything in

I spent all that time getting ready for birth
And I think of my good friend, who said,
"Remember Laurie, this is just the curtain rising,
The real show is what lies ahead."

Ok, so there's no rehearsal for life
(But I'd hoped as a parent things that I've learned would help)
And they certainly sometimes do.
Yet often I catch myself being the child,
'Cause I still want to be mothered too.

Laurie will release her first Christmas album, "A Laurie Berkner Christmas" on October 30th as well as a NOOK ebook, "Candy Cane Jane."