Recently, I have been researching hybrid cars and thinking about fuel sources and emissions.
I was given a demonstration of how hybrid technology works by the salesman working with me, and I marveled at how smart this technology is. Basically, the gas engine charges the electric battery, and when you are stopped, the gas-fueled engine turns off and the car just uses the battery. This explains why hybrids are so quiet in parking lots. When only using the battery and no gasoline to move your vehicle, your gas mileage increases. When the battery is low, the combustible engine fires and starts to recharge the battery while also running the car.
As I pondered this, my son was in his last week of school before summer break. And then we began the juggling game of play dates, camps, errands, learning activities, downtime, and time for me to focus on my clients.
I began to think that if I could use time like hybrid technology, then I could possibly do it all—and do it well. I began equating the gas engine to all the tasks required of a full time mom and business owner, and the battery to how I was going to keep them all charged.
I started to do mini experiments:
If I go for a bike ride with my son, does this break refuel us for an hour or so of time apart for him to play on his own and for me to concentrate on my business? My conclusion was it did.
If I arrange a play date for him and transportation back and forth, does that time allow me time to squeeze in errands alone? Yes, it does!
If I try to schedule follow-up client visits during his camp and see new clients at night when I have more time, can I still be the professional I desire to be? Definitely.
So, I am a hybrid mom with a calendar packed with colors that represent all the aspects of my life I plan for on a daily basis.
But am I doing it all well? That is another story.
Hybrid technology is a balance between two old technologies working together towards the same end, as opposed to the engine firing in one area and the battery another. They are working in synergy to meet the goal of running the car, instead of despite one another. This is similar to the difference in play as children age, toddlers play next to one another and preschoolers with one another.
I am still searching for the synergy in my day, when everything works towards one end goal together. As a parent, many times our goal is just to get through the day. But, as I parent an impressionable person that I only get one opportunity to parent, I am constantly pulling myself away from and back towards myself— and my ambitions.
I love what I do for a living. I love how I do it. I love what I have created and I love the legacy I am leaving for my family after I am gone. This is really hard for me to give up, if only for a few hours a day, but every day.
I can admit it now five years into parenting, that just parenting is not enough for me. My son is one of my favorite people on this planet, and raising him well is always in my to-do list for the day, but how do I parent him while fulfilling my own personal goals? I feel this is the quintessential struggle throughout parenting, until they are gone and you are left wondering how to fill your time.
So, hybrid parenting is a work in progress. It is imperfect, uncomfortable, and unpredictable. But, I feel deep down it is what we are all doing. If we work full time, part time, or only in the home—no one is the perfect parent.