Each morning, my 4 year old goes to preschool, followed by daycare for a few hours in the afternoon. During this time, I answer email in sweats, process orders to customers from my warehouse (the garage), and know both the UPS guy and my postal carrier on a first name basis. I am the founder and owner of Sunrise Imports, making decisions and taking care of every detail required of running a small business. And I love it! However, on a recent Tuesday, there was a glitch in my plan.
The previous night, my daughter had a temperature of 101 degrees and didn�t sleep much, which means I didn�t sleep much. Instead it was children�s Tylenol, damp washcloths and lots of comforting hugs all night long. When 6 am rolled around, miraculously she was awake, alert and ready to watch her favorite DVD, �The Wizard of Oz� for the twenty-second time that week. All I cared about was who would make coffee. By 7 am though, her fever had returned and she was curled up on the floor with Clifford, her stuffed red dog, and her favorite fuzzy blanket, hardly noticing that the Wicked Witch was melting. Obviously, this little person I brought into the world, needed to be with her Mommy today. Shouldn�t be a big deal, right? She can rest, watch t.v., draw and recuperate, and I can get a few things done in the office in between. (Insert chuckles here) I�m sure you know how the day turned out, especially if you're a parent. But for kicks, I'll give you the gorey details anyway.
The day was all about eating, playing, resting and watching t.v., unfortunately I forgot to factor in the part about a 4 year olds not wanting to do these things alone. She wanted mom�s attention and reassurance every minute of every hour. Each time I�d try to sneak off to the office to check my email, she�d hunt me down then pull on my arm to come play with her. She wanted to do puzzles, draw with me, play hair salon, have a tea party - all the usual things little girls like to do. The psychological battle in my head began and it was torture. Was it more important to take on the role of entrepreneur or Mom today? Of course Mom won out, so we played. We played Chutes and Ladders, Ants in the Pants, did puzzles and painted pictures of rainbows. We ate soup while watching Dorothy and Toto follow the yellow brick road. We even had a tea party complete with 16 of our closest (stuffed) friends. It was a lovely diversion from the real world for this 42-year-old, until... the business phone rang. Back to reality, I quickly reminded my daughter of the rules when Mommy�s on the telephone. Then I ran into the office, mustered up my best professional voice, and answered with confidence. An event planner had questions about making a large gift purchase for a corporate client. A minute or two into the conversation, I could hear a certain little person at the door yelling for Mommy. I became distracted and knew it would only get worse, so I took the customer�s number and decided to call her back after I returned my child to sick bay.
Still in our jammies, we went back into the living room and had a chat about Mommy�s work. Reasoning with a 4-year-old, hmmmm. Perhaps a bribe would work better. I made a deal with ice cream as the pay off. She took the bait and I went off to the back bedroom to make my call. Two minutes into the call, a knocking at the door. I fled to the bathroom which was further away from the bedroom door, hoping the customer wouldn�t hear any of the commotion. My little monster, er, daughter got louder. Knocking and calling my name turned into banging and screaming. I finished up the call and hung up. For just a brief moment, I nearly burst into tears. Was this my life? Barricaded in the bathroom to make a phone call? Forced to do business using the toilet lid as my desk and the floor as my chair? Hiding from my child who was ready to break down the door just to be near me? If it wasn�t so ridiculous, it would be comical. I smiled. Then I laughed. When I finally came out of the bathroom and opened the bedroom door, I was greeted with a big hug and a smile.
A little while later, we ate bowls of mint chocolate chip ice cream while watching the tin man sing �If I only had a heart�. Mom and daughter got to share quality time, and the entrepreneur took a much needed afternoon off. Apparently everyone was a winner that day.
Sheila Hull-Summers is the owner of Sunrise Imports, a web retailer specializing in unique home & garden decor and handcrafted gifts from Latin America and the United States.