Because we are all of the same gender, there are common excuses that are acceptable under any circumstances. Having to leave early because of a nail appointment or spa treatment is perfectly acceptable. Sick children, visiting in-laws, cramps or a great sale at Macy’s will also never get you fired.
Our work days usually revolve around food and typical staff meetings start with lattes, baked goods and gossip. Everyone looks forward to lunch where it’s not uncommon for one of the ladies to experiment with a new dish, preferably low-cal and 15 minutes from oven to table.
We have an unusual agenda for meeting, but it serves us well. First items on our to-do list are the complaints. Husbands, then children, then how poorly we’re treated by our husbands and children. Apparently they don’t appreciate the fact that we have given up . . . things for them. But the point is that we girls have each other’s backs. With the exception of Leigha, our newest and youngest member who is still in the “honeymoon” phase of her relationship, we all rise and fall with our comrades regarding their marital woes and home life.
“Dave was a jerk last night,” Mary mentioned at our last meeting.
“Oh, my God, again?” Dawn commented while pouring her third cup of java. “What is with him?” She took a tentative sip from her cup. “By the way, love your earrings.”
“Thanks,” Mary smiled as she tossed her head back. “It’s probably just manopause,” she added, basking in the love and glory we showered upon her. Real friends don’t need to question why. If Mary says Dave was a jerk, then Dave was a jerk and support is garnered. We all commented on Dave’s jerkiness and offered hope that he could turn himself around before he pushed Mary too far.
“Kids caught a flu bug yesterday,” Kristyn said as she set up her laptop. “Both of them sick as a dog last night.”
“That stinks,” Janet offered as she reached for a doughnut.
“Take two,” I whispered, “They’re small. And you look so thin.”
Janet thanked me with her eyes. “Vomit?” she asked Kristyn.
“All over the bathroom floor.” Again, as a group we all sympathized with her particular plight and wished we had a nickel for every time a kid (or in my case, a husband) couldn’t quite make it to the toilet.
“My John is so sweet,” Leigha announced unexpectedly. “Last night he brought me dessert. In bed.”
Everyone stopped talking. Eye rolling is only intended for those who are not present so we all nodded pleasantly and mumbled “that’s nice” while looking away. No one wanted to be the bearer of bad news so we let poor Leigha live in her little fantasy world. It would end soon enough as we all knew – no need to crush her dreams just yet.
“Okay, gals,” I tapped the table with my nail file. “Time to get to work. There’ll be plenty of time to get Rachel’s recipe for goat cheese dip and to discuss the PTA and the crazy new president they just voted in.” I heard the click of the keyboard as the women started making notes. “Kristyn, can you review our strategic business plan for this month and then let’s discuss how to hold on to that 15% increase we saw in revenues last quarter.”
Dawn raised her hand. “Quick question.”
“Shoot,” I said.
“Does anyone know how to remove urine stains from a car seat? Shiloh had an accident on the way to the vet yesterday.”
So our meeting was delayed a few more minutes by a discussion about dog urine and whether or not bleach is the answer. But there comes a time when we know we have to get back to business. It’s tough though, the lines have blurred between family and work, and friends and employees, especially when you work out of your home. But being able to multi-task is essential – if you can brush your teeth while typing an email, you’re good. Throw in waiting on the phone to speak to a teacher and you’re executive material.
What makes it all worth it though, are the relationships we have and we build. I continue to be impressed by the women (and man) that I work with – their integrity, talent and heart continually inspire me.
Life is good.