Soon after my son was born, I had this overwhelming desire to get back to work. I think part of it stemmed from the love of my job and part of it stemmed from wanting and needing to contribute financially to my family. Regardless, the desire was there and I dove in head first.
My husband, Erik, and I discussed my decision at length and he could tell right away that there was no stopping me. He was in his last few years of ski racing and had his sights set on standing atop the podium, winning his first World Cup. He had given up all of his contracts to ski on the best skis possible which I felt was beyond admirable. I took it as a time for me to step up and pay some bills.
My first job back was with the NFL Players Association. Spider was about 4 months old and Skye was a few days shy of 2. Life was hectic at that stage but I remember loving every second of my time with them. They came with me to Washington DC and my dad came along to help. (It really does take a village) That trip was just the beginning, Spider and Skye logged so many miles with me that Spring and Summer, they earned a few free tickets on Delta. We shot a commercial for the 2008 Olympics, we went to Omaha for the US Olympic Swimming Trials. On each trip I somehow convinced a family member to join me and we soaked up our time together.
In Dec, Erik decided to retire from ski racing. He was 36 and it had been his career since the age of 16. Twenty years on the US Ski Team, 3 Olympic Games and countless World Championships. Going from a full time professional athlete to a full time daddy was a bit of an adjustment. We worked through a ton over the next 2 years to where we are at today. Lots of conversation about teamwork in parenting and I am proud to say it has paid off big time.
Both my husband and I are working parents. One person's career is not more important than the other and we stopped keeping score long ago….that NEVER gets you anywhere. We broke it down to it's simplest form….We want to raise happy, healthy, loving and respectful kids. The key word being, WE! Therefore we both step up big time when the other person is gone or in major work mode.
I am still traveling quite a bit (averaging about 3 days every 2 weeks) and get to take the kids every now and then. But when I don't, I know that I have my other half at home who is thrilled to be their rock. There was a time when I would give my husband my schedule and he was less than enthusiastic but now, he gets it and rises to the challenge. Although I miss my family big time, I don't apologize anymore for being gone, it is a part of our system. One thing we try to do consistently is thank each other for all they do…because we both know, first hand, how much effort it takes. Teamwork parenting has made our marriage so much stronger, words cannot describe it properly.
Right now I am in Bentonville, AR while my kids are at home with their daddy. I told them last night that I was going to be gone for a couple of days and they said, "Who will be watching us?" I said, "Daddy!" Their faces lit up!