Birds were chirping, sun was shining. and the dog was asleep at my feet. I was approving contracts, serving customers, troubleshooting a new product feature and running reports. I was a mutli-tasking Grand Master yesterday. Nothing was getting in my way.
Except that I forgot to pick up my son at camp.
You would think that more than a month into the summer routine, I’d have this work-from-home/parent-as-chauffeur hybrid role down to a science. In prior weeks, I had set specific appointments in my work calendar, blocking out a half-hour window on the days that my wife works away from home so that I would not schedule anything to conflict with our youngest son’s camp pickup needs. I even set 5-minute popup reminders, so if I were distracted by a spreadsheet or a phone call, I still could not fail.
It was a system that worked to perfection for street hockey camp three weeks ago, soccer camp two weeks ago and basketball camp last week.
But the system only works when you employ it. For whatever reason, I did not set the appointments this week for baseball camp.
While yesterday was an especially productive and efficient Monday morning at the home office (boss is on vacation, so no conference calls to disrupt the rhythm), I failed at being Dad, my most important job. What’s worse is I did not even realize until I was already 20 minutes late.
The phone rang, and I did not recognize the number on the caller ID. I figured it was a customer service call. I answered in my most professional voice.
“Mr. Polay?” the caller asked
“I’m calling from the Bourne Braves camp….”
O. M. G. Red alert! Red alert! Commence blathering!
“I am so sorry….”
In the end, my bacon was saved by a mom who was headed our way from the camp and was happy to drop our son off at the house en route. Still, my Father of the Year nomination is likely being shelved.
It is the blessing and the curse of working from home. You try hard to be a good employee. You try even harder to be a good father. Sometimes, though, you fail at one or the other — or both.
Today is a new day, and a fresh chance to redeem myself. I’ll start with putting the camp appointments on my calendar.