The Excel Spreadsheet That Changed My Life

When I worked in corporate America as a marketing director, putting together Excel spreadsheets was part of my job duties. I put together Project Lists to track our jobs in progress, Leads Lists of how many leads our marketing activities were generating and Advertising Reimbursement sheets that showed how many of our marketing activities were reimbursable by our manufacturers.

But there was one spreadsheet that only my eyes were privy to and that was the daily time sheet that I kept for myself. It was the document that essentially changed my life forever. It looked something like this.

Cheryl’s Daily Time Log

Commute Time To and From Babysitter: 1 Hour
Work Time: 8.5 hours
Getting Ready: 45 minutes
Sleeping: 7.5 hours
Eating/Meal Prep: 1.5 hours
Working Out: 0
Bathtime: .5 hours
Errands/Miscellaneous/Home: 2
Family/Child Time: 2.25 hours

Where you spend your time really is where you spend your life.

How could I even call myself a Mother when I was only with my three sweet babies for less than 2.25 hours a day. Less than 10%. If you divide the 2.25 hours by 3 (my number of kids) the most I could give each child was 45 minutes a day. How could I possibly be the biggest influence in their lives when all I had to offer them was a frazzled, rushing, irritable, screaming woman who only had time for maintenance tasks like eating, bathing and bedtime?

The real answer was this…I couldn’t.

No woman can. It’s impossible to be the best Mom you can be when you’re not there. It’s like being married but only seeing your husband on Saturday night. What kind of marriage would that possibly be?

Oh, I rationalized until I was blue in the face. We needed the money. I’d get behind in my profession. The kids needed socialization from day-care. I was on the fast career track. I could handle it. Did I mention we needed the money? But all the intelligent rationalizations of my mind couldn’t quiet the constant murmurings of my heart and my soul. They continually got louder and louder and the Daily Time Log didn’t help. It only confirmed what my heart knew.

In 1993 my soul was weary. My babies needed their Mother. I knew that no matter what the consequences…financial collapse, career derailment, personal unhappiness (you’ll notice I envisioned all the bad ones), I had to go home to my 3 babies ages 2, 4 and 7.

Without any transition plan whatsoever, I walked in and gave my boss his pink slip. I fired my boss. And the minute I did it I knew I’d made the right choice. Choosing home and family could never be wrong. Choosing to be 100% invested in my kids lives was so right, so real, so spiritual. Being a Mom is the most sacred job on earth.

I thank God for that spreadsheet. It told me the truth.


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