Over the weekend that was, I had to work.
Perhaps, in my twenties, when career projection was at the front and centre of my list of things to do, I wouldn’t have minded so much. I can tell you that I minded a lot when I had to spend the weekend away from my girls. I suppose any mother can relate, but for those who aren’t parents, please, allow me the opportunity to spell it out for you. Being away from your children, your babies, is the worst. It can sometimes even feel like a form of punishment. This is especially true when your children are still young. I already work really long hours and spend a far too much time away from my girls, but the weekends are supposed to be our time. When a “voluntary” conference takes up your whole weekend, it’s a gross injustice.
What makes it slightly better, the two-day function is to be held in one of those new-age type conference centres in Lorne, on the Great Ocean Road of all places. The two-hour car ride essentially eliminated all possibility of sneaking home for dinner to squeeze in a little quality family time. When I met with my boss to ask for a little special treatment given my family situation, I was told flatly that my presence was needed for both days.
I realise I’m making this out to be the worst thing in the world, so, in the interest of fairness, I should tell you plainly that i wasn’t. Again, if I was in my twenties, I would have relished the experience. The problem was that not even the luxury accommodation and the Great Ocean Road setting could assuage my sense of homesickness. All I wanted to do was run home. Even the highlights of the conference itself, the company triumphs that my hard work helped bring about, were curbed by that sense of longing to be with my family. If only I’d been allowed to bring my husband and kids with me. They would have adored Lorne and it’s stretch of gorgeous beaches as far as the eye can see.