1. “I’ll drive.” This is music to my ears because my car is full of stuffed animals and tupperware and you might find yourself akwardly siting on a pacifier.
2. You’re doing a great job.” I often feel my life is a tornado, and that I’m failing at everything rather than balancing anything. There’s no such thing as too much reassurance.
3. “We can do this meeting by phone,” or, “You can work from home.” Please and thank you. It means I can save precious time and spend more time with my offspring.
4. “Remember, your family comes first.” It seems so natural to assume we know this, but work — particularly leadership roles — come with a lot of pressure and expectations. Reminders of what really matters are a good thing.
5. “I know it’s hard.” I don’t want sympathy or special favors, but at a very basic human level it’s nice to know someone else recognizes the things you are juggling. If you’ve never worked while parenting a small human, I don’t know that there’s any way to fully explain the way things are sometimes just HARD, despite flexibility and support and good childcare. There’s an emotional tax on even the best situations, that sometimes just needs a pat on the back.