The Simple Work-Life Lesson I Discovered in the Delivery Room

The phone at my office rang at 10:30 AM.  It was my wife Sherri.   Her words were short and filled with emotion.

“The doctor wants me to check into the hospital.  They said we’re going to have this baby tonight.”

The commander in me instantly took over as I made calls to arrange care for my son, take care of my work duties, and generally put my affairs in order before rushing home to collect the hospital bag and ….well….. Sherri.

Two hours later we were given a pretty sweet delivery room complete with a queen sized bed, great internet connection, and a crock pot.   I had no idea what the crock pot was for but I thought: Wow, if this is a long delivery process I can probably slow cook some chili in here.

There was a lot of commotion when we first checked in as various nurses took vitals, assessed Sherri, and did all the great things nurses do.

And then it all stopped.

Silence.

No one bothered us.

We were alone.

We did what most couples who are never alone do….we turned on Netflix and watched an episode of Fuller House.  I really hope DJ and Steve end up together.

Once the episode ended we waited for another interruption as we figured we were due for some medical staff to come in with a question or a form.

Silence again.

What we did next was something that often gets pushed aside in the day-to-day grind of managing our careers, a three year old son, and a household: we spent time together.

The next hour was spent joking around, discussing stuff that had nothing to do with our child, our jobs, or grocery store coupons.   We just talked, enjoyed each other’s company and spent 20 minutes trying to capture a photo of a Hawk that kept circling in the sky outside our window.   In short, we were fully present in that moment.

I love helping people move towards work-life balance via assessments, policy education, and advocacy training.  It’s great stuff.   That being said, we need to never forget the life piece in work-life.   We need to find the time to be fully present with the people and elements of our life that bring us joy.  We need to work to preserve that on a regular basis as much as possible.

All the company policies and arrangements in the world are for nothing if we don’t use them to enjoy the things dearest to us.

It took a small break in what turned out to be a day of chaos for me to discover that simple but powerful lesson.   It’s a lesson I won’t forget.  More importantly, it’s a lesson that I will be constantly reminded of every time I watch an episode of Fuller House, see a Hawk in the sky, and of course, whenever I look at my newborn daughter.

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