A Veep Exec Comes To Terms With Her Work-Life Balance

It's August, which basically means two things to me: Soon the kids will be back at school, and I'll be back on set filming Veep. Every day, I divide my time and attention between producing TV and being a mom. And, my biggest challenge is being okay with not hitting perfect notes in both of those areas of my life.
The week usually starts off great. On Monday, I'll pat myself on the back for being a great mom but, come Thursday, I'll be thinking of all the things I did wrong, and I'll wonder if maybe, actually, I'm kind of a sucky one.
My family lives in NYC, but my work often takes me to other states. When I'm producing Veep, that means taking the train back and forth to D.C. every week — sometimes twice a week. Heck, sometimes I'm taking a train twice a day for five months just so I can get some precious family time in.
It wasn't always like this. When my kids were babies, I only produced one comedy special a year; the rest of the time, I stayed at home. But, by the time my youngest was 18 months old, I went back to work full time, and we started a new journey, thereby defining our own normal.
I'm trying to get better at being content with feeling like a great mom some days and a not-so-wonderful mom other days. Being an awesome producer AND an incredible mom all in the same day takes practice, and it takes patience.
My family is learning to make it work — imperfect, hard days and all. Coming to terms with the following 10 tenets is just going to have to be enough for now.
Being a mom is exhausting.
We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week — sometimes on very little sleep. On the days I'm not feeling like a great mom, I try to look at it as my day off, give myself a break. I realize that when you're a mom, there's no real break, but you can't be a great mom if you're not giving yourself a chance to recharge. For me, that means not demanding perfection of myself every hour of every single day.
My kids still love me on days when I'm not a great mom.
I'm not Wonder Woman, and it's okay for my kids to see that. I might not make it to every school event, but this will not cause our bond to come undone. In fact, if we make up that time by creating our own events, the closeness only gets stronger. I think it's helpful for my kids to have witnessed a couple of failed family-time attempts, so we can all better appreciate the time we do spend together.
My bosses will still appreciate me on days when I'm not a great producer.
I'm always upfront when I have to leave work for a family event, and I always make up the hours later. Everyone knows not to expect to see me online during my kids' bedtime, but by 9 p.m., they know I'll be glued to my laptop.
I don't expect perfection.
Each day and each hour has the potential to be filled with ups and downs, tears and laughter, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of failure. It's important to recognize these ebbs and flows as a part of life. We need to accept ourselves for who we are — the good, the bad, and the ugly — because this is what will teach our children to accept themselves and their inevitable imperfections.
We pay attention to the quiet moments.
We don't live an over-scheduled life on the weekends. Everyone stays busy enough during the week that we like to slow way down on the weekends. Cooking, baking, and sometimes simply ordering in takeout make for an awesome Saturday. I don't put pressure on myself to have a homemade Sunday dinner each week; rather, our tradition is to not have a tradition.
I'm lucky because I have a job that I love and that allows me to support my family.
I believe I'm a better mom because I have a career, and that works for my family. I also believe I'm setting good examples for my children, especially my daughter, who has a strong career-oriented role model in her life. I applaud stay-at-home moms everywhere — because god knows that isn't an easy job — but it's not for me, and my kids understand that.
I'm a mom first.
On set sometimes I break away for Skype calls with my kids. If I'm traveling during the school week, which is most of the time, this might mean doing homework with them over the phone. They think this is hilarious, and they also hate it because it means I'm watching them all the time. But, it's a way to keep us close even when I'm geographically far away.
My kids have seen me cry.
I missed my son's guitar recital at school by 5 minutes, and I felt gutted. I had flown home just to be there for that and missed it! I think my son felt worse than I did when he saw my gushing tears, so we decided he would put on a special concert just for me which turned into him playing with the band at a party for the Eastbound & Down cast and crew.
We have "yes" days.
When I'm not working, and my show is on hiatus, I tend to go overboard and schedule large sleepovers and trips. The kids and I love them equally!
My bottom line? It's not like I look at my kids as competing for my time, but if there were an actual competition, they would win. Hands down and every time. Finding the perfect balance is next to impossible, but developing a system that works for you and your family isn't.

More from Work & Money

Any recent grads freaking out about their job prospects need not fear: Apparently the demand for exorcists has never been higher. The Telegraph reports ...
9:45 a.m. — Starbucks reward, bitches! OBV I get the most expensive thing that I can concoct. A Venti 5 shot soy latte. Yum
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
Fifty percent off your purchase here. 1,000 free miles there. When it comes to credit cards, the benefits are easy to see — while the downsides are often ...
As the host of RIOT's Woke Bae, we already know comedian Phoebe Robinson is funny AF while getting serious about major issues like feminism and ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
12:45 p.m. — I have a dryer, rare in Shanghai, so my friend runs home to get his laundry and then does a load at my place
Ah, the job interview. Getting one always feels like a win — your résumé passed the test, and you've moved on to the next round. Writing the cover letter...
Working in the service industry is an easy way to get an (often unwanted!) glimpse into other people's personal lives. Whether you waited tables at a ...