Equality, Leadership

Is a broken arm a priority?

I found myself telling this story to a journalist last week as I described some of the weird and funny experiences that come with my choices in life. I’ve written before that I think balance is a myth – it’s impossible to achieve if you are a CEO and a mother – and there are days when you just have to choose.

One day when my son Sebastian was 8 years old – it was the last day of the quarter at Simplex. We had the traditional kind of business where revenue recognition was a major task on the last day of the quarter to make sure we were accounting for our orders correctly and shipping the right ones to make the number, as well as negotiating with customers to get business closed. Typically I would spend the day with my CFO and VP sales intently closing the quarter.

On the day in question, at about noon, I got a phone call from the nurse at Bas’s school – and she told me that Bas had fallen off the parallel bars and broken his arm. She’d called the nanny, and then my husband, but neither had answered and so I had to go and get him.

I remember standing with the phone in my hand and The Clash playing in my head trying to decide what to do: Should I stay or should I go? I walked into my CFO’s office and said “OK you guys have to do this without me. I’ll be back as soon as I can”.

When I walked into the nurses office Bas was sitting with his arm wrapped with ice and hadn’t cried until then. He broke down when he saw me -“Mom, I can’t believe you came,” he said. “It’s the last day of the quarter!”

He’d tell you that story if you asked him. Sometimes he tells it with pride for his mom. Sometimes it’s a great way to embarrass me!