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Mother meets kids, job halfway

'I am woman, hear me roar." I remember it well: my friend Lisa and I acting out the words to the 1974 Helen Reddy song in my purple flowered bedroom. Lisa is in Georgia now and I don't know about her, but lately I could be singing, "I am halfway ...

'I am woman, hear me roar."

I remember it well: my friend Lisa and I acting out the words to the 1974 Helen Reddy song in my purple flowered bedroom. Lisa is in Georgia now and I don't know about her, but lately I could be singing, "I am halfway woman, hear me whine."

Like many moms I'm giving everyone about half of me lately.

With the recent election, I found myself putting in extra hours at work. As a radio talk-show host, I spent a lot of time reading up on the candidates, the issues and the measures. I hate to admit it, but when my 4-year-old wanted me to read "The Cat in the Hat" one night, I just couldn't muster the strength. After talking about the economic crisis all day on the air, I wasn't sure I could handle Thing One and Thing Two terrorizing that unsuspecting mom's home while that cat and those rotten kids just watched. Fortunately, my wonderful husband stepped in and did a commendable job with Dr. Seuss.

It bugs me. I know these are precious years with my girls. I've been told so many times "they're only young once." But I'm also aware there are only so many hours in a day and so much to do. Something's got to give. Sometimes it's family, and sometimes it's work.

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Work took a hit the other morning when I was late because I was negotiating a hostage release. My 6-year-old was demanding the unconditional return of her "My Little Pony" that the

4-year-old took just to bug her. Then I became fashion consultant when the little sister wouldn't wear her Daisy Duck T-shirt unless the big sister wore her Minnie Mouse T-shirt. I kissed the kids goodbye and left my wonderful husband with half-dressed daughters fighting over a plastic pony.

Halfway mom.

Then I get to work late. Halfway worker. (I shouldn't admit that since my employer, WDAY-AM, is owned by this very paper you're reading. Maybe the publisher is skipping this column today.)

It's hard not to let one aspect of your life affect the other. I love those nights when I leave work at work, nights when the girls and I dance together to "Dancing with the Stars." But too often work creeps in with a quick

e-mail, phone call or some research that needs to get done.

Yet the home life returns the favor when my cell phone rings in the middle of the radio show with a little voice asking "Where's my backpack?" or a deeper husband-voice trying to remember exactly what I told him before I left. (I thought there was a glazed-over look when I started talking to him about soccer pictures and preschool conferences.)

I know it's impossible to compartmentalize your life. Even so, it's hard not to feel like you're letting someone down, whether it's your kids, your boss or even yourself.

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I'm not sure what the answer is. I guess moms and dads everywhere will continue the mad juggling game and hope no one notices once in a while when a ball or two drops.

Helen Reddy should write a song about that. I better call Lisa.

Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and a personality for WDAY AM 970

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