I was recently summoned for jury duty and the first thing that came to mind was “Well, that’s inconvenient.” Now I need to preface this story with the fact that I had already postponed once. My initial summons was for mid-August, which seemed to be the worst timing in the world. At that time, I had a 6-week-old, my eldest daughter’s birthday that week, both older girls had camp and everyone had dentist appointments. So, given the option to postpone, I did. I thought January would be so much less chaotic. Famous last words.
In December, I received my summons for the exact week I postponed until and I began to panic. The date I had selected wasn’t better. It was actually worse. As a working mom who owns my own business, I have a lot of flexibility to manage my daughters’ varied schedules. But when I am not available, things quickly get complicated. I’ve been tapping my tribe a lot lately to fit an assortment of meetings into my schedule and felt I needed to be conscious of asking too much of others.
But family wasn’t a better option. Interestingly, my mom was summoned for jury duty in a different county for the exact same day. Both my dad and mother-in-law had recently had surgery and were unable to help with the kids. And my husband, a fellow business owner, was crazy busy with work, making it hard to get away. Hence the panic. In the end, I got lucky. My godmother lives nearby and she was happy to come over and hang out with my littlest lady, as well as get my oldest from the bus stop. My husband was able to leave early to get the middle child from preschool. We won’t talk about the flat tire I got in my hurry to get to jury duty on a snowy morning, which delayed my departure from downtown after being released early on day one.
The other struggle of this experience is that jury duty offers two options – show up and get it done, or put yourself on the call-in list. I debated for weeks and ultimately decided to show up on day one and get the process started. Calling in with just 75 minutes to get to the government center, in addition to finding care for the girls was too much. This turned out to be an excellent choice. I was ultimately put on a trial and done in just two days. The following week, we were greeted by the polar vortex in which school was canceled for three consecutive days due to subzero temperatures. Had I placed myself on the call list, I would have inevitably been summoned at a time when I required all-day care for three children instead of just one.
Looking back on this experience and the level of stress and worry that accompanied it, I see a significant lesson. There is never a time that will be right or better or perfect. There is just now. I’m trying to take this lesson to heart in all that I do. As women, we want to plan and research and share our thoughts and plan some more. We believe that with the proper amount of planning and coordination, everything will work out perfectly. But I’m here to say that is rarely the case. There is no right time to do the things that matter most. From deciding to grow a family to pursuing a passion, there is just now. And short of overlooking all of the financial implications of a big decision, there is no amount of research and planning that will provide a guarantee.
As I try to find time in my day to be present for my daughters, spend time with my husband, do the things I’m passionate about and take big leaps of faith, I remind myself that procrastination never pays off. I’ve never been glad that I waited until the last minute to finish an assignment or tackle a work project. Hindsight is always 20/20 and until there is a way to predict the future, there is no reason to wait. Now is the time. I am seizing the moment and putting procrastination behind me.
Amanda Wagner is the mom of three young girls, owner of Beaujo’s Wine Bar & Bistro in Edina and writer of all the things. When she isn’t carting around small children or managing the wine bar experience, she loves to spend time with family, read non-fiction, listen to podcasts, hit the gym and wind down with a glass of wine (obviously).