One of the things that plague busy mothers is never being where they’re supposed to be at any given moment. Your worlds are constantly colliding.
When you’re at work — for example covering the case of a body found in a field — you get a call about the fairy godmother character you’re trying to book for your daughter’s birthday party. Okay, well maybe this exact scenario doesn’t happen in your daily routine, but imagine something similar where you are simultaneously wearing your work hat and your mommy hat.
One afternoon I was sitting at the music school waiting for my daughters to finish their piano lessons. Uncharacteristically, I had brought a book with me to read instead of my laptop which is usually my constant work companion. I love to read, and rarely get the opportunity, so this felt a little bit like I was playing hooky from my real life.
Suddenly, my phone rang. It was the organizer of a conference telling me that she was expecting me to be at a hotel in North Raleigh in five minutes to make a speech. She had booked me three months prior. I had the event on my multiple calendars, had posted it on my website, had my materials in the car already, and even had my outfit laid out. The one thing I was missing — the date. I thought it was the following day.
For a type-A person, making a mistake like this is akin to forgetting to pay the mortgage. I was wearing jeans, a turtle neck, and Ugg boots, not exactly speech-attire. I asked the woman what she wanted me to do. She said, “Please get here as fast as you can.”
So, I did. In a panic I called my husband who came to the music school to get the girls. I raced up the Beltline at rush hour, and ran into a conference room full of people who were sitting patiently waiting for me and staring at an empty podium. Luckily, they were very gracious.
After a profuse apology, I tried to give them everything I had. They were engaged, asked good questions and seemed to forgive me for my tardiness and my unprofessional outfit.
It wasn’t until the event was over, and I was able to take a breath, that I realized as working mothers we spend a great deal of time juggling the glass balls in the air. Every once in awhile we slip, and one of the fragile pieces of our lives careens towards the ground. Most of the time we reach out and catch it just before it comes crashing to the asphalt. We catch our breaths and move on ... until the next time that is.
Amanda Lamb is the mother of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Go Ask Mom every Monday.