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Working Mommy Meltdown

It’s International Peace Day (every year on September 21st) and this morning I honored it by crying…in public…at my daughter’s school.

Working mommy fail and meltdown.

The day didn’t get off to a bad start, it was great in fact. It was a typical working mom morning, but better. I got up, got dressed, put dishes away, made tea, went to wake my daughter and get her dressed for school and go downstairs for breakfast. Today her school celebrated Peace Day and she was super excited to wear her blue shirt dress and white jeans (the school asked the kids to wear blue or white) for her class singing performance at 9:30. She was in a great mood and I was feeling supermom-ish because I didn’t just make my tea, I also made a super tasty avocado, mango, spinach, mango, basil, probiotic orange juice and almond milk smoothie (all organic!) that was ready for my daughter to sip when I sat her down for breakfast. She told me it was one of my best smoothies ever – I was feeling on top of the world.

We were running a tad late due to an over-leisurely breakfast, so I ran her to school (as in “holy moly that almost 40-year old woman can run!” running). Usually we walk and I push her in the stroller but today I ran (and ran hard!) so we weren’t late and I got her there in record time, clocking in at 8:29, with one minute to spare. I treated myself to an amazing cup of coffee at my neighborhood’s General Store and walked home in peace (no pun intended).

I came home, made a dent in my marketing agency client work, went upstairs to put on my blue T-shirt dress (how cool was I to wear the same Peace Day colors the kids were wearing!?) and went to grab my keys….

…except I couldn’t find my keys.

I am super close to the school (a 5 minute car drive away) and I hadn’t budgeted time to search for lost keys, so by the time I got in the car, it was a few minutes before 9:30 but I assumed (let me correct myself ASSsumed) that since most of my daughter’s school events don’t start right on time, I had a few minutes to spare.

WRONG.

At 9:35, I ran to the gazebo (where the class was going to be singing) thinking they were about to get started and the teacher says: “We had a bit of a meltdown. She didn’t see you before the song and started crying.” which I replied with “What do you mean? They already performed the song?”

I missed it. I blew it.

Knowing that I had let my daughter down was too much. And I lost it.

In front of the teachers, children, parents and grandparents and my little girl, I began to cry. A body shaking “working mom on the verge, I f-ed up, showing my crazy lady side” crying.

I remember one of the teachers putting her arm around me and crying even harder.

I failed. My sweet, sensitive little girl had been practicing this beautiful peace song for weeks (click here to see her sing part of it) and I wasn’t there to see her. I made her heart hurt. I let her down. I let myself down.

I have a hunch that exercising my crazy lady side and crying in front of everyone was probably the main reason the kids all sang it again a second time. While it was wonderful to see her sing, seeing her red teary eyes was a reminder that I let her down.

After the song, she ran into my arms and I held her and we both cried. I told her how sorry I was and she told me how sad she was and we hugged harder. Then they served the kids a snack and she went off with her classmates and I stood there alone.

I have to give a huge shoutout to my amazing mom friends – some hugged me at school, one came up and rubbed my back and reminded me that I am always at every event (I so needed that reminder!) and a couple of my supermom pals called me or Facebook messaged me after to check in.

I drove home in tears. Small things make a big difference, and this is one of those things that I really wanted to be there for.

Running my business and running my household and managing my personal and professional life isn’t always perfect. But it’s still mostly pretty perfectly wonderful.

I’m no longer mortified that I cried publicly about my mommy fail. I’m proud that I had the guts to let my vulnerability show, not just for myself, but for all of the other working moms out there (and let me be crystal clear, ALL MOMS ARE WORKING MOMS WHETHER WE GET A PAYCHECK OR NOT) who can all relate to feeling the way I did today and could see and feel for a moment that we aren’t perfect.

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P.S. Sunglasses are a girl’s (and mom’s best friend) for hiding teary eyes!

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve been that crying mom, when I missed an important event for a reason very similar to yours. We are truly lucky to work a virtual job that allows the flexibility to be there for our kids, so when we miss an opportunity because of all the other things we are responsible for, it feels like such a huge deal. Right there with ya!

    You do an amazing job balancing your agency, family, friends – I’m always in AWE of what you can accomplish in a day. Huge virtual hugs.

  2. This is so real. Thank you for sharing. I had to have my mommy meltdowns out of sight of my son. So he doesn’t know about them.
    I don’t know why i felt he couldn’t see me lose it in public.
    Thank God for bathrooms.

  3. You made me cry. …
    The beautiful thing about kids (and pets) is that no matter what, we are forgiven.
    E is just as strong as her awesome, human, imperfect, beautiful mom!

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