The Life of a Working Mother

Barbie doll

This is not me

Let me tell you about the life of a working mother. So this morning I was running late for work because I had a hard time picking out an outfit because last Saturday I forgot to go to the dry cleaner because I was really busy shuffling my kids from soccer practice to the town-wide barbecue birthday bash to a party we were all invited to and so I had no clean work pants and I couldn’t wear knee-length skirts or capris because I was gardening on Sunday because I hadn’t weeded since June because every weekend in the summer I took my kids to the Cape so they could hang out with their cousins and anyway I got poison ivy on my legs and therefore hadn’t shaved them all week but I had to dress professionally because my boss and I were going to an industry event later in the day to network with potential clients.

So, I decided to wear a long, flowy black skirt and after trying many different tops finally paired it with a black cardigan that looked professional and put on a pair of low black heels that wouldn’t hurt walking around a tradeshow floor and I threw on some appropriate accessories and I was ready to go but I stopped to use the bathroom because I have a long commute and I had downed three cups of coffee and …the back of my skirt fell in the toilet!

So, I had a meltdown and started ranting and my husband said, “How is this my fault?” to which I responded, “It’s not your fault. Why can’t I get upset without you thinking you need to fix it?” at which point my nine year old son came up to me, hugged me and said, “I love you mom,” which, while really sweet, made me realize he was trying to calm down psycho-mommy and someday he’d be in therapy because of me.

Then I went upstairs and I found a long skirt (linen – which, I don’t care what Vogue says, is a no-no after Labor Day in New England) which really needed ironing but I decided not to iron because it was just going to be wrinkled again by the time I got to work and as I pulled it out of the closet the button popped off and it required a new top and new shoes because it was brown not black and I didn’t really have a top that matched except the sweater I had worn to the party Saturday which I couldn’t find because my house is always a mess.

And so I ran around trying to find a top and praying to St. Anthony to find my sweater and my hair started to frizz because the weather was really humid because September is always warmer then August in New England which is Mother Nature’s way of messing with working parents who have to take the last week in August as vacation because that’s the week between when camp ends and school starts and I couldn’t pull my hair back because my daughter, in the middle of all this, asked me for a ponytail holder even though she always takes mine and should have had a bazillion of them and where the hell do they go and my husband pointed out I have a bunch of them in my office but I didn’t want my daughter to go in there because Sunday night I was sorting though my vintage necklaces in the office because it relaxes me but I got interrupted and never put them away and they were still on the floor and I didn’t want her to step on them, so I gave her the one I always keep on my wrist.

So my hair was wild and I had nothing to wear except a wrinkly linen skirt until I noticed a shirt I bought at the Gap and had planned to return because I spent too much money last time I was there but it was desperate times so I put it on but it still required a cardigan so that didn’t really help because St. Anthony wasn’t listening so I grabbed another Gap shirt out of my closet as I realized I still had to keep the new shirt because I had removed the tags and tossed it on the floor and it would be wrinkled by the time I got home.

I glanced in the mirror at my wild hair and casual outfit and saw I was not even close to the look-at-me-I’m-large-and-in-charge-trust-me-with-your-communications-strategy image I wanted to project at the event but I had no choice but to wear the outfit so I decided to channel Iris Apfel and added a multi-strand turquoise necklace and leopard shoes and hoped I could project a look-at-me-I’m-hip-and-creative-trust-me-with-your-social-media-strategy image even though I knew I couldn’t because I’m a middle-aged suburban mother.

And as I went to finally leave, I realized I needed to change bags because now the big, printed bag I had planned to carry was too casual whereas before it had served as a pop of color for an all-black outfit and so I wanted to grab a more structured purse but I couldn’t fit my flats (also leopard) in the structured bag and there was no way I was going to a tradeshow without back-up flats and so I finally found an appropriate bag but that necessitated transferring my wallet, lunch, sunglasses and cosmetics to another bag which was risky business because it had to be done on the go and I couldn’t really risk any erratic or distracted driving because I had no registration or inspection sticker because my leasing company had sent the paperwork late and I was supposed to go the RMV and get that sorted out at lunch but how could I leave work for a few hours to do that when I was going to arrive so late?

Then when I got in the car I realized it was on empty because I hadn’t stopped for gas the night before because I wanted to get home before it got too dark to go for a run because running helps my stress levels and I hadn’t run Tuesday night because I went to the PTO meeting which was painful – I mean I appreciate all the board does, but ladies really, Robert’s Rules of Order, live it, learn it, love it – and I didn’t run on Monday night because I was at an environmental committee meeting because I need to save the world and I was having a hard time waking up in the mornings to run ever since school started because my daughter, who is exhausted re-adjusting to a schedule after sleeping late all summer, had been throwing temper tantrums at night and I had been giving in and lying down with her even though I knew I was reinforcing bad behavior and I think seven is too old for the Ferber method and her crying and whining was reminding me of when she was a baby and I had postpartum depression and I just wanted her to go to sleep.

When I finished pumping gas a woman with a sleek chignon and cool sunglasses dressed very professionally pulled in and blocked me at the gas tank and I thought if she is a working mother and looks that good she deserves to have her suit dunked in the toilet but I finally got out of there without incident and tuned into the traffic report and heard there was an accident and not one, but two lanes, were blocked on the highway and then I remembered I had thrown the black skirt into the laundry and it’s dry clean only which meant either my husband was going to a) wash it as a nice gesture and accidentaly ruin it or b) not wash it which would piss me off because wasn’t that the least he could do?

And then, as I sat in the traffic jam thinking about how I wasn’t going to get to work until practically tomorrow which was really a problem because I was behind on some things because I’d been spending a lot of time on one specific project which ironically had to do with how mothers “do it all” which meant I would either to have work late and skip another run or get caught up on work on the weekend therefore not having anytime to go to the drycleaner, I turned on the air conditioner because my hair kept frizzing from the heat and I realized I had worn my office sweater home the night before which could have been a problem because my coworker always blasts the AC at the office because she’s in menopause and having hot flashes and who am I to judge because that could be me, like, tomorrow and because the fabric on my shirt was really thin it would be revealing, if you know what I mean, but luckily Rachel Zoe has nothing on me and I could fix the problem with bandaids.

And inspired by my many talents I decided to write this blog – while driving – because I downloaded the speech-to-text software on my iPhone one day while imagining I could be that kind of supermom who multitasks and has all the right apps, which according to a new study makes me prone to depression (the wanting to be a supermom, not the apps) but I never did get around to downloading the app that reads emails aloud which would have been useful because at that point I was already 45 minutes late for work and not yet at the halfway mark and I was only driving 25 miles an hour even though I had already passed the accident.

And that is the life of a working mother.

27 comments for “The Life of a Working Mother

  1. Jennifer
    September 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    You made my day with this article…so much so I actually cried.

    • September 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Jennifer, Thanks for the comment. I knew I couldn’t be the only one out there. It’s almost Friday..

  2. Ellie
    September 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I’m sorry, what?

  3. Melanie Teegarden
    September 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Yep, pretty much exactly. This is why when I get “mommy cards” from “professional mommies” I get a little bit annoyed. Get four more jobs like the rest of us, I think. But then I think no, I just wish all of us could lose a few of these jobs. Then maybe I could remember who I am sometimes besides Mom, Wife, Employee, Cook, Housekeeper. You know, that other person that I am. In theory anyway. I haven’t checked in with her in a while. But hey, only six more years and my kids will be grown. Maybe then I can check in.

    • September 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Melanie, I think she’ll be waiting for you when you finally check in.

  4. J
    September 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Your post mentions two kids, both of whom are old enough to do chores around the house. More importantly, they are old enough to hear the word, “No” now and then. They don’t have to go to the beach every single weekend. They don’t have to have a parent lie down with them so they’ll sleep. They don’t have to be handed a ponytail band when you don’t have one to spare. Seven is old enough to hear, “No, honey. You’ll have to use one of your own. I need this one.” Good heavens! If you have the time to cover the floor of an entire room with your vintage necklaces, you have the time to give five minutes to thinking about what you will wear to an important meeting the next day. Keep the necklaces in the box and gather an outfit and the appropriate accessories together. Something’s wrinkled? Put it on a hanger, spray it with warm water, tug and smooth out the wrinkles and let it dry while you take 10 minutes out of your jewelry-sorting time to go the gas station. Forgive me if I don’t sound very sympathetic, but the life of a busy parent is nothing new. The working parents in my childhood home had three times as many kids as you do and the kind of chaos you describe is all your own doing. Organization and prioritization are YOUR responsibility. Grow up! Listen to the traffic and weather report BEFORE leaving the house. Get over the vain idea that you need a different purse for every outfit. Get ONE black classic-style purse that holds what you need and looks like a grownup owns it.
    Most important of all: stop taking such glee and reveling in the poor-me I live in such chaos pity-party. I does nothing for the image you say you want to project.

    • September 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      No need to ask for forgiveness J. I’m not looking for sympathy – just blowing off a little steam.

  5. September 16, 2011 at 10:13 am

    J is obviously not a working mother.

    Thanks for the post. Because I can completely relate, I recognize that it is not a pity party or a complaint, just a blowing off of steam. Which we all need to do when we’re trying to keep our little slice of the world turning, right?

    • September 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

      Thanks Emily. It helps to laugh about how ridiculous our days can be.

  6. Judy White
    September 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I loved and laughed out loud when I red this. A few suggestions:

    1. All clothes and pocketbooks must be solid colors.
    2. Get a cleaning lady or man. Every two or three weeks take the edge off.
    3. Plan a girlfriend weekend soon.

    Good luck.

    • September 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks Judy. I will take you up on the weekend!

  7. eileen
    September 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Oh my God…I laughed until I cried!!!! And then I read J’s response and then I was howling with laughter…J, honey, get a sense of humor…fast! Absolutely too funny, hell, this is my life!

  8. September 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Hello, Ladies,
    This was FAN-FLIPPING-TASTIC.
    I loved every word. I felt myself getting all up tight & anxious about my frumpy hair, wrinked pants and my gas tank on EMPTY, not to mention, the dinner I forgot to thaw out…
    EXCELLENT. Fab. Bravo. Bravo. Manificoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

    • September 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks Kim. And I have it easy. I don’t do the cooking.

  9. September 24, 2011 at 4:58 am

    I totally agree! It is absolutely hectic for a working mother to take care of her own self,family n work and yet refrain from pulling her hair out!!!

  10. September 27, 2011 at 5:28 am

    I enjoyed your post. Funny yet inspiring. My Closet is a disaster before. I hate not being able to find the shirt that I really want to wear. Then, I realized that I should reorganized my closet and my life too. And it feels great!

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

      And my new tip: buy Woolite. It cuts down on the need to dryclean. Thanks for stopping by Classy.

  11. September 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    That is AWESOME.

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Rita. That means a lot coming from you.

  12. September 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    So relate-able!

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Alicia, I had a feeling others could relate. We are not alone!

  13. September 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Oh. Dear. God.

    Hysterically funny. Thank you so much for finding time in your crazy day to spill this all out!

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you, Julie for stopping by and commenting.

  14. September 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Good fodder for your blog. Life CAN be crazy sometimes.

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      It sure can Delaine. And you just have to laugh sometimes.

  15. January 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I love what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

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