Getting four people, three of them small, out the door to school in the morning has been the Island Family drama of the month. This has reminded me of something embarrassing yet funny that happened to me almost 10 years ago as a teacher and new mother.
A few weeks after I returned to work following my maternity leave, my son caught his first cold. I stayed home with him for the first day, in part to make sure he only had a cold. By the end of that day, he seemed to be doing better, and my friend who took care of him while I was at work had no qualms about taking him, so I decided to return to school the next day.
I dropped him off at her house the next morning, and frankly, was feeling really empowered by the whole experience. I had the career, the husband, and the kid, and was balancing all three quite successfully I thought. (This was early on in the game, mind you.) And despite two nights of waking up regularly with a baby that kept waking himself up because of his stuffy nose, I had still managed to leave the house well-groomed (think suit, heels, good hair day, and make-up artfully applied to hide the dark circles) and well-prepared, with crackjack lesson plans tucked in my briefcase.
My friend lived only a few blocks from where I taught, so within a minute I arrived at school and began crossing through the faculty parking lot toward the school building. I kid you not, I had the first line of the chorus of the song “I’m Every Woman” running through my head (I’m every woman, it’s all in me) over and over again. (The rest of the song was significantly less applicable, so I ignored it.)
I was woman, and I was roaring.
Suddenly, something on my suit caught my eye and I looked down. There, cascading down my lapel was a shiny, freshly-sneezed, gargantuan glob of baby snot.
Chaka Khan stopped singing mid-note.
Folks, I’d pay good money for an out-of-body experience that would allow me to watch myself perform what probably looked like an awkward rain dance to the casual observer. Suddenly there I was hobbling between the cars, in heels remember, desperately groping through my overflowing briefcase for anything to use to get that baby snot off my suit before I met up with some colleagues fast headed my way. With a piece of paper, I managed to scrape off the worst of it in the parking lot, but even after a soap and water intervention later in the restroom, I was left with a tell-tale mark.
And thus I proved that, while you might be able to have it all, you can’t necessarily have it all and look good while having it.