“I am mom-ing like a boss!” I thought to myself as I placed the last cinnamon roll and mug of hot cocoa down on the coffee table and gazed up at the Pinterest-worthy holiday scene in my living room. My husband cradled our newborn, who was kicking and cooing in his striped jammies, as our kids unwrapped their Christmas presents.
Suddenly a look of horror came over my husband’s face, and he practically threw the baby down on the couch. I glanced over and saw that my 8-year-old daughter was on fire, her whole head and torso enveloped in flames. Dad yanked off her scarf, which was lit from end to end, and threw it on the floor, catching the rug on fire. Terrified, I jumped to my feet and slapped at the flames still swirling around her hair.
Surrounded by piles of fabric ashes and the smell of burnt hair, we all collapsed on the couch, trying to recover from what had just happened and thanking God that our daughter was somehow unharmed.
You may be wondering how this could have happened. To be candid, all signs point to mom. It started with six months of round-the-clock production for my company’s educational media series and months of sleep deprivation, which stripped all logic from my feeble working-mommy brain.
And then there was watching Joanna Gaines on HGTV creating praise-worthy tablescapes, which made me think it would be pretty to place an evergreen-scented candle on the coffee table. (Ironically, we put up a plastic tree because real ones seem like a fire hazard.) When my daughter donned her new scarf, she shimmied up onto the table and — voila! — the Christmas Spectacular began. Needless to say, the mom guilt was heavy that day.
Why did I share a story that makes me sound like a reckless idiot? Because sometimes we try too hard to straddle our roles as working moms and at-home moms. We think that if we can just “kill it” in both roles, floating effortlessly between the two, we can justify that we have made the right choices for our family.
But life is messy. Work is unpredictable. And parenting is hard. This Mother’s Day, I propose we cut ourselves a little slack. Let’s take solace in the things we are already doing well, rather than focusing on someone else’s idea of “having it all together.”
I’m a mom of four young kids and the founder of a company called EQtainment, with an educational media app, show, and curriculum for kids called Q Wunder. We help kids learn the most important life skills to prepare them for the classroom and beyond.
One of the greatest things about social emotional skills is that, unlike IQ, which is somewhat set after birth, EQ can be improved drastically throughout life. Q Wunder practices a perspective of gratitude, problem solving, and self-awareness in a fun, interactive way. So this Mother’s Day, I’m trying to take a cue from our own playbook. I’m trying to tap into a little bit of that perspective, little bit of that self-awareness.
As moms, we should remind ourselves that success doesn’t mean looking like we have it all together with work and family. It means we’re making a little bit of progress every day in the areas that matter most. As my 8-year-old daughter said the other day when we were stuck in standstill LA traffic, watching cars fly by going the other direction, “Well, I’d rather be going slow in the right direction than going fast in the wrong direction.” I guess even our kids understand that it’s about direction, not perfection.
So I want to take a moment to praise you amazing working moms out there. We may be spread a little thin, miss an important email or two, and take our desire for the perfect holiday a little too far, but we’re all “mom-ing like a boss” and should enjoy this crazy journey of working motherhood.