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The Day I Almost Collapsed Under the Weight of Working Motherhood

The Day I Almost Collapsed Under the Weight of Working Motherhood via @familysportlifeYesterday morning was one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mornings.

Work is a little intense right now. Yesterday was the day I had to be in the office. Yesterday was not a day that I could phone it in.

Of course it is the day that things at home went from organized chaos to just plan chaos. Isn’t that always the way?

I had to somehow be at work and take Big A to school early. I had planned to ask the babysitter to take him. Usually, I would take him while she stays home getting Little A ready for school. Inconvenient, yes. Cause for collapse, not so much.

But then a weepy child appeared at my side way too early in the morning complaining of ear pain, belly ache, and neck pain. With no fever, there is no way to tell if her information is accurate. What this child would do for a few Mommy snuggles amazes me. As we sit there snuggling and diagnosing, my head starts swirling in a million directions and I can feel my sympathetic nervous system kick in. How do I care for her and get to work? Is my babysitter available? Would I need to come home in the middle of the day? What if she is sick tomorrow and misses all the Halloween fun? When will I find the time in my schedule to get her to the doctor?

Extra help. Sick kid. Critical work commitments. Check. Check. Check.

This in itself wouldn’t make me collapse. I have been a work outside the home Mom for a long time and have become adept at juggling kid schedules, sickness and work.

As I am consoling a weepy kid, trying to get myself ready in a professional way, communicating with the sitter, and somehow packing lunches is when I noticed Big A’s lunch box was missing.

“Hey, where’s your lunch box?” “Um, well, ah…I have to look for it in the lost and found.”

The lunch box sent me over the edge. This was the latest in a series of absent minded moments from Big A that are wracking up big dollars in lost items.

I start a chant in my head. (I am a calm parent. Breathe. Don’t curse. I am a calm parent. Breathe. Don’t lose your cool. I am a calm parent. Breathe. Ask him what is causing him to lose so many items. Maybe he is feeling rushed through his day. Breathe. Show empathy. I am sure he doesn’t want to lose his stuff.)

In a barely controlled tone of voice, kind of high pitched and a bit choppy I ask “Hey, What’s up? You’ve lost a lot of stuff lately.” I don’t get a satisfactory answer and just as I am about to launch into a lecture I stop myself. (Now is not the time. This can wait.)

I declare healthy school lunch bankruptcy and tell everyone to buy lunch today. (I spend 30 seconds berating myself for not packing lunch. I decide we will all live.)

Ten minutes before we all need to head out the door, me to work and Big A to extra help, I am putting on make up in the bathroom. I have an audience of two. Big A is looking forlorn about his lunch box and I realize maybe I didn’t do the best job of reigning in my irritation. (I feel bad sending him to school with a less than stellar start to his day.)

Five minutes to go and I check in on my pending patient “Hey Bug, how are you feeling? I think you should stay home from school today with the babysitter. Maybe I can come home early.” I see the lip quiver and then comes the demand “I am going to school today.”

Sigh. There is no fever, no congestion, no vomit, and no diarrhea. Realizing I am dangerously close to missing my morning meeting, I concede and send her to school. I spend the rest of the day watching my phone for a call from the school nurse.

As I try to collect my items to head out the the car, Little A starts crying that she wants to get picked up from school as a walker. She thinks the bus ride is going to be too noisy for her in her state of unwell.

Two minutes till “go time” and I am fumbling with the laptop to write a walker note.

(I am stifling hysteria. I am a calm parent. Breathe.)

Big A interrupts my train of thought to try and get a status on some of his pending open items with me. This kid has a lot of nerve making demands on me after the lunch box incident. Trying to focus on writing a walker note, I let him know we will deal with “all the things” LATER.

(I am so frustrated I could cry. I am a calm parent. Breathe. DON’T curse.)

I let everyone know it’s “go time” and to head out. As I prepare to leave with them I realize I haven’t eaten breakfast, didn’t pack any snacks, and don’t have lunch.

(It’s going to be a hungry morning.)

Barely on time, I open my car door. Crap! My coffee.

(Back into the house, reheat the cold coffee, pour into a travel mug, and head back out.)

I am feeling rushed. I am feeling stressed. I am feeling alone.

(I feel like I am going to collapse under the weight of working motherhood)

I open Voxer and start talking to a friend. Poor thing. I leave her this somewhat scattered, stream of consciousness message about my morning and manage to choke out a request. Say a prayer for me and send me some encouragement.

Asking for support is key to surviving working motherhood.  It is important to have the courage to ask for what we need.

Once I start driving and the silence washes over me, I start to take some deep breaths.

Still feeling unnerved from my morning I utter out loud “I am going to collapse under the weight of working motherhood.” Saying it out loud triggers me. I put on my coach hat. I ask myself “How does this serve you?”

What I have learned is that negative thoughts never serve us. Life is one giant reframing exercise so I start to evaluate my thoughts.  Which ones need to be reframed.

If I am being objective, working motherhood has served me quite well.

Long before motherhood, there was a girl with grand personal aspirations and she worked hard to pursue them. I am proud of the effort I have put into my professional growth over the last almost two decades. I have a zest for studying human behavior and an unquenchable thirst for learning new things.

My career in Organizational Psychology and Performance Coaching is most definitely what I am called to do. I use my expertise everyday at home to develop and coach my children toward their own personal successes.

I have learned many valuable lessons throughout this nine year journey of working motherhood. I have learned how to: take myself less seriously, establish boundaries, identify what matters the most (my family) in my life, and use my time the most productively just to name a few.

And in a time of financial crisis, I was the sole source of consistent income for my family.

Working motherhood has taught me lessons in non-judgement, self-awareness, vulnerability, and confidence.

Working motherhood has taught me I can do hard things.

I would love to hear your thoughts on life, motherhood, work, and doing hard things. You can leave a comment below.

PS. I believe all mothers are working mothers. I believe all mothers work hard. I don’t think any mother has it easier than anyone else. I believe women should support women, that “we rise by lifting others.” I have NO tolerance for “Mommy Wars” so please keep that in mind when you leave your comment.

12 comments - Latest by:
  • Kim Sounds like your morning was comparable to my night last night. The 2 times I hate to "lose it" …
  • Lindsay this is what scares me... i don't think i can even handle motherhood at the moment. But you did it... …

Why Vision is Critical to Your Success

Why Vision is Critical to Your Success. A timely post on goal setting and motivation for the new year. #goalsetting #NewYear via @familysportlife


A number of times over the last week, I have had conversations around goals.  It’s that time of year, right? We are tying up our 2014 projects and starting to reflect on what we want to achieve in 2015.  I love this time of year.  It’s dream BIG time.

Often the conversations I have around goals are two fold.  One, people ask me about creating SMART goals.  Two, people ask me how they can ensure they achieve the goals the set.  Somehow throughout the year a waywardness takes over and motivation starts to falter.  For some, this time of year is a time of panic as the realize their goals aren’t met.

Believe it or not, I think it’s our heavy reliance on SMART goals that trips us up.

In case you don’t know what a SMART goal is, it is a theory in goal setting that says your goals need to be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound.  And they do need to be all those things but it’s not enough to ensure success.

Have you ever set a goal that was specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound but STILL didn’t meet the goal?

Read more

18 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman I am glad it helps. Writing it down somehow processes it through the body.
  • Tara Newman Well, that sounds like a good book. It's good to go back and reread and tweak if needed.

3 Tips to Make Meal Planning a Habit

Do you struggle with sticking to a routine of weekly meal planning? Her are 3 Tips to Make Meal Planning a Habit.  Plus a meal plan for the week with recipes to please everyone.  Paleo and vegetarian.   via @familysportlifeAs each week comes to a close I have this Ally McBeal moment where a weird vignette starts to play in my head.  I am dancing with a naked baby, in my pajamas, rocking out to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive.”  If that isn’t a busy moms anthem, I don’t know what is.  About six weeks ago, I started working with a performance coach (yes, coaches have coaches).  As a part of my training at the International Coach Academy, I have to be coached for 12 sessions.  This time spent with my coach has been invaluable.  It has trained me to get comfortable celebrating my wins no matter how small.  In essence, it is forcing me to “practice what I preach.”

Last week I probably hit 80% of my meal plan and I am perfectly fine with that.  Instead of looking at that as imperfect or less than, I celebrated this as an accomplishment.

My meal plans for my family aren’t meant to be a dictate, they are meant to be a beacon in a torrent of overwhelm.  There are parts of my day and week where I can hit the pause button to allow me space to breathe but the time between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm is NOT  that time.  Too much has to happen in between those hours and having a plan is a life saver.  The other 20% of the time, I just go with super simple.

Early blog reader survey results are showing meal planning is a struggle and I want to offer some encouragement.

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21 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Nice job Dana! Let me know how it goes.
  • Dana I can handle planning one meal for next week, and now that field hockey season is over, it will be …

2014 Blog Reader Survey

2014 Blog Reader Survey 1


Hi Everyone!

Did you ever hear the story about how Family Sport Life was started?  It was a little haphazard but with years of intention behind it.  How does that happen?

Back in 2008, right after my daughter was born, I had a personal blog where I documented my trials and tribulations as a work outside the home mom trying to make life work.  It was intimate and at times explicit.  I wasn’t comfortable sharing my experiences publicly but I fell in love with blogging.

I eventually became overwhelmed with life and stopped writing.  However, I always dreamed of having a public blog.  Like most things in my life, I over complicated starting a blog.  Don’t get me wrong, blogging IS complicated but I couldn’t get over what to write on the about page!

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14 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Thanks friend. Cassidy DEFINITELY needs a blog. The first blog post I read of yours was when he …
  • Tara Newman Me too. It should be helpful. I was limited to 10 questions with survey monkey because it is …

Triathlon Training: 7 Ways To Maximize Your Off-Season

Triathlon Training: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Off-Season via @familysportlife #triathlon #training #endurance

depositphotos (c)/warrengoldswain

As endurance athletes, autumn typically signifies the end of our race season.  We’ve worked hard and put in ridiculous amounts of volume and mileage for several consecutive months.  We also might be experiencing some physical and mental fatigue.  The 4AM wake-ups, 95 degree bike rides and 3 hour runs have taken its toll on our bodies and minds.  For many, the “post-big-race blues” may have also set in, leaving us unmotivated due to the lack of a specific goal (race).  We look forward to taking some time off to rest, recover and recharge.

The off season is the perfect time to build yourself into the athlete you want to be next season.  I’ve learned a few things about making each off season pay huge dividends the following year.

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14 comments - Latest by:
  • Noah I can't wait for my Ironman to be done and I already plan on doing the above, especially working on …
  • John Graziano I'm so looking forward to re starting my training plan for next year. While I would love to be …