The 5 Stages of Grief While Stuck in Traffic -or- Why I Failed As A Mom

Last week, I found myself feeling like a failure as a mom.  Why was I a total, utter failure?  Because I couldn't get my daughter to soccer practice on time.  This sounds like the most mundane reason to be a failure, but in my world, I try so hard to juggle so many responsibilities, and one ball (the one occupied by my daughter's happiness) came crashing to the floor.

When my daughter was 8 weeks old, I chose to leave the home and go back to work, and since then, I have never looked back.  Sure, I missed many milestones in her life, but I also have been able to provide many opportunities for her because of the extra income.  I also have provided her a sane mother to come home to.  I know that my mental health is not strong enough to stay home with her day in and day out.  That's just me.

I have never liked the "Stay at home" vs. "Working Mother" debate, and I will not continue that here.  Instead, I will say that each has its merits and its downfalls.  Last week, my downfall came crashing down.  I was stuck in traffic, coming from a meeting uptown which I knew I should have left earlier from, and now I was left sitting in traffic, experiencing the 5 stages of grief:

1. Denial - "No, I really will get to her school on time.  See?  The GPS says so.  And we'll have 10 minutes to spare.  I can see there is a gridlock in front of me, but its only temporary."

2.  Anger - "Why are there so many people on the road right now???  Like, who really needs to go home right now?!?  And don't they know my daughter needs to go to soccer practice?"  Yes - I admit, these words came out of my mouth.

3. Bargaining - "If they would just get over to the left, and let me pass, I'll calm down right now."  These words were said with tears welling up in my eyes.  After my GPS adjusted its arrival time to 10 minutes after soccer practice was supposed to start.

4.  Depression - "I'm the worst mom ever.  I should've skipped the meeting and just picked her up...  She's more important that my job..."  And these words were said as I realized, not only would she be very late to practice, but I would inevitably be picking her up 10 minutes after the daycare closed.  Moms in the know, know this equates to $$ paid out to the daycare.  All because I went to a meeting uptown.

5.  Acceptance - "So I can't make any of these STUPID cars move, and I can't strap a jetpack to my shoulders.  I guess I will just sit here and listen to the radio."  And that's what I did.  And I paid extra $$ when I picked up my daughter.

But you know what happened when I ran through the door of the daycare, feeling like I failed my daughter?

She came up to me and said "it's ok mom.  I know you tried!  And really, I didn't feel like going to practice today anyways."  Seriously.  My kid is awesome.  So we went home, put some Trader Joes food in the microwave, and threw some TV on while we talked about school, life, and why I had mascara stains down my cheeks.

So I guess I wasn't a failure, even though I felt like I was one while driving in the car.  I guess I'll have to work harder next time!

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