Julie Cole: The Baby Machine


When Mama Drops the Ball

Having a Full Plate

When I travel for work, it’s a bit of an ordeal for my family. I am not in one of those perfectly even co-parenting situations where I can walk out the door completely confident that Daddy-o will get children to correct activities or that pre-school snacks will be packed.

It’s hard to have a clear understanding of the inner workings of a household if your job requires that you work long hours. That is the case with Daddy-o. One time I was away and he was packing up school lunches. He asked the kindergarten kid what sandwich she’d like to have for lunch at school. The kid had to remind him that she only goes to school in the mornings so has lunch at home every day. Yes, he forgot which kids go to school when.

This cute story might explain why I only feel comfortable leaving for a business trip if all my ducks are in line on the home front. Leaving my list of instructions helps our busy family stay organized in my absence. And every little bit of help matters – things can be pretty rough going when you are solo-parenting my crew. If I can do any prep before hand that is going to make life easier for Daddy-o, I’m down with that. And it also soothes the closet control freak that lives inside of me.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Nashville to attend the Blissdom Conference. The day before I left, I went through my to-do list:

All car pools organized. Check.
School lunches packed and in the basement fridge. Check.
Birthday party gift ready to go. Check.
Skating bags packed for lessons. Check.
Fridge stocked with easy dinners and endless supply of milk. Check.
Teachers all notified about my absence so they are forgiving if agendas not signed and hair not neatly combed. Check.
Cold and fever medicine handy just in case. Check

At around 11:00pm the night before flying out, I started getting my own things in order for the trip. That’s when I noticed that my passport had expired five days earlier.

After a relatively sleepless night and some serious dosh spent at the passport office, all worked out and I was off to Nashville. Clearly when a mama is so busy keeping her peeps organized, she is at risk of dropping the ball when it comes to her own life. Letting my passport expire is a fine example of letting my full plate get the better of me.

Going away for business is a big job for any parent. For the Mama of Many, it gets elevated to the status of enormous. Maybe the trick is to simply walk out the door and let them scramble. They may scramble, but there would likely be a better chance of arriving to the airport with all required travel documentation.