As professional mothers, we like to think of ourselves as nurturing parents, accomplished career women, and (need I say?) totally babelicious. But the next time you wake up at 4 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep, maybe it’s because you need to face the cold, stark truth about who you really are.
The Air Traffic Controller of your family.
Oh, you know I’m right. Despite those Hallmark Mother’s Day card images, your main task isn’t blissfully breastfeeding your baby in an antique wicker rocker, or frolicking through sun-kissed meadows with your Ralph Lauren-clad kids and golden retriever.
Your job is keeping your household from descending into utter chaos on a daily -- make that, hourly -- basis.
For instance: It’s 7:30 a.m. You’re pouring rounds of Cap’n Crunch when your youngest pages you from the bathroom (“Mom, there’s no toilet paper!”), your eldest yells from his room (“I can’t find my homework!”), and your cat’s suspiciously absent because she just blew chunks on those fine Italian slingbacks in your closet.
Do you panic? Of course not. You’re the Air Traffic Controller of your family! You’re trained to deal with simultaneous incoming disasters! You’ve got a homework-locator GPS embedded in your ovaries! Within 35 seconds, Charmin is dispensed, take-home quizzes are found, and your shoes? Hey, you survived a breech birth without an epidural. Kitty puke can’t take you down!
Or let’s say by some miraculous wrinkle in the time-space continuum, you’ve made it to work by 9 a.m. But as you brace yourself for a staff meeting -- the one you’re only almost prepared for – your pantyhose rips a two-lane run, your husband calls to say he can’t pick up the kids from soccer, and your weeping co-worker bursts into your office, desperate to spill the gory details of her split from that guy whose WASPy name you can never remember (Chip? Kip? Biff?)
Do you freak? No, you do not. You’re a virtual human fire hose of crisis extinguishment. Summoning your amazing, catastrophe-repelling powers, you whip out a spare pair of hose from your gym bag (how’d that Kit-Kat bar get in there?), hand your office mate some Kleenex (along with a purely medicinal bag of Hershey’s kisses), and listen to her tale of woe as you text-message a neighbor to ask if she can retrieve your beloved spawn after practice.
Six near-misses averted.
On just two cups of coffee.
And it’s only 10 a.m.!
Sometimes you wonder if real air traffic controllers’ lives are as hectic as yours. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. But at least they get to go on strike! Like it or not, you’re in this job for life, baby. And the insane part is, you wouldn’t have it any other way.