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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

Moms, give yourselves some summer slack

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I had a mom breakdown moment today. A true and utter mom breakdown moment. I mean, yes... as moms we ALL have those mom breakdown moments, but today I had a real one and it took a 5 year to calm me down.

While at our swim club this morning with my 5 kids, I had to get on a work conference call. There were about 3 people on the call and it was an important one. I always get nervous when I hop on a work call with anyone who isn't a parent because I don't know if they truly get what it's like to balance work, family and life at the same time. I always roll with it and try my hardest (always) to be as professional as can be. Usually I have the phone on mute and I'm mouthing and motioning to my kids to be QUIET! I feel like as moms we become pros at the charades game of "SHHH!!" and "PLEASE BE QUIET!"

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Keeping it real here for a moment, as a work from home mom, the summers are always the toughest for me because - well, my 5 kids are home. I can't ignore my kids. I can't ignore their needs and wants. I can't keep them inside all summer long while I work. I try my best to make summer work to the best of my ability for them and for myself, too. I don't have outside help, so it's literally me, myself and I.

Getting back to this morning! I was with my 6 year old daughter at the playground while taking this call. I had found myself the perfect spot under a tree, with a perfect view of my daughter. I told her I needed about 20-30 minutes and quite honestly, she understood. The playground at our pool club is big, so I knew she'd be fine for a good amount of time.

As soon as I got on the call, like a bee to honey... all 4 of my sons needed me IN THAT MOMENT. It was like Ashton Kutcher was trying to punk me. I actually wanted to start looking for video cameras hiding in the trees down by the playground.

My 14 year old son wanted to head home, so he needed to know if it was OK if he left with a friend.

My 13 year old son lost his cell phone and was worried he left it on top of the car when we left that morning. He was anxious to have me track it, so he could find out where it was.

My 12 year old was starving and felt like he was going to "pass out," so he needed money to buy himself popcorn chicken and french fries.

And then to add to the crazy, my 11 year old son got stung by a bee (can't make this up!) and was rushing to find me so that I could head with him to the lifeguard stand.

All this within 5 minutes of me hopping on my work conference call. Here I was worried about my 6 year old daughter getting in the way of my call and I was wrong, very, very wrong. I spent 5 minutes intermittently pressing MUTE on and off while I answered each son. Have you ever done this before? You get terrified that you're going to press mute at the wrong time and have everyone on the other end hear what you're saying! I was sweating buckets!! All - at the same time - trying to keep my cool ON THE CALL when it was my turn to talk. My blood was boiling. My head was pounding. I stood there feeling myself turning red. I don't know how I did it, but I was able to manage the call and the boys in that 20 minutes.

I got off the call and I actually started to cry. I just had had it. Maybe it's the summer crazy really hitting me. Maybe it's the fact that I was thinking to myself, "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?" Maybe it's the fact that I just wish I didn't have to balance all that all the time. I don't know what it exactly was, but the tears starting pouring down my cheeks underneath my sunglasses.

I walked over the side of the playground and just sat, feeling wiped and kinda of defeated in that moment.

This little girl saw me and came over. I tried to wipe away my tears so she wouldn't ask me what was wrong, but I was too late.

"Why are you crying?"

I just smiled back and said, "Oh, honey... I'm OK!"

"No, you're crying."

"No honey, I'm OK... but thank you."

"It's OK, I think you're doing a good job."

And that was it. This little girl said those words to me and then walked away to play again.

I didn't move an inch. It's funny how this little 5 year old girl knew exactly what to say to me at the exact perfect time.

There's no moral to this story. There's no right or wrong. There's just a moment for us all to realize that we're doing the best we can and we can't be too hard on ourselves. We aren't superhuman and that's OK. We do what we can do, and that's good enough. Give yourself some summer slack. You deserve it.

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