I knew it would eventually happen because it always does to every working mom in the world. The moment when both your professional and your mommy world collide and you just have to throw in the towel. Except when you work on television, this collision can end up being live on the air for all of Chicagoland to see.
Last Friday I was covering The Winnetka Antiques and Modernism Show for the WGN Morning News. I rarely call my husband between live segments, but we had a child related matter that needed immediate attention.
"What's going on?", he asks.
"With what?" I reply.
"Wilma is not here yet."
Our beloved nanny was 20 minutes late and I had no idea why. Two minutes into our conversation, I get a call from the baby sitter. "Oh my God, the alarm didn't go off. I overslept.!" It was the first time in four years this has happened to Wilma, so we couldn't be that upset.
When I clicked to the other line, Steve says "Well that's great, I have a doctors appointment (with a specialist for a cough that won't go away) at 7:45AM. I have to wake up Amelia and take her with me. She's going to have to pick her up at Northwestern."
At this point, I should tell you that our nanny and my husband don't speak the same language, literally. She speaks very little English and he speaks very little Spanish. I am the official translator/mediator. Hence what followed was frantic phone calls and texts between the two parties in order to ensure the secure pick up of our first born.
"A minute thirty, Ana!" my cameraman Sean hollers from another room. I had one minute thirty seconds to turn off the mommy mode and go into reporter mode, ready to improvise about antiques. I ran in front of the camera, put my ear piece in my ear and heard our anchor say "Hi Ana".
That was it, my worlds were colliding on live TV at 7:39AM. I knew I looked and sounded flustered. I had no time to compose myself so I went for it:
"I'm sorry, my baby sitter is late. My husband has a doctor's appointment and neither one speaks the language. Anyway, we will be right back with more antiques and great jewelry from Winnetka."
I had a mini mommy meltdown on the air. It didn't feel right but I couldn't help it. Later on I received comments from fellow parents that saw it saying that they could totally relate. Actually the women working at the Antiques Show for our early broadcast told me that they had spent the morning putting out fires at the home front via text. Still, I wasn't proud of my public meltdown.
I did compose myself and finished all my segments with ease, plus I made sure that my daughter was in the safe hands of her baby sitter by the time the Morning Show was over. All in a days work I guess. Ay Mama!