Recently, when The Mike and Juliet Show
(Fox TV) asked me to fly to New York City to appear as an expert for "a segment on single moms," I silently screamed, "Yes!"
I knew exactly what I'd wear. I wasn't sure about the shoes, so I'd pack a couple of pairs in my light overnight bag, the kind you wheel onto the plane. I'd sip a glass of wine in my seat, as I jotted down my "talking points" for the show. Maybe I'd even take a nap.
But the soft whining from the other room shook me from my fantasy. My daughter was home with a virus. It wasn't one of those 24-hour bugs, either. Mae had already missed two days of second grade with a 102 fever. Her cheeks were flushed. She could barely sit up.
Still, I flashed on all the possible options. Maybe my dad could drive in from the city and spend the night? No, he wouldn't feel comfortable. Although my dad spends one fabulous afternoon a week with his granddaughter, he has never had her overnight. (I haven't pushed it, since Grandpa's snoring would probably keep her up all night.) Maybe one of my mom-friends could take Mae for the night? That would be perfect, except for the fact that she'd infect their daughters, too.
Wasn't this the break I'd been looking for? I've never been very good at making big, spontaneous decisions like this one. Could I leave my feverish daughter and fly across the country? Yes! This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! We're talking national TV.
Then, my guilt kicked me in the butt. My kid was sick. She needed her mommy.
So, I called the TV station and declined. Well, first I asked if there was any way they might send a cameraman out to my place to get a true-life glimpse of single motherhood, in all its glory. But no.
As much as I wanted to dash off to Manhattan, I wouldn't go. I wouldn't choose TV over my child.
Have you ever had to make a huge decision like this one, between your children and your career? Say, your job offered to fly you to Los Angeles and put you up in a fancy hotel -- right on the beach, with a spa package included -- to attend an important conference. But your kid was the narrator in the school play that night. Have you ever had to decide between one or the other?
What did you do?