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When You're Offered a Segment on National TV... and Turn It Down

Your kid is sick. What else could you do?

by Rachel S.  |  2030 views  |  3 comments  |        Rate this now! 

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?

About the Author

Rachel Sarah is the author of "Single Mom Seeking: Play Dates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World" and the single-mom columnist at Lifetime TV. She blogs at

Read more by Rachel S.

3 comments so far...

  • BlapherMJ -- so great to hear from you! Here's to healthy kids...

    Women Can Have It All -- I had to make a split second decision. Seriously, I had 30 seconds to decide, so they could move into the next possible single mom (whom I found for them). My kid was really sick, I chose her over TV.

    Mandy, thanks, you're so sweet.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rachel S. on 24th May 2008

  • Rachel - I totally agree with you! I too am a single mother -- I have 3 children. They have no relationship with their father, so "I'm it!" And yes, I've been in your position a few times -- missed out on a couple of awesome opportunities, but my kids needed me here! And I know I did the right thing.

    Especially when they are sick, kids need their mom! Even if you can't physically make them feel better,just being there comforts them. Good for you for staying where needed! As talented as you are, the opportunity will surely knock again!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by BlapherMJ on 21st May 2008

  • OK, I don't know you and you don't know me but if I was your friend and lived, say close enough, I'd have so kicked your butt out of the house and onto a plane while I took care of your daughter, even if she did make the whole family sick. What irony that you had to pass up the FABULOUS interview experience. But how great for both of you that you get to be mom, the one who's there to comfort and aid.

    I'm sorry you had to miss the opportunity but I know I would have done the same. I've had to turn down lucrative work over and over again because of my being Mom. I'm lucky to be able to work from home and still be a success but I could be BIGGER, I could be BETTER KNOWN, I could be IN DEMAND. But I have these two other responsibilities that I choose to put before my career and money.

    It doesn't make me a better mom. It just makes me MOM.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mandy Nelson - Dandysound on 9th May 2008