Where’s a Hole I Can Crawl In and Die When I Need One?

Okay. Every working mom knows what it feels like to juggle the extra pressure of looking and sounding “together” professionally while frantically juggling 12 kid-and-family things in the background. I do, at least. And sometimes … I fail spectacularly.

Yesterday, I assumed it would be fine. I had only three different hats to wear before 3 p.m.—Piece of cake, I thought! I had my every-two-weeks’ meeting with my staff all morning (“boss hat”), and was going to swing by to say hi to the kids and the babysitter at the pool afterward (“mom hat”), on my way to a nearby meeting that I’d been asked to attend (“author hat”).

But what to wear for such a day? Now that is the question.

I’m a pretty casual person by inclination, and since I spend so much of the rest of the year dressed up for speaking engagements and such, I really don’t think as much about what I’m wearing during my summer “down time.”

Sigh.

So yesterday, since the afternoon meeting was the only question mark, instead of jeans I opted for a pair of black stretchy pants, a casual but new bright-pink summer sweater, nice sandals and jewelry. I had no idea what the afternoon meeting was about. All I knew was that someone was in town from a large, well-known relationship-oriented organization, and had asked to meet with me for an hour.

After my morning staff meeting, I drove up to the pool, got out of the car … and immediately started sweating in the 90-degree heat. I spent a bit of time with the kids, watching them play in the water, getting my son lunch at the snack bar, trudging back and forth with stuff to the babysitter’s car, and then headed out for my mystery meeting.

By then, I was so sweaty I might as well have run a mile—my hair had lost every stitch of styling, all of my makeup had melted off, my new bright-pink sweater looked like wilted lettuce, and the dye was bleeding onto my wet skin.

I looked like a refugee who had slept in a sweltering airport overnight.

And I didn’t have a brush. Or a comb. Or my makeup bag.

There was literally nothing I could do to pull myself together, other than frantically try to dry myself off for 60 seconds in the ladies’ room. It wasn’t enough.

When I walked up to the woman waiting to meet me, I looked so unlike the nice pictures on my website, that she didn’t recognize me.

By then, I was probably as pink as my sweater.

She, on the other hand, looked perfectly pulled together. The perfect hair, makeup, beautiful dress, and platform pumps—she looked like she walked off the pages of a fashion magazine.

Clearly, she was viewing this get-together as a quite serious professional meeting, not taking it nearly as casually as I was.

Where’s a hole I can crawl in and die, when I need one?

Oh well, I thought, I’ll probably never see her again, right? And what is this meeting about, anyway?

“We want to invite you to join our board.”

You know how God always seems to ensure that we don’t take ourselves too seriously? Yeah.

One day I’m sure I’ll stop wincing in embarrassment when I think of that meeting.

Until then … I’m keeping a brush in the car.

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