Posted by Fitz

I get stressed out a lot – too much, really.  It can be over work, over the pile of laundry I have to do, over big decisions…like I said, too much, really.  You’d think that, based on this self-assessment, I’d have experienced stress to the nth degree, but I hadn’t.  Who knew?

Picture this: last week, I’m driving home from a client site going north on I95 in Fairfield County at 4:45.    I’m happy, because I’m going home earlier than planned to meet Beanie and my dear husband at home.  I give him a call to tell him I’m on my way, and as soon as he picked up I knew something was wrong.  “Fitz,” he said.  “I’m stuck on the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk.  I don’t think I’m going to make it to daycare on time for pickup!”

The terror in his voice made it clear that it was up to me to get our Bean before she was the last one left, in a dark school, with annoyed teachers who were going to charge us extra.  The problem?  I was also in Norwalk, as I mentioned, and traffic on 95 is a given.  We were on two parallel highways trying to get to the same place, with the same literal and figurative roadblocks in front of us.  Who would get there first?  Would it be on time?  Was our Bean distressed because we weren’t there yet?

This, my friends, was stress.  With a capital S. 

Let me tell you, I’ve never driven so aggressively (or with such road rage).  I weaved, I wove, I beeped, and I cursed, but manners didn’t matter in my quest to make it to school before pickup.  The 10 miles – and 40 minutes – that it took me to get there were some of the longest in my life.  It seems ridiculous to say that, but hell hath no anxiety like a mom and dad who are both going to be late for pickup and can’t do a frigging thing about it.  Our hearts were pounding.

I ended up getting to the school two minutes late.  She wasn’t the last one there, luckily, but she had been waiting for me.  “Mommy, what took you so long?” she said before she gave me a big hug around the neck.  That’s why, on occasion, I still harbor a bit of guilt for working.  It’s why I can’t stop wondering if my career and motherhood are not a good fit.  It’s when I remember, with a shot through the heart, that my top priority is three feet tall and sassy. 

Being late to daycare one time is certainly not the end all and be all for my career, obviously, but it felt like it on that particular day.   So when you’re driving home from work and see a man or woman driving like a crazy person with a manic glint in their eyes, just let them pass.  They probably have a cutie pie that needs picking up.

photo credit: http://blogs.cars.com/photos/mother_proof_december/roadrage500.jpg

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