One week ago today Brenda Gaddi was giving her opening remarks for Digital Parents Conference 2013. One week ago today I was sitting there thinking ‘6 months work as Session Co-ordinator and we’re finally going to unleash it all over 2 days’. One week ago today I got the phone call about 3 minutes into Brenda’s opening address from my 7 year old son’s school telling me he has a bad fall and may have broken his arm.

Big fat OUCH!

At that moment all I could think was ‘today? It had to happen today?’ Mr M was also contacted so he was all over it. Going to the school, picking up our son taking him straight to emergency.

Meanwhile the two of us are trying to find someone who could take our 3 year old while this madness was unfolding. My mind drifted away from the conference.

As I sat through the Blogging With Adversity session I was receiving text messages from Mr M advising that yes it was definitely a broken arm and it most definitely looked like it would need surgery. Seeing the x-ray of said broken arm broke my heart.

At this point I was conflicted; my professional self was saying ‘keep your shit together; there’s still a conference going on here’ while my mothering side was saying ‘my poor little boy; he must be freaking out and in so much pain’.

But listening to Rachel from Mummy Muddles, Tiff from My Three Ring Circus and Lori from RRSAHM brought me back into line. My son has a broken bone; my son has his father with him; my son is in a hospital where they are managing his pain and putting together a plan of action to sort this mess out.

Rachel, Tiff and Lori have harrowing stories to tell. Mine is not harrowing.

I left the conference to see my son (my mother cub side); I went back to the conference to present my session on producing video posts (my professional side).

That evening I did a shift change with Mr M; he went home to be with our other kids and I did the overnight shift at the hospital with my newly operated on and very sore 7 year old.

The next morning I was thinking ‘I don’t care about the conference; somebody else can look after it, I’m EXHAUSTED!”.

And then I looked at the twitter feed for #DPCON13, The Myth of Having It All session was on, I could see from the feed that there was healthy debate going on in the room.

What got me at my core was Lisa Lintern’s tweet “The desire to be with your child and the ambition that fuels a career are terribly conflicting emotions. But they are very real.”

That tweet encapsulated me right at that moment. Lisa may have been talking women fighting the good fight on a daily basis but right in that moment I had a son who needed a parent and I had conference I worked damn hard on for 6 months happening without me.

And to be honest, I wanted BOTH. I wanted to look after my son; I wanted to be at the conference.

If this really were an either/or issue then of course I would choose my son. But I still wouldn’t feel good about having to miss out on the conference. I’ve been down that road before.

So I went back to the conference. My son was at home with Mr M and I went back. I walked into the room, talked to a whole bunch of bloggers and watched the rest of the conference unfold.

I may not have been so lucky if Brenda (founder of the conference) wasn’t so understanding; and that I truly appreciate.

It’s hard for mums to let go. I can’t break it down for you and tell you why it is, but any mums reading this right now will be nodding in agreement I’m sure. I had to learn to step back. I had to say that it’s okay that I wasn’t with my son for the entire duration of the ordeal. His father was with him when I was not. His father would also take a bullet for him. His father was probably feeling just as protective as I was and wanted to there with him too.

The conference in a way forced me to step back and let Mr M step up. This is not a bad thing. This is not something to feel guilty about.

Clint is a stay-at-home-dad who blogs at Reservoir Dad was recently quoted in an article on saying “he sees a role for himself in the blog as a positive way of changing society’s ideas about being a dad and parenting generally.”

Damn straight.


  • At 2013.03.28 10:37, Daisy said:

    Mrs. M! I love this post. LOVE it! I have recently been slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am not entirely necessary at every.single.thing that happens to our children – as long as parents Pal and I can coordinate for one of us to be there for them, then we are doing our duty. It’s so hard to let go though! I think we have it ingrained in us that it’s all on us, all on our heads and shoulders and we must carry the burden of these kinds of ordeals on our own – I’m so glad that we are living in a time where we can teach our kids that mothers and fathers are equally important in the home and the workplace!
    P.S. Hope Mr 7 is feeling better!

    • At 2013.03.28 12:43, Maria said:

      Hi Daisy,

      Master 7 is getting better. It’s amazing how easily we fall into that trap. I thought I was ‘smarter’ than that.

      My very own mother played the ‘so where are you right now?’ card. Not fun.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      Love & stuff
      Mrs M

    • At 2013.03.28 10:40, Brenda said:

      Hope he’s feeling a little bit better, Maria. x

      • At 2013.03.28 12:44, Maria said:

        Hey Ms Brenda,

        We’re getting there. He’s a sensitive soul 😉 And you know the night before the conference when I was backing everything up onto the hard drive I said to Mr M “well if something goes wrong and I can’t be there at least it can all still go head” Gawd, it’s like I jinxed myself.

        And I do appreciate you understanding when I had to leave for part of the conference.

        Love & stuff
        Mrs M

      • At 2013.03.28 10:54, Fi @ My Mummy Daze said:

        Seriously, this was the worse timing for you Maria! You did what you had to do and your Mummy’s Boy still felt completely loved and supported by you. I would have felt horribly torn as well – especially to see that x-ray!! Sad face! Great to see you though, and you certainly held it all together well! Fi xx

        • At 2013.03.28 12:51, Maria said:

          Hi Fi,

          The timing was bad but as someone pointed out, I didn’t see his broken arm, only when it was in a cast. Could be a blessing in disguise because I don’t think I could have handled it.

          It’s amazing how well we can handle situations like that. On Friday though I was a collapsed mess.

          It’s only been a week. Seems like a lifetime.

          Thanks for the comment.

          Love & stuff
          Mrs M

        • At 2013.03.28 10:55, Farmers Wifey said:

          Hope your little guy is on the mend and comfortable. Everything happens at once doesn’t it!!! Sounds like you had it all under control though xo Michelle

          • At 2013.03.28 12:53, Maria said:

            Oh Michelle, under control? I’m glad it looked that way. We were still trying to put on a show.

            I think I was behaving like a shark. Just keep moving, just keep smiling and it will all turn out. 🙂

            Thanks for the visit.

            Love & stuff
            Mrs M

          • At 2013.03.28 12:14, Cam @ notunimportant said:

            Great post.

            As I read, I got more and more worried that you weren’t going to let Mr M help out with your internal struggle. But, of course, you already knew this struggle belongs to parents now, not just mothers. We’ve got to keep telling these stories—and fighting the fight—until there’s nothing to see here except the mundane routine of parents making it work.

            • At 2013.03.28 13:02, Maria said:

              Hi Cam,

              Thanks so much for your comment.

              I love your line “until there’s nothing to see here except the mundane routine of parents making it work”.

              It’s so true. It needs to stop being a talking point. And I am the sort of person who is happy to ‘let’ (sic) the husband wash the dishes, vacuum, shop etc. In fact it’s how we operate daily.

              But it’s so interesting in those time of crisis we let logical thought rush out the window. Just goes to show no matter how progressive we think we are, sometimes those old stereotypes lie deep within and we have to smart enough to recognise them when they surface.

              And I think my husband would have stepped aside if I absolutely demanded that I be by my son’s side the whole time. I think there’s something in our language about mothers and their children that isn’t said so often about fathers and their children – only in Hollywood films.

              I’ve almost written another post.

              Thanks for the visit.

              Love & stuff
              Mrs M

            • At 2013.03.28 12:20, Kirrily said:

              Poor little mite! I hope he’s in much less pain now.
              This was an excellent post, Maria. You’re so right. That perspective is what we need, what we sometimes lose sight of. It is also very hard to let go a bit so that they have their own experiences and it’s OK if we’re not there for all of them. Doesn’t mean they will suffer or that you love them any less. Quite the opposite sometimes xxx

              • At 2013.03.28 13:10, Maria said:

                Hi Kirrily,

                And you know what, it’s not even that Mr M was since Master 7, but my other kids saw that their dad can be the one at the hospital while I organised the rest of them. Collected them from school, organised a babysitter so I could go back to the conference to do my session.

                Luckily the conference was literally 10 minutes from my house. In a strange way maybe the universe was kind of looking out for me. Imagine if this happened last year when we were in Melbourne???

                Thanks for visit Kirrily.

                Love & stuff
                Mrs M

              • At 2013.03.28 13:20, Lisa Lintern said:

                I’m so glad my tweet reached you at the right time. I’m also so glad that we are allowing ourselves to talk more about the reality of those conflicting desires. The more we discuss it, the more we can all mobilise – mums and dads – to be the best we can for everyone…for our kids and for ourselves. Hope your little man is mending quickly. x

                • At 2013.04.01 22:41, Maria said:

                  Hi Lisa,

                  Yes your tweet really jolted me back from giving up really. Very well timed tweet.

                  Love & stuff
                  Mrs M

                • At 2013.03.28 14:14, Grace said:

                  Oh, Maria! I remember sitting next to you and just seeing you so torn. But you did good my friend. For your family and the conference you worked so damn hard for. In fact, you did bloody great! xxx

                  • At 2013.04.01 22:42, Maria said:

                    Thank you lovely Grace. It is hard. And you know me, I’m not the particularly emotional type. Having said that, I’ve never been put in such a tricky situation before either.

                    Love & stuff
                    Mrs M

                  • At 2013.03.28 19:32, Catherine said:

                    Hey Maria. Great post! And the conflicting realities of parenthood and professional life do need to be shared more…the realities of parenthood, I guess. Lovely to chat more at the dinner…hope he is feeling better and that you are okay too. x

                    • At 2013.04.01 22:46, Maria said:

                      Hi Catherine,

                      We really need a passing of the guard on that old stereotype. My own mother was questioning my motives; and that can be kind of hard to fight against.

                      Thanks for the visit.

                      Love & stuff
                      Mrs M

                    • At 2013.03.29 01:25, Twitchy said:

                      Oh dearest Maria, you did wonderfully! Horrible timing, true but sometimes families need to be tested to prove they can do things differently and still make it. Not even a blip on the scale after the things I heard at the conference, but I’d left my two children in their dad’s care for 4 days and 3 nights to buzz off interstate. We’ve all never done that before. Nor I with the public speaking! But it all worked out. You should be proud of yourself and don’t listen to anyone who says different!! xxx

                      • At 2013.04.01 22:48, Maria said:

                        Twitchy lovely,

                        Stuff like that happen just to remind us that we’re all still alive and not just plodding along in our comfort zones. You finished of DPCON13 wonderfully.

                        Love & stuff
                        Mrs M

                      • At 2013.03.30 21:27, I Love YOUR Blog said:

                        […] over at Mums Word shared a touching post called DPCON and Broken Bones speaking about her sons broken arm during […]

                        • At 2013.04.01 20:26, Denyse Whelan said:

                          Oh Maria, I felt for you when I saw the twitter feed as I couldn’t attend Day one. Then when I got to hug an exhausted Mumma on Thursday I could see the events (personal impacting professional) had taken their toll – sleeping next to son’s hospital bed not conducive to rest. I like the take everyone here has on this too- you know the conflict & we do too and as long as you keep your mother’s voice out of it you did exactly right!!
                          Love D

                          • At 2013.04.01 22:50, Maria said:

                            Hi Denyse,

                            As exhausted as I was it felt good to be there for him. I think I was lucky and struck the right balance and with a husband who is on the same page as me.

                            Thanks for the visit and comment.

                            Love & stuff
                            Mrs M

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