15 Mar When a Professional High and a Personal Low Collide: A Working Mom’s Nightmare

When I heard the story, I instinctively covered my mouth in shock. Nada Jones was describing every working mom’s biggest fear come to life. It was the night of her big launch. Her women entrepreneurs’ conference was kicking off in one hour and she was getting her hair done in preparation. While the hair dryer was buzzing in her ear, she held the phone up to the other and heard her husband’s words: “Don’t worry. Everything will be okay…” She burst into tears. As she tells it, at that moment she knew that it wasn’t.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Sophia, had broken her arm falling off the monkey bars. She was in the emergency room. Nada was minutes away from addressing hundreds of women at the conference that evening and the next morning the first full day would begin.

Nada’s working mom “Choose Your Own Adventure” moment had arrived.

It would be understandable if Nada had chosen to bow out of her role as host and leader of the event given her child’s unexpected accident. She would have missed the opening night and skipped the next day so she could hold her daughter’s hand while her cast was set.

In that moment she could have been giving up the longevity of the conference (she plans to run it annually) and the related businesses (she is launching an online magazine), to be there with her daughter at the hospital. The professional risks were high.

The personal risks were low because her husband was able to be with her daughter throughout this ordeal and he had already taken two days off with the intention of using them to help with the conference.

What Nada Jones did next is a lesson for all working moms.

While Nada was getting the day going, her husband accompanied their daughter to get her cast. And they decided that their daughter would spend the rest of that day and the next one at the conference; in the green room with the guest speakers.

What started out as a practical solution to keep Nada’s daughter near her and to allow her husband to help with the conference, turned into a treasure trove of experiences. Her daughter ate up the attention her purple cast garnered and loved meeting the extraordinary speakers.

As working moms, we all face our own daily struggles but how we handle them can determine our future success and offer lessons for our children who watch how we adapt to unexpected situations. There were a a couple of factors that Nada took into account when making her decision:

  1. The Involved HusbandNada’s husband used two of his vacation days to support an important event in his wife’s career. It turns out his support was needed more on the home front than at work.
  2. The Entrepreneur’s Blessing and CurseMost of us work in an environment where we have colleagues that can substitute for us in an emergency. As an entrepreneur, Nada didn’t have that luxury but she did have the flexibility to bring her daughter to work without asking for permission.

What Nada did was heroic. She made a decision guided by her future and her resources rather than her guilt. Nada was able to keep the trains moving at the conference and her daughter received the love and attention she needed, all while sharing in her mom’s work experience. As a working mom, Nada created memories and inspiration for her daughter – to last years longer than the cast.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author, media personality and speaker, passionate about helping working moms to design a successful and happy lifestyle. Please share stories about your challenging decisions at samantha@samanthaettus.com or connect with her @samanthaettus.

To read this article on Forbes, please click here.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.