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Why I’m a Total Phony

I’m a fake, a phony, a Chinatown knock-off. Like a lot of working moms, the scope of my job requires attention well beyond 40 hours per week, but I regularly near-kill myself squeezing it in so I can sprint to karate, a play date, the grocery store, a drive-thru…you get the idea. On the surface, I have it all under control, so it’s no surprise that I’m often asked this question: “Just how do you do it all?” Here’s the answer you’ve all been waiting for, folks (drum-roll, please): I don’t. I really, really don’t. How’s this for a press release? “Parenting magazine content director Ana Connery does NOT do it all. Single mom known to preach more than she practices.

Enter my momtourage. At the head of the pack is my mom, Maria. A native Spanish speaker (she’s from Cuba) who’s now retired and living in Miami, she’s my go-to gal. She doesn’t like to do much, which sounds like something that would take her out of the running as far as quality caregivers go, but it actually makes her perfect for the job because she’s always available. Whenever I have to travel for work, which is pretty darn often, she grabs a stack of Spanish tabloids to read and hops a bus four hours north to stay with my boy, Jav. Between you and me, I think she’s happy to take a break from my dad. An enterprising workhorse who last week painted the hall closet “just because,” the two have little in common (see photo at top).

On the off chance that Mom can’t swing it, my boyfriend, Mark, steps in to help. Just yesterday the two of them were involved in a tag-team operation. Jav was due to start first grade, but he was in Miami visiting the gramps and my presence was needed at one of those all-day meetings in a windowless conference room. Mark and Mom each drove two hours to the halfway point between our homes for what I like to call the Jav Handoff. Only this time, a blocked highway turned the project into an eight-hour traffic nightmare. Still, no one complained. I, on the other hand, apologized all day long—even in my sleep, from what I hear—but it fell on deaf ears. These people like me. They really, really like me. But perhaps more important, they love my kid. Between you and me, I think they’re happy to help (that’s my story and I am sticking to it).

Rounding out the momtourage is Ed, my ex, who loves filling out school and little league forms, as well as tracking doctor visits; my handy pop, Dan, who helps me with home repairs, amateur landscaping, that sort of thing. Erin, my neighbor and bestie down the block, is Old Reliable when I need to run to the store at 10 p.m. because I ran out of Pull-Ups. Even my colleague, Vicky, holds a spot on my momtourage; she’s been on the pick-up list at my son’s schools since our daycare days and often pitches in when my meetings run late.

So there it is, people. As it turns out, I don’t do anything. That’s because there’s nothing single about single motherhood, or any other type of motherhood. Everybody needs help. So polish those directing skills along with your diapering, cooking and whatever it is you do at work, because you’re going to need those most. If you don’t believe me, I’ll have someone show you.