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My Rock-Bottom Mom Moment

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Sometimes you catch yourself taking one too many shortcuts or making a multitasking mom move you never thought you’d make and feel, well, disappointed in yourself. It’s not a fun realization but, for me, it was much-needed. And it involved chocolate bunnies…


I've been burning several candles at both ends lately. First, I’m in the midst of raising $100,000 in 10 weeks for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (in honor of my 10-year cancerversary—check out my site for how you can get involved!). We had a big event last week and four more in the next month so I’ve been running ragged with that. And my work schedule has been insane—insane like simultaneously writing three big, reported features for three huge women’s magazines. I also spent all day Saturday in the city shooting a TV interview for this Marie Claire story I worked on a couple of years ago (about my friend, Keri Potts, who escaped her would-be rapist in Rome). And those are just the highlights. Needless to say, I officially understand the meaning of “not enough hours in the day.” Despite how “crazy” my life has been in the past, I now know that it wasn’t that crazy. Anyway, all week I kept thinking I was going to have time to make Easter nice for the fam, to bake Easter cookies or hang our little eggs on the tree in the backyard or at the very least put together baskets with some meaningful trinkets and candy that didn’t make me cringe. I enjoy making a big deal out of the little things when it comes to holidays. And, well, that never happened. Here’s what happened instead:


At 6:30 Saturday night, after getting home from the city and running through the grocery store for last-minute brunch food for Easter (did I mention I was hosting Easter brunch for 16 people?), I had Nick pull up to CVS. Nick and Nora idled in the car outside while I buzzed down the aisles grabbing whatever picked-over crap I could find to fill the Easter baskets. And it was all crap. And the shelves were bare. As I tried to find two chocolate bunnies that weren’t broken or full of chemicals (fat chance), I thought, Wow. I suck. This is not the kind of mom I want to be. I’m better than this. I was embarrassed. It wasn't like I was grabbing a few extra things, I was just starting. And I still didn’t have what I needed. At checkout I grabbed two packs of starbursts. That’s how desperate I was.


Easter morning while the kids waited upstairs I ran down to my gift shelf in the basement and grabbed a few extra toys to toss in their baskets. We had the requisite Ruddy flip out when the pants I’d set out for Alex made him look like a preppy MC hammer (i.e., they were a tad too baggy). So he wound up going to church in ochre-colored skinny jeans, a purple and white checked button-down shirt, a Masters belt and brown slip-on shoes. (I actually thought he looked adorable but later that day, Nick told me he looked like a middle-aged British hipster.)


After church, everyone came back to our house for brunch and I had cooked nothing. I served bagels and lox and onion and capers and tomatoes (very Christian of us) and my bro in law had made an egg dish (tortilla) the day before that I reheated. And that was about it. Oh, and bloody Marys. Out of a bottle. Of course the moral of the story is all that matters is being together. And the kids loved their baskets and the brunch was perfect (though within five minutes of arriving, my father asked if I’d made my egg casserole thing I usually make—fail—and my mother inquired about the lack of horseradish in my bloodys—double fail). I also know that my current circumstances are extremely extenuating. There will only be one 10-year cancerversary fundraiser and it's over in five weeks. And I will never allow my work schedule to get this intense again. I can let myself slide this time. And I know the picture I painted wasn't that bad. At all. But it was for me. It's not the kind of mom or daughter or wife or host I want to be. This has all been a good reality check—that this can never be my reality. I am loving all the things I’m doing (even the work has been great) and this campaign is so so so important to me. But I also love the life I’ve carved out for myself, a life that gives me plenty of down time to buy fun Easter stuff and make homemade goodies for my guests. I know now more than ever what is important to me. So as lame as I felt scouring CVS for chocolate bunnies Saturday night, I'm grateful that it happened. 

Hope you guys enjoyed your holiday weekends! And if you have an rock-bottom mom moments to share, please do!