Cereal at Midnight

By: LUMO Leaders

- Publish On: April 14, 2022

Hello mothers and others,

Why is it that we are so quick to rattle off all the ways we’re falling short instead of all the ways we’re crushing it?

This week, several of my clients started our calls by providing me with a laundry list of ways they were failing as moms. “I took a work call when I was at the zoo with my kids.” “I made mac and cheese for dinner three times this week.”  “My kids watched way too much tv so I could catch up on work over the weekend.” “I didn’t plan a fun spring break.” I asked them what they were making all this mean about themselves, and they all had the same answer. I AM A BAD MOM.  

OUCH. And of course, this is the farthest thing from the truth. These women are stellar parents; loving, kind and generous. And yet, they were beating themselves up for being human while doing their best to keep all the plates spinning.

This made me think of a story I heard way back before I was mom. I was so moved that I’ve carried its profound message with me to this day. 

Back in the 90s, Kate Collinger, the 11-year-old daughter of a woman who had recently died of cancer, was on Oprah. Kate was invited to the show to talk about the last year of her mom’s life and share all the amazing experiences the family packed into those twelve months. Disneyland, Paris, rafting, stellar birthday parties. Epic adventures and wonderful memories were created.

But this is something I will never forget.  Oprah asked Kate what her favorite memory of that year was and it wasn’t any of the big ticket items. It was sharing cereal at midnight.

Kate told Oprah that the week before her mom died, she asked her mom to wake her up if she couldn’t sleep. That night her mom did and together they went downstairs to the kitchen, sat at the table and shared bowls of cereal while chatting deep into the night.

Her favorite memory wasn’t a huge trip or an extravagant party. It was Cheerios and togetherness. I would think of this often in the early days of my parenting journey. On those days when I felt like I was a failure as a mom or when I worried that I wasn’t giving my kids the “perfect” childhood. I would think of Kate’s words and what she said really mattered most to her. Just sitting at the table enjoying special moments with her mom.

Think about it for yourself. When do you feel the most loved and cared for? My guess is that it’s when you’re listened to, or when your partner makes you a cup of coffee just the way you like it or when you get a funny Tik Tok from your bestie because she knows you’re having a hard day.

The next time you’re beating yourself up for being human or for not creating a Pinterest childhood for your kids, remember Kate and her mom.  

It’s all about cereal at midnight. 


If you want to know more about Kate Collinger’s story, click here. Follow-Up: The ‘Cheerios Girl’ Who Warmed Oprah’s Heart – Video

 With love,

Sheila  & the LUMO team

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