Mommy Mode, Even During Times of Crisis

Kimberly-MunleyMuch has been written about the heroism of Sgt. Kimberly Munley, one of the officers who fired on the Ft. Hood gunman last week and stopped his deadly shooting spree. But, I was even more impressed with her heroics after reading Debbi Wilgoren’s article in The Washington Post — Fort Hood cop’s priorities: Blood loss, day care. Here’s an excerpt:

In an extreme example of the multi-tasking familiar to moms everywhere, one of the police officers hailed as a Fort Hood hero says she had two priorities after she and another officer stopped a gunman who had just killed 13 people.

One: get a tourniquet applied to her thigh, bleeding heavily where a bullet had pierced her femoral artery.

Two: arrange for someone to pick up her toddler from day care.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley, 34, was interviewed on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning along with Sgt. Mark Todd, who also responded to the shooting. They appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Wednesday afternoon. …

The petite police officer, who stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, said she was hit by three bullets. One struck the knuckle of her right hand; one passed through her right knee, then hit her left leg; and one pierced the femoral artery in her left thigh.

“I knew from the amount of blood and the color of the blood that was coming out” of the thigh wound that it was gravely serious, Munley said, sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket spread over her legs.

The soldiers who ran to help her knew it, too; even as she urged them to get pressure on the wound, they were fashioning a tourniquet.

Bleeding stanched, Munley immediately entered what “Today” hosts Ann Curry and Meredith Viera — themselves working mothers — dubbed “Mommy Mode.” She located her cellphone and arranged for someone to pick up her 2-year-old daughter (an older daughter, age 12, presumably gets home from school on her own).

“So the balancing act of motherhood and being a police officer did not end, even at that moment, for you,” said Curry.

“Absolutely not,” Munley said, smiling slightly. “It never does.”

Regardless of the ages of our children, slipping into mommy mode is as automatic as breathing for most women. And, all of us have had moments where we’ve had to juggle the needs of our children at “inopportune” times while dealing with life’s other demands. While hopefully none of us have ever faced as extreme a situation as Sgt. Munley, I’m curious about what (and how) other Wise Women have had to multi-task their motherhood duties with work/volunteer/other life responsibilities. Do tell.


  • Anne Says:
    11-13-2009 10:31:50

    Munley clearly is a hero. My tribulations cannot compare, but I’ve thought about the mommy juggling act this week as Jack and Sam have been home sick all week with the flu, so between catering to them, trying to conduct a few conference calls and get a few work things done, placing ads in various places to find a home for a rooster, blog writing, and trying to figure out a last minute gift for my Mom’s 75th (was supposed to be with her until the boys got sick) have occupied my moments this week!

  • Barb Says:
    11-13-2009 13:13:12

    Yes, this definitely strikes a cord! Fortunately nothing so dramatic for me!
    A “few” years back, my wise hubby organised an amazing surprise 40th for me. What I thought would be an intimate dinner for about 8, turned out to be a dinner dance for about 50, including many who had travelled to the island of Jersey from the UK and the US. Once I realised the scope of the attendees, my first words were “I don’t have enough food in the house to feed all these people!” So maybe not “mommy mode” but definitely “hostess mode”. We still laugh about this.

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