If you're thinking about having a baby and starting to consider work-life balance (or if you just want to commiserate) you may be following some of the discussion Marissa Mayer's set off around the web with her changes at Yahoo! But I'm not convinced it's always the big things that make working moms feel like they will never achieve work-life balance and raise their stress levels. Here's one of the little things. I was later to work one day this week than I like to be by about 15 minutes. The reason: At 10 minutes to departure time my toddler got into my fridge (mea culpa about the latch: I was adding milk to my thermos-to-go.) He opened a jar and poured its contents down his front and onto the floor. It was maple syrup. Then I picked him up. So that was two people to change into new outfits, one set of hair to de-goo (not mine, thankfully), and one floor to wipe up (my seven-year-old is a champ). As well as a few tears, and I'll let you assume they were my son's. Work-life balance indeed! Of course there are ways to avoid being late even if your toddler's antics do eat into your day: A friend of mine who absolutely cannot be late for work drops her child off a hour early just to be sure, but then that hour is added onto a full workday in terms of cost of childcare and the amount of time her child spends in group care. This is part of the balancing act: If the drop-off time I pay and aim for works 95% of the time, is that okay? I will share that sometimes it's these small moments that, if they add up at a bad time, start to make me feel like the juggling act is incredibly precarious. Because although you might not know it this year, I hate being late. I know that parenting has given me a lot that I bring to my job; in many ways I am more focused and productive than I was at the start of my career. I also know that this particular high-intensity, low-predictability phase of parenting is going to end in about another year, year and a half...because I've been through it before. Of course then other challenges start but - not the maple-syrup handprints! I did not get a picture, but I will next time...because you know there will be a next time.