Being a mom is awesome (except when it's really not)
I recently decided to only drink wine on Friday and Saturday nights. I decided this on a Sunday night, with a (large) glass of wine in hand.
And then Monday happened.
Disclaimer: if you are currently expecting your first baby, or planning a first baby, you might want to stop reading now. It’s better to stay in the blissful idea that parenting is all snuggles and kisses and fun trips to the park and soft baby skin. Trust me.
While parenting is all of those things, it is also a lot of other things. Things you didn’t even know you signed up for when your partner looked at you and said, “Aww, you’d make such a wonderful mom.”
This day actually begins on Sunday night, the same fateful night I foolishly swear off weekday wine, when my nearly five year old daughter begins screaming in agony in the bathroom, needing to pee every five minutes—the tell tale signs of a bladder infection. Not wanting to leave her in such pain until the next day, but not wanting to spend all night in the ER either, I call the urgent care service at our clinic. The doctor agrees with my diagnosis and phones in a prescription but says that my daughter would need to be seen the next day. But I am a flexible, self-employed Supermom, so no problem. Schedule rearranged. Ka-POW.
The next day, after multiple cries in the night, my daughter wakes me up, again, at 4:15am because she needs to pee. Again. (Yes, she is fully capable of peeing on her own. She just does not like to.)
I can’t fall back asleep and finally get up at 5:00 because I am meeting a friend at 5:30 to run. By the time I get back, she already seems much improved and decides she will be okay at school for a bit. Halfway to school, though, she needs to pee. Urgently. Rightnowmommyrightnow. But being exactly halfway, it makes the most sense to just keep going. Right?
So there I am, dragging my loudly sobbing, crotch-grabbing daughter towards school—obtaining all kinds of judgmental looks from passersby. And right at that moment, my son skids around the corner a block ahead of us and wipes out on his bike, clonking his (helmeted) head on the pavement.
I start running and yelling, heart in my throat, dragging my hiccupping, wailing, crotch-grabbing daughter behind me, calling out to my son who is lying underneath his bike, not moving. Terror. A kind man stops his car and helps my son up, who gets on his bike and keeps going. I exhale. We catch up to them at school and he is clearly dazed. I have exactly three hours to get my work done and get back to school so my daughter can get to her blood test and doctor’s appointment. But my son is spacing out and possibly concussed. I take him to a café.
An hour later, when I am sure he is all right, I bring him back to school and power walk back home. It is now 9:30am. I have ninety minutes to get three hours of work done. No problem, I tell myself. I got this.
I collect my daughter at 11:00am and take her to the lab for blood work. Like the awesome Supermom that I am, I brought her favourite stuffy to cling to while they jab the needle in her. But I am sweating. I should have brought a stuffy for myself. You see, while needles don’t faze me at all, I am still traumatized from when we took my son for a blood test and both my husband and I had to hold him down while he screamed and thrashed like we were pulling his toenails off. The memory still makes me shudder. I am determined that this round, with this child, will be better.
But of course since she has a bladder infection, we have to stop in the bathroom first.
We get to the waiting room and find it packed with senior citizens. Apparently 11:00am is a popular time for geriatric blood tests. So we wait. And wait. And wait. In my distraction over my son’s possible concussion, I had forgotten books or any other way to entertain my daughter. Averting disaster, I pull out a ballpoint pen from my purse and a feedback form I had received at a conference, flipping it over to the blank side. “Here,” I say with much enthusiasm. “You can draw!”
Then I notice she doesn’t have her stuffy. She says it’s in my purse. It is not in my purse. I realize that she left it in the bathroom. We go rushing back. It’s gone.
Wailing. Sobbing. Catastrophe. And we haven’t even done the blood test yet. I am having flashbacks of holding my son down. But mommy will save the day. She will. She must. We go to multiple offices and ask, until someone finally calls the superintendent, who miraculously has the runaway stuffy.
Mommy saves the day, indeed.
Back to the lab. We finally get in. My daughter is still as a stone. Needle goes in, not a peep, not a whimper. I am astounded. She gets bubble gum, a new birthstone ring and a feathery fan. She deserves it.
We have a quick lunch and head off to the clinic, where I try to collect a urine sample from my daughter who has to pee every five minutes but has nothing in her bladder. (Yes, this is the true glamour of motherhood. But it’s OK, flowers on one day of the year make it all better.)
When we finally get in, an hour and many pee catching trips later, the nurse practitioner tells me that she can’t do anything for us and it was useless for us to come in, and that I should have had her examined before starting her on antibiotics and what was I thinking, really, because maybe it could have just been an irritation and not an infection and maybe she is on antibiotics for nothing.
I am gobsmacked. I can feel red-hot heat flushing into my face. To my horror, I think tears might come. “I just did what the doctor told me,” I stammer, shocked at my own feeble voice. I am normally a confident, assertive person, but this day has simply been too much. I collect my daughter before I burst into tears and we head back home.
My saviour babysitter arrives and I have two precious hours to do the work that I meant to do that morning. Any thoughts of hitting the gym have vaporized. I quickly get my editing work done, rush out to buy meat for tacos (why must dinner happen every night?), and immediately pour a glass of wine.
It’s not Friday or Saturday, and I don’t care. (I don’t even know there’s more coming.)
My husband comes home and complains that his day was boring, oblivious to the very not-boring day that I’ve had. I take a big gulp, dreaming of a boring day and what that would be like, while heroically refraining from violence. He immediately heads out for a bike ride. I wish I were on a bike ride. But I had my run this morning, so I feed the kids and get them ready for bed.
As I’m trying to sneak in some laundry folding in my room (that glamour again), I hear a blood-curdling shriek from the bathroom. Not a normal little girl shriek. The kind of shriek where, as I sprint all out to the bathroom, I am sure that I will find a dismembered limb and my daughter on the floor bleeding out.
She is standing there, pants around her ankles, shrieking at the toilet. Out of her blubbering I finally discern that her ring, her new birthstone, reward-for-the- blood-test ring, has fallen in.
But Mommy always saves the day.
I rush downstairs to get a fork and, to my son’s horror, I fish around in the pee-filled bowl and carefully pull the ring out. Crisis averted. Everyone is OK.
We cuddle in for a story and soon they are off to dreamland.
I go downstairs to a mountain of dishes, toys all over the place, and lunches that need packing. It is nearly 9:00pm. I decide that calories and dollars and promises to cut back don’t count on days like today. I pour another glass of wine.
Because we are mothers. And tomorrow, we rise.