It’s Monday, barely 8:12 in the morning and already my mommy insecurities get triggered all at once by a phone call from a number I recognize on my cell phone screen: the school nurse.
School just started twelve minutes ago, but already my daughter has had time to decide she doesn’t feel well enough to learn… except, well maybe.
With a note in her hand she explains to the nurse that her throat hurts so much that she can’t talk. “It doesn’t seem irritated,” the nurse tells me. “She explained to me that it hurts a lot but that she wants to stay in school. She has an important weekend coming up in swimming and a dance and doesn’t want to be out, so I made her a deal: If someone can come and bring her pain medication she should be fine,” said the kind nurse.
Silence on my end. Brain going 50 miles per hour.
Sensing my hesitation, the sweet lady continues: “Tylenol would be fine, although ibuprofen might be better.” After a few awkward seconds of silence (I was talking in my head, just not aloud), she asks: “can you come and bring it to her?”
“Monday is my busy day”, I say with all kinds of doubt and trepidation. “It’s probably allergies. Yesterday morning she said it hurt and by the afternoon she was yelling and playing like always. I mean, I could go but I would rather try to not go, but I could if it’s necessary… Can we give her time?”
She seems confused by my words. So do I. “Well, we can see if she improves, as long as you’re reachable,” she replies. “Yes!” I say, feeling half relieved, half like a total failure as a mom.
Mondays are, in fact, my busy days. I work from home writing online and on Mondays I have to send a newsletter. As a mom and creative procrastinator, I usually do most of my work Sunday night and Monday morning so my week can remain flexible for other responsibilities and kids’ activities. I work well under pressure, so I imposed Monday’s deadline on myself so I could work more efficiently and concentrate better. That is obviously not going to be the case today.
I get off the phone and sit down in front of my computer to write. “Risks of a cesarean section”, is the heading on my Word document, and my brain kicks into auto-pilot:
What if it really hurts? Am I just not picking her up because it’s not convenient for me? What kind of mom am I? I gave up the well-paid office job so I could be there for my kids when they need me. I should go take her the medicine…
But what do I want her to learn from this experience? She knows my Mondays are busy. Do I want her to think that my life is not important and I will drop everything to bring her a Tylenol? Is that would I want her to do? Put herself last?
If it was a real emergency I would go, of course. This is just allergies.
But what if it is strep throat? It is always strep throat; it is always going around. I don’t even understand strep throat. How can it be this perennial, invincible illness capable of causing any and all symptoms imaginable? One neighbor said her son was having hallucinations and they were worried about some sort of brain tumor. Then the doctor told them he had strep and that it could be one of the symptoms. That is ridiculous. Strep throat is so contagious. If one of the kids has it, I might as well buy antibiotics and new $20 Sonicare toothbrush heads for all three of them.
It’s probably allergies. A friend just posted on Facebook that her allergies are terrible this morning and she can’t even speak. That’s it! But still, being miserable at school is not fun.
What would a good mom do? I should call one and ask her… She would run to school, take her the Tylenol – or ibuprofen, because she would instinctively know it’s a better choice today – plus a hot chocolate, and then sit in the parking lot to make sure she feels better. I can’t do that. I guess technically I could, but that’s not what I feel I should do (have you read my article of why I take hot chocolate to my children at school?).
If they call me again I’ll go. Maybe I should call to check on her… But then I would have to go through the whole awkward do-I-really-have-to-go conversation again with the nurse, so I better not call. I wish they would call me and tell me she’s ok. I wish I could text her and ask her if she’s ok. Ugh… we shouldn’t have taken her cell phone away. It would be much easier if I could communicate with her directly and “feel” her. I can do that – talk to her and know what she’s thinking. Or I used to be able to do that before she became a tween. Now she has changed so much and she even seems hormonal. Gosh, not looking forward to that.
I hope she’s ok. I hope it is just allergies and she can go to her swim meet this weekend. I am really proud of her that she qualified for it. Not exactly because she qualified, but that her hard work is paying off. It would suck to have to swim if your throat hurts, though. How would that even work?
It’s 9:00 now and no phone call yet. Should I call? Maybe I’ll just email her teacher. I don’t have the best relationship with her teacher this year. I used to volunteer at the school and be room mom so I could get to know the kids’ teachers and friends, but now the school doesn’t allow that. That’s too bad.
Ok, I just emailed the teacher. I hate to bother her during the day, when I know she’s busy, but I was super polite and hopefully if she has a second she’ll reply.
I should take advantage of the time and get some work done, in case I do need to go pick her up. I guess I’ll try to concentrate one more time and write about cesarean sections…
I didn’t have cesarean sections. I was very lucky and had wonderful natural births. At least that’s how I remember them. I’m sure at the time I didn’t think that contractions were wonderful. Their births were a mixture of joy, anxiety, nervousness, pain, shock and so much more. I wish I could experience that moment again, minus the kid, of course. I love babies, but my hands – and my head! – are pretty full with three kids.