A day in the life of a busy mom, including a juggling act of the roles of nurse, chef, journalist, and chief negotiator:
My two boys have the flu and today I had to do my reporting for the local papers from home. Working from home is so much harder than being in the office. Try writing four articles with sick little boys running around. While I was making their lunch they ransacked my desk, took my collection of business cards out of my bag and used them in a game they called “snowing.” I thought the flu supposedly knocked kids out, so why were mine racing around my dining room table all day?
I wondered this as I spotted my cell phone across the room in the hands of my youngest. My frantic expressions caused him to laugh like an evil leprechaun I once saw in a bad movie.
“Give me that phone right now!” I said, running after him. I had been making business calls on it all morning.
He slid behind the couch and began pressing keys.
“If you hit re-dial you’ll be in big trouble!” I threatened. But it was too late; a line of numbers appeared on the screen. I lunged for the phone as my youngest threw it up in the air.
I caught it and landed on the couch. Both boys observed my awesome play.
“Hello,” I said, cringing, knowing the number my three year-old had pranked probably belonged to someone I had interviewed earlier.
A school superintendent greeted me.
“I must have accidentally called you. I’m sorry,” I explained, giving my three-year-old a look that made him and his innocent brother turn and bolt for the den.
Next I was at my desk trying to write, but I could not concentrate because my oldest was yelling.
“You have to stop shouting,” I told him. I realized that he was acting out the book in his hand, SpongeBob’s Crazy Comics II, to amuse his brother.
“But Mommy, I’m just reading with fluency,” he said.
My eyes widened. Show me a parent who can argue that.
Somehow, I got my work done before the next interruption, which involved a request for snacks.
“All this sickness is making me hungry,” little brother announced.
It was time to administer flu medication, anyway, so we all went into the kitchen. Of course, my youngest wouldn’t take his. His fever made him look as if he were visibly boiling, he was so red-in-the-cheeks. His little lips were clamped shut in defiance of me and modern medicine. I really couldn’t blame him. Liquid Tamiflu looks like barium sulfate. First I tried reasoning with him.
“You need to take this so your body will get well again. I know it tastes bad, but you need it to feel better.”
“Never,” he said, gallantly.
“Who do you think you are, anyway, Mister,” I asked, losing patience. He handed me a business card belonging to an Islip Town Councilman.
“Although I am impressed, you still have to take your Tamiflu,” I said, laughing.
Clearly, the situation called for bribery. I keep a cookie jar full of assorted lollipops on a kitchen shelf for such emergencies. My youngest peered into the jar and shook his head in disapproval.
“Nope,” he said, curtly.
Luckily, before I could jump on him and pry open his mouth, I was graced with another idea.
“Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way!” I sang, while adding sugar to the dosage cup.
He watched, cautiously curious. I extended my hand and after a pause he accepted the tiny cup, drinking its contents in full. Then my youngest slammed the empty cup down on the kitchen table, smiling.
“That’s what I am talkin’ bout, Mama,” he said.
At that point, the day seemed very long. I could not help but thank God and Mary Poppins aloud.
“Um, Mommy, you should actually be thanking the creator of the character Mary Poppins, since she is not real,” my oldest corrected me.
“Excuse me. Thank you, P.L. Travers,” I said.
Oh, how I miss the office!
Bio: Loren Elizabeth Christie is a blogger and journalist from New York.
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