When bad things happen to sort-of okay moms

Big girl panties - 1

Once upon a time there was a mom.

Sometimes, she liked to think she was a goodish mom.

Sometimes, she just couldn’t even.

This time is one of those times.

Right now, at this precise moment, she would get a F, or a more PC ,Failure to meet Requirements grade by the maternal inquisitorial squad. This squad, however, is unable to provide any more punishment than she is current undergoing and they’re standing around holding their G&Ts and laughing.

This mom, we’ll just call her Mom with a capital letter, is currently having a crisis of faith, a breakdown or a fit of hysterics, depending on your point of view. She may also be tottering on the brink of calling time-out and spending the rest of the day (week, year or life) in the nearest adults-only bar with G&T on tap.

Mom knows that she extremely privileged to have three beautiful children, a husband and her mother close by. She knows that many parents struggle by on their own against impossible odds. She has enormous respect and awe for these persons. They are much better at adulting, clearly.

Currently, however, her gratitude is somewhat marred by:

  • One child with concussion due to having his head beaten repeatedly against a wall at school, who has to row at SA Champs on Friday. R4000 later of CT scans and neurologists and cortisone.
  • One boat that has somehow to be magically levitated to said regatta.
  • One rowing coach having several litters of kittens, none of which I can offer homes to.
  • One child with tonsillitis.
  • One husband in Zambia sending WhatsApps and then Facebook messages saying the same thing in staccato one word bursts – Not. Unlike. Captain. Kirk. Of. Star. Trek.
  • One mother in hospital.
  • One father in the UK sending beautiful photos of his serene front lawn covered in perfectly white snow.
  • One father-in-law nearing the final bridge between this world and the next.
  • One blocked drain.
  • One dead dishwasher.
  • One enormous wall cabinet taking up the entire width of the garage fallen over erupting tools and bits of car engine all over the floor and teetering on its last legs before succumbing to gravity.
  • One sleepover-birthday-party-with-7-small-girls hangover. NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER AGAIN EVER!
  • One English speech on idioms due for tomorrow.
  • And her job. Let’s not forget her actual 9 to 5, salary-paying JOB! Which, right now, is the least stressful part of her life. At least she knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it by.

Mom is reaching the very end of her tether.

Mom is losing her shit.

Actually, she’s not, because her shit can’t be lost down the blocked drain.

Mom is drowning in shit.

On the outside Mom looks pretty well put together, but inside – inside the elastic of her big girl panties is about to snap, leaving the bloomers around her ankles, tripping her up so that she lands on her face – smoosh.

Mom’s friend took her out for coffee and for a short, blissful hour, Mom pretended the shit did not exist. She sat in the eye of the storm watching cattle, rowing boats, shopping bags and other detritus whirling past, lit every few moments by another strike of lightning.

Then Mom, went back to the real world.

Her cellphone was having an epileptic fit.

Rowing Child with Concussion and Rowing Coach with Kittens were sending frantic WhatsApps to Mom who was on the other side of the city, while trying to find each other in a 20-meter radius.

Mom sent each one the other’s phone number and declined to be a call center agent in India trying to fix someone’s problem in Argentina while liaising with a technician in Japan.

Mom has called a plumber.

Mom has given out medication to children.

Mom is jittery from a diet of pure caffeine, because who has time for food anyway.

Mom is turning off her cellphone and logging out of Facebook.

Mom is seriously considering climbing under her desk, building a pillow fort and humming to herself until it all goes away.

And then Mom will get up, put on lipstick, pull on her big girl panties and fake-it-til-she-makes-it – again.

One day, Mom knows, someone in charge will realise that she is hopelessly under-qualified for this.

By then, she’ll either have it down or be pretending to ride a unicorn in a nice padded cell somewhere with pretty coloured pills for breakfast, lunch and supper.









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I write because I have to. It is a compulsion. I do it to vent, to laugh and to remember. I blog because it has been so long since I had to write with a pen that my hand would go into cramp if I tried to write a journal.

One thought on “When bad things happen to sort-of okay moms

  1. This post made me LOL in public, esp the part about eating a caffeine filled diet, “because who needs food anyways?” This is exactly what I was doing yesterday up until lunch, sustained on coffee and sheer will because I had a lot of things to do yesterday. And I didn’t get to really sit down between 7am and 7pm. And of course the part about doing a million things at once and “this mom is losing her shit,” because who hasn’t felt like that as a mom. Yet we’re supposed to keep our cool.

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