SHIFT HAPPENS | An Epidural for Parenting

Shift Happens

I’m having a bad mommy day today. There’s a crazy blizzard outside and my three year old, Ben, went to daycare in his fall boots. This is one of the downfalls of divorce with kids. There are plenty of clothes but they are scattered all over the place. There’s a jacket here, his favourite pajamas are at his Dad’s. A constant inventory has to be taken. I have two perfectly good, warm boots sitting here with me at my parent’s home (which, as I mentioned previously, is where I’m living since my recent escape from married life) and absolutely no way of getting them to Ben. Last night, Ben slept at his father’s house and we woke up this morning to a tornado outside. Montreal weather is as unpredictable as marriage. Sunny signs of spring deceive you into thinking life is rosy, and the next day, hell has literally frozen over.

So, all morning I stressed that without his warm boots, Ben would freeze his little toes off. I reassured myself that the daycare could lend him a pair. Lo and behold, I call the daycare and there are no extra pairs.  All the kids are psyched for the snow, everybody is going out and your kid (the neglected one) is going in his fall boots. I had a moment of crazy panic. I’m not sure if it is because I’m worried his toes will fall off, or more that the daycare workers will think I am a horrible, irresponsible mom. Both feelings overwhelm me, bringing up all kinds of anger and frustration. I am homebound, with my elderly parents to boot, and cannot drive to the daycare because the streets are a death sentence. There should be an epidural for parenting.  It’s just so much harder than pushing out 8 pounds from a minuscule hole between one’s legs.

Anyhow, I do what I always do when I am having a parenting crisis and do not have the skills or basic maturity to know what to do. I call the mother of all mothers, the maven of good parenting, my older sister.  She has four kids and so far none of them have disappeared, joined a cult or lost any body parts to frostbite.  “No big deal”, she reassured me that this kind of thing happens, the teachers won’t judge, the kid probably couldn’t care less and Christ, cut yourself some slack, you are a mother of two going through a divorce and you have a lot of crap on your plate. Who can think of everything?

My other sister, who has money to blow, suggested I send the boots in a taxi.  My course of action….I did nothing, except sit here and vent. OK, fine.  I did more than just channel my anxiety onto paper.  I regressed and did something else that I should not have done, but my emotions got the better of me.  I called up Ben’s father and screamed at him about the boot situation.  As I was screaming, I knew full well that this anger had nothing to do with the boots. It was sheer frustration directed at him….”because of you I am a single mom at 34 living with my parents in the armpit of the city, in a cultureless suburb, which feels like a morgue, swarming with bubbies.” I didn’t say that, I stayed on topic:  the cold feet, all the kids outside, etc.

He hung up on me.  I don’t blame him.