Today I experienced one of those all too common moments in the life of a mother; the moment when you need to be everywhere at once. Not to say that dads don’t experience this, but when kids are little, usually mom is the first one a child calls for when they are in need.
Today was a big day for my now 4 year old, he was making his stage debut as “the large pig” in his preschool play. I’d been looking forward to this day for weeks. I even arranged the day so that I my husband could take half a day to work from home and watch the kids while I went to my oldest’s parent-teacher conference and then we could all go to the play together and no one would have to miss out. Of course, life had other plans.
We faced adversity from the start of the day. First my youngest threw up, threatening to keep one parent home with him, but he bounced back enough to survive an hour at a school play. Then my husband texted me to say that they had called a sudden meeting that he had to attend at the exact time as the play. Luckily the meeting was pushed back two hours. The clouds were starting to clear and it looked like everything was going to work out, my husband even came home a little earlier than I’d asked him to. Then I got the phone call. My oldest son had been injured at school and wouldn’t stop crying. His teacher didn’t want to put him on the bus and wasn’t completely sure what was wrong. I raced over to the school thinking he was probably just upset and that we might need to schedule in an emergency chiropractor appointment after the play. As I pulled up to the school though, I could see flashing lights in front of the school and my heart pushed into my throat. I entered the nurses office to find a crew of paramedics from the fire department, office staff, and my son curled into a ball on his teacher’s lap, sobbing and holding his neck. It seems another child yanked on the back loop of his back pack and his neck was injured. They couldn’t get a full story from him and he was in too much pain to straighten up, so they wanted to get him checked out at the hospital and the best way to move him was via ambulance. So I rode to the hospital on a gurney in the back of an ambulance with my son balled up on my lap. I texted my husband to take the boys to the play, get a few pictures, but to just enjoy it because someone was recording it and it was important that one of us was present at the performance.
After being checkout and x-rayed, the doctors decided that it was probably just a sprain with severe muscle spasms and that he was okay to go home. Of course I had no way to get home, since my car was still at the school, and my husband was at the play that was about to begin. We couldn’t just hang out in the waiting room for an hour, especially with my son still in a lot of pain, so I instructed my husband to come get us as quickly as possible and then race back to the play, hoping to make it in time since my 4 year old’s part was toward the end of the play. My husband did his best, but I don’t think I would have been satisfied with his speed if he were going 100 mph. I just wanted at least one of us to be there for him and now both of us were in a car trying to get there. When we got to the play, we hurried in, each carrying a child, just in time to see my middle child sit down in his seat while the child after him gave his lines. Me had missed his lines by about 10 seconds. My eyes welled and my heart broke. When his group performance was over, my husband snuck over to him and told him that we were all there, so as far as he knew, we had seen him deliver his lines and made it in time. To me though, I still felt horrible, I’d missed his big moment.
This was one just one of those occasions where I wanted to be there for both of my children, but I just couldn’t; there is only one of me. I didn’t want to miss my sons big performance, but I had to be with my injured son because he needed me more. Thankfully my oldest didn’t have anything seriously wrong with him and I will be able to watch the video of my middle child’s performance at a later time, but I still felt like a failure as a mom for not being able to do it all and be there for both boys. It’s a constant tear and it happens on almost a daily basis. It isn’t anything I can control, I can’t clone myself, but I still feel like I’m a bad mom if I can’t be everywhere at once and always be there for my boys. I know I’m not the only mom that feels this way, but that doesn’t help with the guilt. I just need to learn to except that I can’t split myself into two and that sometimes life makes my choices for me, leaving everything else to be watched on video later.