Inner dialogue of a working mom

When I sent him to school that morning, Monday morning, I knew he wasn’t himself. He said he felt tired and that his tummy hurt, and he didn’t finish the chocolate chip oatmeal I served for breakfast. I placed my hand on his forehead and decided that he must be warm from the layers he was wearing. I asked him if he felt like he had to throw up, and he said, no. I asked if he could make it until noon, until after I could leave the preschool where I teach, and he said he’d try. Before he got on the bus that morning, I leaned down and kissed his head.

Shit. Fever.

He took his seat on the bus and smiled and waved through the window enthusiastically, and I held up my hand and formed the sign for I love you. As the bus pulled away, seemingly in slow motion, Members of my conscience, bearing no resemblance to Jiminy Cricket whatsoever, began a battle of righteousness.

buy priligy Preschool Teacher Deborah shook her judgy finger at me and hissed, “Sending a sick child to school?!? What are you thinking?? I have only the most unbecoming  adjectives to describe you but I shan’t allow you to drag me down to your base level only to drown in your selfishness.” Working Mom Deborah spat back with a raised eyebrow and furled upper lip, “Back off, Mr. Rogers!! He’s fine. He was in good spirits and happy to go to school, and if he feels bad later in the day, he’ll go to the nurse.”

“Shut it down, people!” Actual Me Deborah barked…in my mind…to invisible people…who were me but not.

At 11:30 that morning, I got a call at preschool. I knew who it was before I looked at my phone. He didn’t feel well. The nurse reported that he tried to make it until noon, but that he wanted to go home now. She also informed me that he did not have a fever. Working Mom Deborah stuck out her tongue at Preschool Teacher Deborah, but Actual Me Deborah knew I shouldn’t have taken the chance.

By the time his brother came home from school, Levi had not touched his lunch, and he had a high fever. By bedtime, he was cold and congested and miserable, and he fell asleep as soon as he was tucked in under layers of blankets. I would not work at preschool the next day.

Overextended Deborah had been doing her best to keep her thoughts to herself so as I not to appear uncaring, but she could not resist whispering in my ear, “You’ll let him watch movies, and you’ll have the day to write, to catch up, to relax.” I took guilt-laden pleasure in the quiet of my day. I was relieved to have a pass from after-school activities.



On the third day of fever, I took Levi to the doctor. A virus. Not strep. Working Mom Deborah asked, “And if he doesn’t have a fever tomorrow? He can go back to school?” The doctor informed me that he had to stay home 24-hours after a fever. Preschool Teacher Deborah said in a stroppy tone, “I could have told you that!” Overextended Deborah turned her head so no one could see her validated satisfaction.

Levi has been home with fever every day now suffering from the latest bout of “it’s going around.” Overextended Deborah confessed to Actual Me Deborah that she felt like she was on vacation. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” was Actual Me Deborah’s response. How could I possibly take pleasure in my own son’s illness? How could I ignore him all day while I caught up on my life and perhaps a sitcom or two? Preschool Teacher Deborah praised me for allowing him to recuperate while Working Mom Deborah tried not to get too twitchy during this unscheduled furlough.



When I put Levi to bed last night having left him alone most of the day, occasionally delivering food and drink and taking his temperature, I kissed his forehead. “Thank you for taking such good care of me, Mom,” he said. After I resurfaced from the wave of shame having spent most of the day in another room, I entertained the thought that perhaps Levi actually appreciated the time at home, the time to just be. Perhaps he needed a vacation, too.

“Keep telling yourself that,” spat Guilt Ridden Mom Deborah.

“SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!” said all the other Deborahs. And he woke up the next morning with a smile on his face and a craving for chocolate chip oatmeal.

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  1. LOVE this. And I have so been there. Minus the preschool part and, well, maybe not as funny in my head either. But, I relate!

    • Thank you, RoiAnn.

      Next time you’re in that situation, tell your voices a knock-knock joke. It’ll break the tension — or create more depending on the quality of the joke. I’ll give you some of mine.

  2. For me, there’s only Get-Your-Little-Adopted-Ass-To-School-You’re-Lucky-You-Live-In-The-United-States-Where-They-Have-Decent-Education Rick. So, yeah, no staying home for us.

    • All the Deborahs and Get-Your-Little-Adopted-Ass-To-School-You’re-Lucky-You-Live-In-The-United-States-Where-They-Have-Decent-Education Rick should grab a drink some time. But maybe that Rick should bring Wing-Man Rick in case Ass-To-School Rick is a mean drunk.

  3. Kari Steeves says:

    Wow that sure was a flashback. I can so relate to this. You’ll be pleased to know as they get older you become less sympathetic. Now in high school…I insist they go everyday, unless they need immediate hospitalization.

    • It’s difficult to imagine myself any less sympathetic. It’s the fever! Fever, lice or biting – they send them home every time. And ok, maybe my heart melts a little bit when they’re so pathetic.

      • Kari Steeves says:

        True…the fever does kind of tug at the momstrings…and yes, inevitably they are always sent home anyway.

  4. Benn there, done that, got the tee shirt. Whomever said that parenting was easy?

  5. So many Deborahs!

  6. This is perfection.
    My mother was one of those “you’re-going-to school-unless-there-are visual-signs-of-a-hemorrhage” moms.
    And I don’t know who Rick Rosenberg is, but I like him. A lot.

  7. Perfect read for me today, as both kids are home with shouldn’t-cold-and-flu-season-be-over? colds. Fortunately, this is a light work week for me appointment-wise, so I only had to shove over one appointment. But I’ll be damned if I’m giving up my Giants vs. Dodgers ticket for tomorrow, so they’d better pull it together! (Priorities, you know.)

    • Good for you, Cheryl!! They’ll learn valuable lessons about the value of a dollar and the importance of commitment and how the show (game) must go on. Colds, shmolds!!

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