an ode to single moms

I am tired.

Wait, let me rephrase that.


Yes, that’s better.

This week has been insane. The market volume and volatility has been quite literally unprecedented. She (anyone doubt that’s the right gender pronoun for this tape?) twists and turns like Mr Toad’s Wild ride as those of us on the institutional side of Wall Street do our best to provide liquidity, maintain order and stability, and try desperately not to kill each other in the process.

Luau has been out of town all week. He will return tomorrow to find me pretending to be happy that he had a nice break with his friends while I not so subtly grind my teeth.

I mean, I am happy for him. He deserves a break. He really does. But. Um. NOW? Right now?

Single moms, I bow to you. Treat yourself to something tonight. Make it good.

On Wednesday I thought about putting up a sign that read,

“If you need me, I will be under my desk in the fetal position”

Didn’t seem wise.

This morning, I got a call from Julie, who is acting as a nanny for me this week while Luau is gone (since if I take one more hour off work I’m guessing I may as well not come back).

It was 8:27 am and the markets were already overheated. The s&p futures were limit up, the DJIA futures were looking up nearly 400 points and the information (bailout! SEC bans on short selling in financials!) was flying at us so fast there was barely time to distill it no less disseminate it. I was on one line with another on hold when she called.

“Jess, it’s Julie.”

I could tell by her voice that this wasn’t going to be good.

“I hate to call, but I didn’t know what to do.”

Julie always knows what to do. Not. Good.

I could hear Katie crying in the background. Not Brooke, Katie.

Her voice was pleading. “Julie, please ask Mama to come home.” Sob.

For the sake of my daughter’s privacy, I won’t get into the specifics of the situation. Suffice to say she was having some significant trouble in the bathroom. For half an hour. She was in pain, frightened and miserable.

Someday we’ll both likely find the whole thing funny. There’s nothing like potty humor for a good laugh.

But when you’re seven and your tummy hurts like hell and you can’t um – get it out (it’s worse than that, but that description will have to suffice), it ain’t funny. When school starts in three minutes and your babysitter is there and your dad or mom is not, it ain’t funny. When you’re begging your mom to come home (which you NEVER, EVER do) and you don’t understand why she can’t, it ain’t funny.

When I’m trying to field a stream of literally constant calls from institutional traders who can’t be asked to wait and keep my head above water and my baby’s crying, it ain’t funny.

I calmed Katie down and gave Julie the best instructions I could muster over the phone. I called a neighbor and dear friend and asked her to take Brooke to school. There are approximately three people in this world that could do that. She’s one of them. She was at my house not two minutes later.

I got a call at 9:15 from a happy but hurting Katie. An hour and fifteen minutes from start to finish, but she was ok.

I cajoled her into going to school, despite her nervousness about showing up late. (“These kids are nosy, Mama. They’re going to want to know where I was.”) I thanked Julie and I promised her hazard pay.

All while continuing to answer the questions that were flying at me electronically and taking note of the building queue of phone calls to return.

Life as a one armed paper hanger.

Yes, I am tired.

But it’s Friday. 

I will curl up tonight and sleep like the dead. Oh, wait, in a fit of pique this morning I promised Katie that she could sleep in my bed tonight (just like when we were on our trip, Mama, please?”) So I’ll sleep like the undead tonight. The kicked and shoved and drooled on not quite dead.

I have no plans for tomorrow. None. I will not make any. I will amble my way through the day, hugging my girls as much as they’ll let me. Don’t call. Don’t ask to come over. Don’t ask me to come to your place. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

It just means I’m tired.

9 thoughts on “an ode to single moms

  1. I feel like that everyday.

    Can I get an amen for the working mom – she who straddles two worlds AND cooks dinner and does it looking fierce and fresh?

    Oh, and how about the SAHM who is in the trenches all day everyday?

    Single Moms – gals with no respite.

    Motherhood is freaking hard work.


    But hard.

  2. what’s the follow up? did you sleep? rest? are you relaxing today?

    stay in pajamas, eat comfort food, zone out…this instant, young lady! otherwise you’re, like, totally grounded (for five minutes…we’re too nice to go longer than that. we’re softies).

    happy saturday.

  3. Ok, now I get it. I hope Katie is feeling better. And for your readers who are wondering…Jess stayed true to her word! Hope you had a good day, see you tomorrow!:)

  4. ok, m – here goes:

    officially closing out the week last night gave me an unexpected boost of energy. I had figured I’d be a useless lump of Mama mush throughout the evening at home, but I was nicely surprised to find that I had just enough gas to make it to bedtime. I ordered dinner rather than making it (and ate like Henry VIII when it came). I gave in to the girls pleas to eat in the den and watch a movie while we did. Katie chose It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and we laughed every time we heard poor Charlie Brown say, “I got a rock.” If you haven’t seen it a while, you’re due. It’s quality material.

    I stuck to my word and let Katie sleep with me. I am reminded why Luau and I were never ‘family bed’ people. All due respect to Dr Sears, I need a place of my own. I need to be an adult at the end of the day. I need to crawl into bed with my husband (or alone when he is away) and know that I have a sanctuary. As much as I adore the mornings when my girls pile into the bed and we snuggle under the covers, my bed at night needs to be mine.

    It might have been easier if Katie were not a heat seeking missile. It doesn’t matter where I try to go, her little body curls around mine with abandon. Her arms and legs become lethal weapons as they flail recklessly across my face, into my eyes, through my kidneys. I fell asleep long before she did and snapped at her for whispering my name. I had nothing left. I slept fitfully within the boundaries of the 18 inch space that she left for me. When I woke up from a kick or a shove, I looked longingly at the expanse of king sized bed on the other side of her, but no matter where I tried to go, she followed.

    I didn’t conceal my laughter when she woke up and asked me sleepily, “Did I sleep here all night?” Thankfully, she allowed me to sleep in til a luxurious 6:42 am. Not bad.

    Brooke came shuffling in a half hour or so later. She crawled into bed and squealed happily tucked into the crook of my arm. I reveled in the morning quiet.

    I brought the girls breakfast in bed (mostly because I wanted to prolong the morning cuddles), let them watch the Imagination Movers on Playhouse Disney and then we made our way downstairs. I didn’t mention that I grabbed a handful of chocolate covered gummy bears while I was making their breakfast did I? No? Good, I wouldn’t want you to know that part. I mean, it was 7:30am, what would you think?

    Katie spent the morning finishing up homework and beading and Brooke ran from room to room, periodically lighting at the kitchen table to draw.

    At 11:00 we were still in our pajamas. It was delightful.

    I finally gathered us together, showered and dressed us all and then headed out for the day. It was nearly 1pm when we left. So. Not. Me. But so nice not to care.

    We ran a couple of errands, had a delightful lunch out on the town and ended the day at a beautiful local park.

    We came home, I made some dinner for the girls and we waited for Daddy to come home.

    He came home at 7pm to a hero’s welcome. The girls have missed him. I have too, but I’m not there yet. He’s in the kitchen with the girls now as they finish the dinner we started two hours ago.

    Brooke just came running into the office where I’m typing away. Luau yelled from the kitchen for her to come on back in and finish up. As she crawled up onto my lap she said quietly, “I would love Mama.”

    It’s been a good day indeed. I am again out of gas, but it was well spent today. We had fun. Thanks for asking.

    Oh, and I now that Luau’s back, I can finally have that glass of wine. I know I could have had one while he was away, but it wasn’t one I wanted. 😉

  5. Comments by Jess: more entertaining that entire posts on other blogs. Wow!

    Glad it was a pleasant day for you.

    “It doesn’t matter where I try to go, her little body curls around mine”

    Kicks, prods, angles: the geometry of kid-sleep and grown up sleep rarely mesh on a likewise plane. Sleepy days ensue.

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