The Working Mommy's Manual
I confess I am a workaholic who fiercely loves my family, friends and two rescue dogs. I stuggle to find the balance between all of this and though it's really hard it's also REALLY hilarious! I am brutally honest about this adventure we call being a working mom. Through my honesty I hope to empower and inspire women to believe that they can do this.
I know the exact moment I knew my son had ADHD. He was 17-months-old and I had been away from him for three days—the longest stretch ever in his young life. When I first saw him he came toddling over to me, I picked him up, and then the weirdest thing happened: He just stayed there. Yes, he just stayed in my arms, hugging me tightly. This couldn’t have lasted for more than 45 seconds but to a first time mom whose only child didn’t stop moving for even a nano-second I thought, 'This is AWESOME!' Then a split second later I thought, 'Uh-oh.'
But like most first time moms I couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t want to admit that there might be anything “wrong” with my child. So in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary—including his Montessori school requesting he get tested for ADHD—I remained willingly blind to the obvious attention deficits in my son. Because not only was there nothing wrong with him, but more insidiously, I was not “that mom.”
You know “that mom.” The one who drugs her kids because she is a lazy parent, unwilling to do the hard work to give her child the structure and attention necessary to succeed in life. She’s the one who I’ve been judging for years now. And like my friend Dara says, we become what we judge (which is why we’ve sworn to only judge perfect women who have amazing marriages, flawless children, and spotless homes). So here I am, finally admitting that I am “that mother” (not the fantasy perfect one—the lazy one with disastrous children).
Which brings me to last Friday, when I finally took my oldest son to see a psychiatrist to get him the "lazy mom" drugs I seek. I was prepared to hate the psychiatrist, her recommendations and pretty much anything she had to say—since she is the devil who conspires with us lazy moms to over-medicate our helpless children. So when I met her, of course I totally loved her. She is, in fact, not the anti-Christ. And as I left her office with the prescription and a heart full of hope, I actually found myself feeling optimistic for the first time since, you know, Jack was 17-months-old.
This was the game plan: Take the long weekend to start the meds and figure out if they were going to work. I am committed now. I am in it to win it. This is going to be AWESOME!
Until later that evening, when I tried to get the medication filled. The first stop was my local Safeway pharmacy. The pharmacist tells me that they don’t have the drug but give me a list of alternate Safeway pharmacies that do. No problem. I asked the pharmacist to just enter the order into their system and I’ll have my husband pick it up on his way home. The sweet pharmacist informs me that with this type of drug I actually have to go to the pharmacy with the physical order. Exsqueeze me?
Red flag number one.
I calm myself down. I’m new to this whole lazy mom thing so I need to just learn the new rules. No biggie. Instead of going to an alternate Safeway, I call another local pharmacy and explain the situation. They say no problem, they have plenty in stock, so just come on down. I drive over only to be told by the pharmacy tech that, in fact, they don’t have a whole order—only a partial order. How can this be? I feel my frustration level starting to rise. Well, the tech explains, they can’t “open the secured cabinet” to actually verify the supply until the customer is in the store with the prescription. I tell her that is an insane policy and that I think she might be lying. No matter, I still have one more local pharmacy to check out.
I call it, and they verify the store has the medication in stock. I make them triple check, explaining I’ve been to two other stores, both of which said the same thing. To which they reassure me that they have the medication in stock and to come on over.
Turns out that pharmacy is also a bunch of big fat liars, too.
After several minutes of “looking,” the tech informs me that they don’t have the medication. This is the point where I should let you fine readers know that I’ve been told on several occasions that I “don’t suffer fools gladly.” The poor 12-year-old pharmacy tech never knew what hit her.
When she asked me if she could call some other stores for me, I blew a gasket. I think she may have peed her pants a little. And, folks I was just getting warmed up. Finally, the head pharmacist stepped in and explained that pharmacies aren’t allowed to verify to the public what they have in stock because of the potential to be robbed.
Red flag number three: Meth addicts want what you are about to give your son.
Side note to pharmacies: How about when someone calls to ask if you have drugs in stock, you just tell them you can’t verify—only the pharmacist can. It would have nipped all this madness in the bud. And, truly, you need to be just as worried about having irate mothers like me showing up at your pharmacy window as drug crazed meth-heads.
But I digress. I let the pharmacist confirm there is, in fact, a full supply of the drugs I seek about 25 minutes away. On my drive over, I listen to Christian music in a futile attempt to deaden the murderous rage I am now feeling. My husband calls to remind me that if we can’t get the medication tonight it is God’s way of letting us know our son shouldn’t start taking it this weekend. I crank up the Christian music because now I want to kill every local pharmacist—and my husband.
I wish I were making this up but when I get to the next Walgreens there’s a fire truck out front and a deserted store inside. I see four firefighters talking to a deranged man wearing hospital bracelets, asking him why he wants to kill himself. Folks I can’t make this sh*t up.
Luckily, my urban girl survival skills kick in. (Nice to know they still exist after years of suburban living.) Which means that no matter how insane the situation is, you just ignore it.
The pharmacist tells me they need 25 minutes to fill the prescription which gives me just enough time to run over to a local restaurant and have a glass of wine and a light appetizer to both take the edge off my murderous rage and address my plummeting blood sugar. It also gives me 25 minutes to finally Google this medication which by now I’m not sure I should be giving to my kid at all. Though the Internet is not always my friend, but in this case it my research shows that the drug seems reasonably okay. Whew!
When I get home my husband has a glass of wine and an order of mozzarella sticks waiting for me. Life is good. And as I hug him I whisper in his ear: “God just wanted me to have good material for this week’s blog.”