As you go about your day, do you ever see some unfortunate mom struggling to keep it together? You know who I’m talking about: She has either totally lost her cool, or her kids are out of control, or maybe she’s just not winning as a parent in that moment. And you think to yourself, I’m glad I’m not her!
And then five minutes later, it’s your turn.
Let me tell you, I had my turn as “that mom” this week. Beginning a few days ago, everything seemed to be falling apart. We woke up late and — guess what? — the kids had a hard time getting out of bed. Somehow, through the scrambling and ensuing chaos, we actually made it out the door. On the way to school, the kids were still putting on shoes and stuffing folders into backpacks. Kaitlyn (who has type 1 diabetes) was eating breakfast and forgot to bolus for her meal. Well, I forgot to remind her. I then realized that I’m not totally sure everyone even brushed their teeth.
As we pulled up to the curb at school, I pressed my automatic door-open button, and an empty bowl with crusty, dried-up cereal from the day before fell out of the car and into the gutter. The campus supervisor picked it up and handed it to me through the window. (Yeah, that actually happened.) Oh, and I was rocking my too-big sweatshirt and pajama pants at the time.
To really make it memorable, when my two youngest hopped out of the car, one of them decided that it would be a good idea to put a blanket over her head to keep warm on the way to school and walked away from the car looking like a troll doll with hair sticking up all over.
I cringed and pulled sunglasses over my eyes, hoping that I could disappear. I dropped off the other kids at middle school, made my way back home, and figured the embarrass-myself festival had ended for the morning. And that’s when I finally realized that Kaitlyn had forgotten to dose for her breakfast.
I called the school to tell them what happened, but by that point, her blood sugar was already way out of range. To top it off, her pump was really low on insulin. I pulled on some jeans and shoes, ran a brush through my hair, and headed back to the school to change her site.
Eventually I made it back home (again). But as I walked through the door, the phone rang. My oldest daughter was calling to ask me to bring an assignment to her that she had left at home. And… shoes back on.
On the way out the door, I saw Jonathan’s violin, which he had left by the front door. And now it was a trip back to both schools. By that point it was about 10:30 a.m., and I had already been to the elementary school twice and the middle school three times.
Finally, the finishing blow: I looked at Kaitlyn’s blood sugar on my phone to see the result of this morning’s mess — super high.
That last piece of bad news was enough to make me want to crawl back in bed and not come out until next summer. It was like I was drowning in mommy quicksand, and diabetes care was just one of the many weights pulling me down.
But let me tell you about a beautiful thing called “perspective.” In that moment — that totally awful series of events — my world was spinning out of control. If I had judged my life by that morning, I would have been let down indeed. Fortunately for me, I have other little moments, little summits, that give these valleys some context. My life is a bumpy highway meandering, traveling up and down, through sunny patches and sometimes dark tunnels. But end to end, it’s a beautiful ride. Even though I was “that mom” last week, I can already see some blue sky up ahead.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.