Today was just one of those days. You know the kind: the ones where you can’t get out of your own way, where you half expect someone to show up and pry your mom badge from your bumbling, inept fingers. There’ll be days like this.
I’m not talking about a day plagued by catastrophic occurrences, just those everyday nuisances that tend to pile up into one big snowball of shit that seems to gather steam as the day rolls on. The days that sound ridiculous to complain about in comparison to say, world hunger and foreign wars, but seem 100% justified in the heat of the moment with a screaming toddler whose favorite blanket was accidentally abandoned in aisle three of the grocery store (or was it Walmart? Or the bank?)
Today, our shitstorm hits at the doctor’s office, or more precisely, on the way out the door to the doctor’s office. I arranged care for my son in advance so I could go alone, but it falls through and I find myself already out of the house and without a stroller to keep him contained during the appointment. I remember a recent doctor’s appointment he attended with me where he crawled around the not-really-all-that-clean-for-a-doctor’s-office floor while I watched him with one eye during my pap smear. I don’t want a repeat of that, so I make the decision to stop for an umbrella stroller on the way (which I’ve been meaning to get anyway) to lessen the inconvenience of having him with me.
We stop at a drugstore since I know they sometimes carry them and, miracle of miracles, they actually have one left. Twenty bucks later, it is ours and we are marching out into the parking lot with it, ready for the doctor’s office. Little do I know that every single part of the damn thing is fused together with zip-ties, so when we pull up to the office with only a few minutes to spare, we have no way of getting it to open. (You can now picture me trying to saw the pieces off using one of my keys, like some extremely unresourceful version of Tom Hanks in Castaway, who accomplishes exactly nothing except probably ruining her keys.) In we go to the doctor’s office, baby on one hip, diaper bag on a shoulder and zip-tied umbrella stroller in hand. I check in at the front desk where I stand reciting my phone number, street address and birthdate while sagging under the weight of a 25 pound toddler, 30 pound diaper bag and totally useless umbrella stroller.
I ask for scissors to cut the thing apart and the receptionist is kind enough to not judge me as I fumble to remove the six different ties that hold this Fort Knox stroller together. Meanwhile, my kid is crawling around the dirty carpet where I’ve unceremoniously dumped him, now totally sockless and with his hat covering both his eyes. I am actually sweating through my shirt trying to attach the wheels to the stroller (why are they not already attached dammit?!) keenly aware of every single eye in the waiting room on the spectacle that is me: the unprepared, bumbling mother with a very visible baby bump and a noticeably young child that I’m frantically stuffing into the stroller while the nurse waits impatiently for us at the door. There’ll be days like this.
We’re shuffled into the bathroom to give a urine sample where I accidentally pee on my hand, which stings like a motherfucker because of the thousands of tiny little cracks from which my second child is siphoning moisture and nutrients as we speak. I don’t bother to wipe off the container because the person on the other side is probably wearing a glove and having a better day overall than I am.
We meet with a doctor whom we haven’t seen before and says by way of introduction, “Do you feel like you were just pregnant? Probably because you were ,you crazy lady!” Normally this might be cause for a laugh, but instead it just sort of irritates me as she pats me on the back like I’m ripe for the picking at the insane asylum.
In the span of five minutes, she decries my choice of footwear for the weather (Converse sneakers, which she deems “so cute,” but not very warm or safe) remarks again on the fact that I seem to be pregnant after just having a baby and tells me that I lost five pounds since I last came to the doctor’s office a month ago. Suddenly, I feel like I’m back in my nutritionist’s office at the outpatient eating disorders clinic, getting my wrist slapped for not maintaining my weight.
“Are you eating enough?” she asks, in what is probably a very nonjudgmental tone but feels to me like an insult. I assure her I am and that I’ve been consuming enough ice cream sundaes to feed a small African village (you know, if it wasn’t so hot there that the ice cream would melt before they could eat it.) I am all at once so very done with this conversation, this appointment, this day. There’ll be days like this.
As I said before, all of this pales in comparison to actual, pressing issues and probably falls neatly into the category of #firstworldproblems (or, if I didn’t hate it so much #thestruggleisreal.) Part of me feels guilty for making such a mountain out of a molehill. And the other part? That part knows that Van Morrison was right when he sang, “Well my mama told me, there’ll be days like this.” (even if he was actually singing about the good ones.)
And there will be days like this. Sometimes more in any given week than the good days, if we’re being honest with ourselves. But there’s always tomorrow. And, if that day goes to shit too, then there are always ice cream sundaes.
Have you had #dayslikethis recently? What got you through?