Expect the Unexpected-Parenting 101:

When it comes to parenting, we always have to expect the unexpected. I imagine it’s even in the famous parenting handbook that no one has ever been able to get their hands on…EVER.


The day was supposed to start out with the usual morning chaos, including the usual fights over what to wear, (even though my kids rock a uniform), who was bothering who, everyone wanting something different for breakfast, followed by a quick ride to the bus stop. I was to breathe after the bus pulled away. I could go workout, put my house back together, work and think. Told you I love Mondays!

But…my morning did not follow the above schedule. Yes, we had the chaos, yes we had the fights, yes I had to make three varying breakfasts and yes we drove to the bus stop. That’s where it all went wrong.

I noticed my five-year-old kept coughing on the way to the bus, telling me he felt like he was choking. I passed him my water at a stop light and assumed his breakfast went down the wrong pipe. As we parked the car, he still couldn’t stop clearing his throat. Strange. I asked if he was okay as I escorted him out of the car and as he started to step onto the bus, he let out this horrific sound. I picked him up and we headed right back to the car, waving goodbye to the bus with his brothers on it, along with my perfect day.

I knew when a cough sounds like a seal, it’s croup. What is croup? KidsHealth.org tells us that kids with croup have a virus that makes their airways swell. They have a telltale “barking” cough (often compared to the sound of a seal’s bark) and a raspy voice, and make a high-pitched, squeaky noise when they breathe.

Yep, that pretty much summed it up. How could I send him to school? I couldn’t. Not to mention, if I did, I would get a call to pick him up right away and mind you, the school is a 20-minute drive there and a 40-minute drive back in rush hour traffic. Oh how I love that morning bus.

My son’s health status wasn’t surprising because he has allergies and has often been on steroids to help open up his lungs. My husband, who usually travels during the week, offered to take my little guy to the doctor, telling me I should go to my workout. My husband never takes the kids to the doctor. Did he even know where it was located?

I wanted to take his offer and run with it but at the same time, felt guilty that I was doing something I enjoyed while my son was not feeling well. What’s up with this mom guilt anyway?

My boys spend so much time with me when my husband isn’t home, he wants to participate in their every day lives as much as possible when he is. Did my five-year-old want him to take him? Of course not. “I want Mommy to take me…Mama”.

My guilt level had gone up a few hundred notches right then. Even so, I stayed strong and knew that I deserved a workout, was addressing my son’s croup and Daddy was getting some good one on one time. I ended up having an amazing workout.

As I thought, he was put on steroids and I never heard that awful sound come out of his little body again. Everything else I planned for the day was out the door. Did I want to work? YES! I love what I do. Did I want to organize my house from the weekend and get my sh*t together? YES!

We get so used to our non-kid schedules, especially when they are in school full-time. Whether we work from home, stay at home or work outside the home, we rely on this time without our children to accomplish whatever it is we hope to accomplish that day. When it suddenly changes we have a choice. We can complain about it or embrace it. Okay, I may have grumbled a bit to friends but I am human.

I was and always will be a mom first. That day I chose to be truly present.

I have to say I enjoyed every moment with my son. It reminded me of his toddler days when we played all day. I made him lunch, cuddled, watched cartoons, played outside…all the Mommy things you do when you have a toddler. We sat on his little couch in his room and he read me over five books. We played cards.

We got on his walkie-talkies and pretended we were searching for monsters around the house. It was a blast. I didn’t think about all that I didn’t get done that day, but instead, all that I had gained.

There is always something to do and somewhere to be. It is rare for us these days to have that relaxed time to spend together just being a mom with her child. This day, we had nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was fabulous!

My little guy is not going to be little for much longer so I will take a day of his warm cuddly body and breath anytime, even if it means everything else goes to sh*t. I am not going to lie. It feels so good to be wanted and needed, simply because my hugs and kisses can make it all better…along with a dose of steroids of course.

The usual, “get me this”, “I want this”, “drive me here” and “leave me alone” changes to “Mommy, I don’t feewl good. Can you feel me better? Can I lay on your lap while you hold me?”. (Yes, that “w” is there on purpose).

My advice is when your day turns out to be anything but what you planned because of a sick child, take a few minutes to be annoyed because that is normal, and then feel joy, because we are lucky to clock in one more hug, one more cuddle and one more “Mama”.

Oh, by the way, as I am editing this article, guess who is home sick again? 🙂

TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD™