Repost: The Occupational Hazards of Motherhood

Knight in Shining Armor
Image by pasukaru76 via Flickr

On a morning following a night when a child wakes up sick, a mother is definitely justified in reposting. Enjoy!


There are occupational hazards to motherhood.

“Mommy, I haven’t got to pway with you in SIXTEEN YEARS,” Alex declared upon arriving home from a two-hour playdate with his friend down the street. The trouble was, he was right. I hadn’t played with him all week. At all. Too many sick kids. Meetings. Errands. Housecleaning.

But all those sick kids, meetings, errands, and housecleaning meant I hadn’t had time to write much this week, either. Gnashing my teeth as I warred between what I ought to do and what I wanted to do, I opted for compromise. “All right, I’ll set the timer for 45 minutes,” I said. “Give me 45 minutes to work, and then I’ll play with you.”

All too soon, the timer beeped, and we made colored crystals and then went outside. We played hide and seek, and then Alex donned his breastplate, shield and sword. “Woody is the sheriff, and you’re the princess, and Jessie is the queen,” he said.

“And what are you?”

“The knight,” he said.

Silly me. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s go find a dragon to fight in the woods.”

“A real dragon?”

“Um, no. A pretend dragon.”

We wandered the woodsy paths for a while. Then we reached the dangerous spot. “Okay, you go first,” he said. So much for chivalry. So I led the dauntless knight through the dead undergrowth. When it came time to turn around, however, nothing would do but for Alex to lead. Only he didn’t like the undergrowth. “Use your sword to clear us a path,” I suggested.


I leaned forward to help him, and WHAM! Wooden sword on bridge of nose.

Occupational Hazard #1: Getting punched in the nose by a wooden sword.

“I’m sorry!!!” Alex shrieked, knowing it was even odds whether he’d get in serious trouble for that one. I gnashed my teeth some more and reminded myself that it was my own darned fault for telling him to wave his sword around and then leaning into harm’s way. But I lost my appetite for playing in the woods after that.

Two hours later, back in the house, I was sitting at the piano with a voice student standing beside me. Julianna climbed up and started shrieking in my ear because she wanted to play the piano. I shifted my feet on the floor and bumped into something warm and soft. I looked beneath the bench to find my 8-month-old staring up at me, whimpering pathetically. “Okay, okay,” I sighed, and picked him up. He was not happy that I wouldn’t let him bang on the keys. Neither was Julianna, now that Nicholas was up there and she wasn’t.

Next thing I knew, I was “playing” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” with Julianna hanging on my right forearm and Nicholas leaning on it from the other side.

Occupational Hazard #2: The path to Severe Carpal Tunnel.

And that was just three hours’ worth of parenting.

Anybody want to share some of the Occupational Hazards that I missed?

(Originally posted November 23, 2009)