From Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul

We’re Out of Food

“Someone had better be bleeding, or there must be fire somewhere in the house before you call me again.” How many of us working moms have told that to our kids after the umpteenth time of being interrupted at work?

When I first began to let my boys, Jason and Justin, stay alone after school, I told them to call my office and tell me when they arrived home from school. After that, they were only to call in an emergency. I explained to them that I was busy at work and could not be taking phone calls every few minutes. Yet over and over the phone would ring with both of them on an extension trying to explain to me at the same time what the other had done wrong. We would go over the rules again, and the calls might stop for a while.

The real topper came the day I was called out of a meeting with the message that my son was on the telephone with an emergency. Of course, my stomach sank, and I hurried for my phone. I answered, only to have Jason inform me that we had no food in the house and they had nothing to eat. As my stomach settled back into place and my heart quit pounding, I explained that there was plenty of food in the house. “But we have no chips,” he responded. Apparently in the eyes of a boy, when you have no potato chips, you have no food. At the time I was not very pleased with him, and I’m sure that by the time I hung up and returned to my meeting, he was aware of my displeasure.

Over the years, as my sons have grown up and moved out on their own, the thought of that phone call brings laughter to my heart. I guess it is important for us moms to remember that adults and children may have very different views of what constitutes an emergency.

My boys share an apartment these days. Maybe I’ll swing by and drop off a couple of bags of chips, just in case they are out of food!

Pamela Teague

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