Working mom retreat gone wrong


This week’s column brought to you by another winter storm that blew in to drop a good six inches of snow and bring sub zero temperatures. But I’m telling you, it’s not the weather that’s getting to me…

Puking toddler waits for no queasy mom
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You guys, this winter is getting to me. And even though the wind is blowing 65 mph outside my windows, shaking this house and forcing me under the covers in my long underwear listening to weatherman Cliff promise like 100 below zero tomorrow, I’m telling you it’s not the weather.

I know about the weather. I mean, I get it. What I didn’t know was what having two toddlers in January in North Dakota truly meant for me and my pharmacy bills.


Like, why didn’t anyone warn me that double the babies meant double the sneezes directly into my mouth, double the ear infections, double the spontaneous sheet-soaking barfs and double the pink eye, because, face sneezes.


And I will admit there was a time at the beginning of this month that, after two separate emergency room visits with the children over Christmas break, I thought I might’ve developed the iron-clad immune system reserved only for mothers while everyone around me was dropping like flies and I stood in the middle with my cough syrup, Clorox and cape, one hand stirring the soup and the other rubbing a back, reassuring them all that the worst was over…


But that was before I found myself in the doctor’s office high on Sudafed, a pocket stuffed with tissues, holding my sick 1-year-old on my lap and, get this, just as the doctor declared the poor little soul had a double ear infection, the seemingly perfectly healthy 3-year-old on my husband’s lap across the room spontaneously barfed.

So there was that.


ARCHIVE: Read more of Jessie Veeder’s Coming Home columns

A husband-style trip to the pharmacy, an equally husband-style big ol’ pot of homemade soup and a weekend spent laying low and it seemed like we were all on the mend enough for me and my year-supply of Mucinex to tackle a three-day work trip across the state.


I packed up my guitar and my fancy clothes and made my escape to the big town where I had visions of conducting my writing workshops in the day, blissful solo shopping excursions in the evenings and topping it off with my choice of restaurant, television and a quiet room (and bed) all to myself at night. “A Working Mom’s Retreat” is the term I coined in my head.

I even tried out the phrase in a text to my mom. Turns out the next text to my mom wasn’t as hopeful. “Stomach flu from h*#!. Tell the kids I love them. I might not come out of this…”

Yeah, you probably saw this coming, but I was in complete denial as all of my dreams of uninterrupted sleep, work and meals were sideswiped by what happens when a mom has the nerve to take off the cape and set down the Clorox. Life canceled.

Turns out being alone in a hotel room loses its appeal — even for a mom of toddlers — when you have to pay for an extra day simply because you can’t even move enough to make it to the lobby to try your luck at a Gatorade.

But if I thought that was my reality check, I was wrong. Because as all you parents know, but somehow forgot to mention, I found out when I got home that a puking toddler pauses for no one, not even a queasy mom who has most definitely lost her cape and her battle with winter.

If you need me, I’ll be at the pharmacy.


6 thoughts on “Working mom retreat gone wrong

  1. I hope everyone feels better soon, Jessie!

    Puking toddlers sound a bit like puking cats. I was up late reading in bed one night, and heard the “old-fashioned oil can” noise, meaning a cat was working up a hairball. Our Abby cat projectile puked a hairball right into the middle of my sleeping husband’s back. He grunted. I instructed him not to move, while I quickly ran for paper towels. I cleaned him up in place; he grunted again, and went back to sleep. I did not sleep for a while. 🙂

    I love the photos! They are dear little ones, puke and all. 🙂

  2. My mother, 88, still reminds me, 67, of the time I threw up in her hair after I begged her to lay down beside me, I was then 5.😜😂

  3. Oh my the memories your article brought up! All mothers go through this puking time when raising children. My son will be 50 this year (how did he get that old?) and I still remember all the good times and the not so good times. I wouldn’t change a thing. You will survive.

  4. Honestly I don’t remember my kids puking .. Earaches, bronchial coughs, diarrhea… Guess it’s a horse a piece 😁
    Hope everyone is feeling better now … ❤️

  5. if it makes you feel better, after insisting I was over the stomach flu, Mom allowed me to go to the pancake breakfast fundraiser at the rink. Nope wasn’t over it. 7 pancakes barfed up all over …. the dog. He showed up in the living room (I was delirious and don’t quite remember) pleading with his eyes to have mom let him out – he rolled in the snow for some time and never slept on my bed again.

    Tis the season … hoping you hang on and can get through till spring!! – MJ

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