Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Lady in waiting

Posted November 9, 2014
Updated November 10, 2014

Sometimes I feel like as parents we are always waiting for our children to need us. We wait for them to get in the car in the morning. We wait in the carpool line. We wait for them to text us, email us or call us to tell us where and when they want us to pick them up. We wait for them at sporting events or at their other extracurricular activities.

Oftentimes, I don’t even realize I’m waiting to be needed because I’m so busy doing something else like working, cleaning or sleeping. But just when I fool myself into thinking I might have a free moment to accomplish something, I get the call to duty from homework help to filling out school forms to navigating the complex social plans of a 14-year-old girl who thinks I am her personal chauffeur.

“Mom, I need blue poster board tonight for a project I’m doing with a group at school,” my younger daughter exclaimed in a panic on the phone. I had just finished teaching a writing class at a local library after a long day at work and was headed home to eat for the first time in seven hours.

“OK, tonight?” I replied, trying not to let her hear the fatigue in my voice. I opened the glove compartment and rummaged around for a stray leftover piece of Halloween candy to satisfy my extreme hunger.

“Yes, tonight. Please, Mom. I really need it.”

Apparently, there was a rush on blue poster board because I went to three stores and could not find it anywhere.

“How about another color?” I asked her over the phone as I crouched in the school supplies aisle in Walmart pulling apart the piles of poster boards hoping someone had mistakenly shoved a blue one in between the yellow ones.

“Text me a picture of what they have,” she said with a sigh.

So, here I was at 9:30 at night laying out poster boards on the floor in Walmart and taking pictures of them to send to my discerning 11-year-old.

“Can you zoom out a little so I can see the colors better?” read her text response to my picture.

I ended up splitting the difference and buying a tie-dye poster board with blue swirls throughout.

The needs of children as they grow up are more complex, but are just as immediate as a newborn’s need for a bottle. So, what I am learning is that its best not to make too many plans while I’m waiting to be needed because the next crisis is surely just around the corner.

“So did the poster board work?” I ask her the next night. I had seen her carefully roll it up and take it to school that morning.

“Nope,” she says with a shrug. “Another mother is going to get it.”

Good luck, I think.

“Mom!” I hear my other daughter’s muffled yell from behind her bedroom door before I even have a chance to take off my coat. I shake my weary head and remind myself there will come a day when they won’t need me as much as they do now and I will long for these days.

So, I wait 

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • snowl Nov 12, 2014

    Given short notice or last minute requests from your children ? You can reverse this trend by simply making them wait. Next time say..."Ok, but not tonight." Life will go on.

  • Ashley Porter Nov 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Well ladies I don't know about you but I'm going to look at my calendar and find a time I can have some one on one time with my mom. I am crazy busy with my 2 all the time, but reading the comments made by ladies with grown children has made me realize I don't set aside enough time for my mom. Thanks!

  • RGMTRocks Nov 10, 2014

    Enjoy this kind of waiting because sooner then you know, you'll be waiting to get to see or talk to them or spend time with them at all. Now about that poster board.....There are packages of different colors at Staples. We usually pick up a pack or two and I keep them stood up in a crack between the desk and wall in the family 'office' where they stay nice and straight and out of the way but the only time there is an 'emergency' is when she needs a foam board - they have those too BTW. She goes to a school that is project based learning so we need poster boards really often. Took me only a couple of emergencies to go and get an array to have on hand. Luckily for me though, mine now drives so she gets to handle the emergency ones unless she's gotten all the way home and forgot and I'm still 'in town'. :)

  • JAT Nov 10, 2014

    Blame the blue poster board on the teacher. Too many get so dang specific without thinking that maybe the stores don't have enough blue poster board for every kid in his or her class along with the kids in other classes. And would it hurt to send an email to parents of what will be needed a week or so before it's really needed, or even tell the parents at the start of the year. They know what they used last year and will likely use the same exact thing again.

    But yes, I'm a waiting mom, too.

  • Deanna Davis Nov 10, 2014
    user avatar

    I remember those days well! I have two girls now 28 and 31. One was in band and sports, the other in chorus and dance. There were days I literally drove nearly 100 miles chauffeuring to lessons and practices and school. Now the youngest is in Michigan and I wait for her calls or for her to come home. The oldest lives in Raleigh and I wait for her to have a day off so I can spend time with her.....

  • slawyrick Nov 10, 2014

    I was one of those waiting mothers and now years later I am again one of those waiting mothers, except this time I am waiting for my busy daughter to have time to call me. She now has three children of her own that she is there waiting to be needed.