Mom Down

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and stores are festooned with celebratory banners reminding us to honor all things Momish and to commemorate contributions to family life.  My stay-at-home dad friend, Tom, often proclaims, “Mom is a job description not a gender.” Today, I applaud the Mom of the house, whether it is a she or a he.

The mom-job broadly speaking is to operate the central nervous system of the family unit. The advertising agency for United Parcel Service (UPS) developed a tag-line, “We love logistics.” It is without a doubt that they came up with that line while observing the electromagnetic signals emanating from a mom’s brain.brain-waves control tower

Nobody knows logistics like a mom.

Our brains hold millions of information bits that may require retrieval at any moment. We need to simultaneously know the time and date of a doctor appointment, the shoe size of our youngest child and the location of the “hidden” ketchup bottle in the refrigerator. We must know when a birthday present needs to be purchased, when a carpool time needs to be swapped and which volunteer spot needs to be filled one month from Friday. We must keep the food-supply and medical-supply chain filled at all times and know the directions to Grandma’s 85th birthday party in the next state.

When a mom goes down, it is akin to the central air-command server crashing. It is a finely balanced house of cards that collapses when the critical piece is removed. I’ve seen it happen to families and it is not pretty. However, the army of “moms” at-the-ready is a majestic sight to behold.

Last week, I was the “mom down.” My husband had a freak accident that resulted in emergency surgery. He is recovering and on the mend but there were some scary moments. My hats off to the “special forces” that appeared.

  1. First Responders. Thank you to my “wingmen.” I called them while following an ambulance. I didn’t explain much, yet asked them to get medical information retrieved and vetted. These moms got back to me within 40 minutes. They pulled favors and people out of meetings to get the important information I needed fast.
  2. Meals on Wheels. Food appeared. I have kids at home who were bewildered and upset as I tried to update them from the hospital. A meal appeared that night and each night after. One of our favorite deliveries was from a dad who was concerned about our teenage boys getting fed. Biggest bowl of pasta ever. He must have used 5 pots to prepare.
  3. Rapid Transit. My kids got to where they needed to go. Pick-up and delivery service with a smile.
  4. Visitors. My husband’s friends provided a steady stream of good cheer at the hospital and at home.
  5. Humor. A little levity goes a long way to defuse a tense time. Thank you to all the friends who masked their worried looks and managed to get us laughing.

Even though the mom in this situation was not the injured person, the control tower was taken out of play. My friend told me that when she heard the news she sprung into action knowing there was a mom down in the neighborhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to the moms and dads who pitched in without asking and those who asked how they could pitch in. It was humbling and I am so appreciative. Our family is now “mom up,” with all the extra support.

Carol Lewis Gullstad

May 6, 2013



  1. […] Mom Down – Permission to accept help in a crisis (Carol) […]

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