A mother of a day


    By Teah Mogae 

    I could already sense from our walk to the consultation room that Marjorie was about to break down. The usual corridor pleasantries were met with quick nods and no usual chit chat. With the door to the consultation room closed, she collapsed on the floor and wailed! She cried for a good five minutes of the consultation, wiping her face with tissues as she tried to keep her mask on during her sobs. Feeling like she could finally talk, she sat on her chair and let me know what had brought her so much distress. It was the Monday after mother’s day and things had not gone well from what I could gather. 

    She had been struggling with life recently. Her husband has been retrenched from his job as a welder and as the sole income earner for the family of four, she was finding the cost of living a hard slog and was worried they were on the verge of losing their home. Her two young boys were needing to attend childcare for longer hours as she tried to make more money, but the childcare bill was also making her reevaluate if it was all worth it. Rather than helping her with managing the household, her husband had developed a recent gaming and gambling habit that meant he spent most days in front of the screen often gambling away the money she had been working hard for. Her cries for more help seemed to be falling on deaf ears. 

    Her elderly parents had also become frailer, her father having recurrent falls and her mother struggling to maintain the household. Despite this, they were very a verse to using government assistance to help around the house and they did not want to downsize their five-bedroom home to a more manageable size and thus waited impatiently for her to clean their house and assist with groceries every weekend. Time she really needed to rest or get her own house in order. 

    At work as a logistics coordinator for a trucking company, her supportive manager had left for better opportunities and whilst the company interviewed for a new manager, she was being expected to perform her role as well as the manager’s. She was having to work longer hours and had been recently taking work home as there never seemed to be enough hours in the day. 

    Feeling like she was endlessly being pulled from all directions, she had been looking forward to a relaxing Mother’s Day at home where she hoped everyone would make a fuss about her for a change. Although the household didn’t seem to have the same enthusiasm, she had given hints about sleeping in then waking up to a clean home with brunch in bed and small gifts to show that her family appreciated her. There had been a Mother’s Day stall at the kids’ childcare and she had hoped her husband had at least given the boys some money to buy her something. 

    Sunday came around and she was woken to the regular routine of the boys needing to be fed and changed as her husband slept in. Further enquiries about the day were met with her husband saying he had been playing his online games until the early hours and that he did not have any plans for the day. The straw that broke the camel’s back was him saying his mother was long since dead and he didn’t think he should be celebrating Mother’s Day anyway. She had held in all her emotions all day, taking the day as any other Sunday. They had simmered under the surface until they overflowed in my consultation room, unable to be contained. 

    All I could do was listen. Understanding and validating her despair. Today’s consult was a safe place for me to listen and validate. Another consultation in the future would be to help develop solutions to her issues. 

    Dr Teah Mogae is a General Practitioner living in Hoppers Crossing. In the interest of protecting patient confidentiality, patient stories are often composites and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental.

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