Working the Worst Shift

//Working the Worst Shift

Working the Worst Shift

And how’s your mom day going?

Maybe we should assign points for difficulty, just to see how you match up with Tracy McKay’s worst mom days, as described in her memoir, The Burning Point.

I’ll give you:

3 pts. per child (Tracy has 3).

2 pts. per ordinary errand, (Tracy needs to go the grocery store, the YMCA, get kids to the bus).

5 pts. for special errands. (Tracy: school fundraiser, dr. appointment).

10 pts. per mom complication (Tracy: child with autism, child with weak bladder, “The grocery store took five times longer than it should have because Abby had to pee every five minutes, and I couldn’t assume that any of them were false alarms”).

25 pts. for doing it all as a single mom.

75 pts. added in for Tracy’s college course load.

You can see why Tracy might be a little white in the knuckles.  

I’m drawn to single mom stories, maybe for the same reason guys can’t resist man-vs.-nature stories. You know, Jeremiah Johnson. The Martian.

Of course, Tracy never planned on being a divorced woman. Who does?

She was raised in California by “gently agnostic hippies.” She spent weekends at Grandma’s house. Grandma was the sort of woman who wore white sandals in season. She and Tracy tucked into Grandma’s king-size bed and read books long into the night.

Eventually, Tracy met David, who matched her own intensity. They married and made three kids.

Meanwhile, Tracy found Mormonism. “I knew very little about it except that Mormons had a reputation for being nice, and I had a vague recollection from my childhood co-op days that they stored bulk food.” She wandered into a chapel on Fast Sunday. “[T]he vocabulary and vernacular were unfamiliar, but I left with a feeling of perplexed curiosity.”

Some of you may know Tracy as the blogger Dandelion Mama, or as Tracy M on Feminist Mormon Housewives. If you’ve followed her posts, you may already know the old problem that reared its ugly head in Tracy and David’s marriage. If not, I won’t give it away, but you’ll be in on the secret not many pages into McKay’s book.

The desperation of Tracy’s post-divorce life is softened somewhat by her readers. Her online friends, people she’d never heard of, stepped forward with gift cards and Christmas packages. But she still had a fight on her hands. The shock of taking over clogged-sink duty, not to mention the worst shift of all — 24/7 with nobody to hand off to — equals, for women, out-running a bear back in pioneer days or growing veggies on Mars.

I just wanted Tracy McKay to pull through.

Photo credits:

List photo:  DanielJames via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Bag contents: nina.jsc via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Textbook: Photo via VisualHunt

By | 2017-07-23T15:35:10+00:00 July 23rd, 2017|good nonfiction|0 Comments

About the Author:

Kristen Carson was born in Idaho. She has lived in Utah, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. She currently resides near Indianapolis. She and her husband are the parents of four adult children. Carson's stories and articles have appeared in Chicago Parent, Indianapolis Monthly, and Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought.

Leave A Comment