Let the Crying Begin

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Dear Blogary,

I hadn’t a clue there was a shoe in the air. Yet, it seems the proverbial shoe has dropped. Remember when I said no tears were shed? Not one? Well, I have an update to my post from earlier this week.

Blogary, seems one has to adjust to this new life of school. Seems one has to adjust to this new life of working for a paid gig, while also working as Mom. This is not really news to me, Blogary. Rather, I preferred to sing ‘la la la’ loudly in my head, while moving along with my day.

As a child, when I came home from school, I either sat and watched TV, played inside or went outside to play. Interacting with my Mom wasn’t an option. Well, I could ask her to play Little People with me, but her answer would always be ‘no’. Instead, my Mom spent her time sewing, reading a book or enjoying an afternoon cigarette with a freshly made cup of coffee. (Though she has long since quit smoking, I can still picture her sitting at the counter, enjoying her afternoon ‘smoke’.)

Understand, my Mom worked. She took care of kids inside our house. She had about three kids at a time from infancy through Pre-K. She only worked during the school year. When Summer came, she’d head off to Nova Scotia with me in tow. Woo hoo! Ah, the good ol’ days. I digress.

Blogary, I am a working Mom. You know this. And, you know that prior to Joe starting school, my days were ‘easy’. I dropped the boys off at Suzann’s house in the AM before work, and I picked the boys up in the PM after work. My schedule allowed me the freedom to tackle household chores, as well as meet the needs of my paid gig.

And now? Now, my ‘flexibility’ ends at 1:30 when I am at my boss’ house and 2pm when I am home. Am I moaning and groaning needlessly? Yes, I suppose I am. Though I suspect there are others like me. Still, I’m not sure how my Mom managed to get things done, once the kids were home from school. Perhaps it just takes time. After all, my Mom had 6 kids – who knew how crazy she was with the first two.

After school child care is not an option for us, Blogary. I do not even want to think about Fall break in September. What is Fall break, you ask? It is a week where the kids are home from school. Hmmm . . . my child is home, while I am suppose to be working. Ack. Another need for adjustments. Fall camp is an option, though that takes money. Commence singing ‘La la la’ in head…

Blogary, due to the proverbial shoe dropping last night, we had cereal for supper. I wanted to run to the store and find some Ben & Jerry’s to console my wigged-out self, but refrained (successfully). And the tears shed? Yeah, those were mine, as the reality of adding another ball to my juggling act hit me. Many tears shed. Tons.

Love,
Me

Gentlemen, Start your engines!

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Please note: This blog was started on Monday April 26th.

It begins today, and it will run for the next four to six weeks. Swimming lessons Monday – Friday from 11:10 until 11:30, admission process for Montessori school, putting 25hrs into my paid job, various dental/doctor appointments and maintaining the chores in and around the house. As I drove the boys to Suzann’s this morning, I was going over the chaos beginning today. Seems this is a good example of what summer will bring, when the kids actually do start school and follow the school-year calendar. Happily, I still have a year before that happens.

On Sunday, I went to luncheon for women at our church. The purpose of the luncheon was to make sure the women knew what type of groups and activities took place within the church, specifically for women. In addition to the rundown of various woman’s groups, we heard Connie Smith speak. And, as I listened to Connie’s story, it was another reminder that we all live a life full of chaos and challenges.

The chaos of this week and the weeks ahead seems trivial in the shadows of Connie’s story. But, I am not Connie, and though I learned something from her story and took with me a refreshed mindset, the reality of my life is the only reality I know. I mention Connie and her story, because as I write about my challenges, I understand there are others out there with bigger challenges. Plus, knowing others are struggling, helps me keep my things in perspective.

I tried to find my Super Woman outfit Sunday night, prepping for the weeks ahead. In my search, I found Charlie’s wubba nub, one of Joe’s puzzle pieces, two quarters and a slice of toast. [Don’t ask.] I’m not sure where I left my Super Woman outfit. Maybe that is why I am having a hard time keeping everything afloat. Surely, once I find the outfit, I’ll be back on track and invincible. Plus, I look really hot in the Super Woman outfit. Though, honestly, when I am bloated, the outfit is much too restrictive.

I have started my engine, and this week has me running in high gear. I’m enjoying the chaos for the most part; because, when I don’t have things pressing, I tend to procrastinate to the point of complete avoidance. Plus, it is easier for me to keep away from spontaneous snacking, when I am busy with life. As is often the case for me, snacking is frequent while idling. Although, snacking while stressed is another habit of mine. Here’s hoping I continue to find the fun amidst the chaos, and the Ben & Jerry’s stays at the grocery store.

So, I started this post on Monday, as I indicated. And today? Yes, today is Wednesday April 28th. Seems the busy schedule leaves little time for blogging. Rest assured, I have managed to stay up-to-date on emails, Facebook, Woot.com and shirt.woot.com. We all have our priorities, eh? I have also squeezed in a movie via Netflix, playtime with the boys, multiple loads of laundry and . . . Well, I am sure I accomplished other non-scheduled tasks. And once again, my blogging is being cut short, as it is time to pick up the boys and take them to swim class. Once swim class is over, I will need to tend to the vacuuming. I don’t think it is a good sign, when the carpet resembles a hiking trail.

The Myth of being Balanced

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I confess, as I become stressed while embarking on the journey of putting my oldest in school and prepping for the financial sacrifices that are ahead of us, I just ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Seriously. In one sitting. Yes, I just finished eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Some folks exercise when they are stressed. Me? I make quick runs to the grocery store, sing Richard Marx songs and eat ice cream (among other items of the junk food family). Oh, and I cut my hair. I am so glad I am normal. Or – wait. Is it abnormal? Whatever.

Entering this new phase of the school years is yet another balancing act of life. Of course, In my opinion, balancing is an ‘act’. It is a literal act that plays out on one’s stage of life, complete with lights and cameras. Aside from balancing a ball on your nose or finding balance while walking a tightrope, ‘balance’, as it is referred to by multi-tasking Moms and Dads, does not exist. And, trying to find the mythical ‘balance’ only makes one feel more out of balance. (Oh. Eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream puts your body out of balance, too. Sorry, I digress. Again.)

My life is pretty sweet now. I find I have time to tackle the tasks that need to be tackled. Ironically (not), I seem to lack the motivation to tackle the tasks. Moreover, when I tackle the tasks with little to no scheduling conflicts, it is easy to buy into the myth of being balanced. However, throw in some real life consisting of last minute changes, impromptu doctor visits, spontaneous car mishaps and a case of the Chicken Pox, and it becomes clear that the thing called ‘balance’ is best used when talking about ball or circus tricks.

Next week, and the four to six weeks that follow, will surely solidify my belief that the term ‘balance’, when applied to multi-tasking Moms and Dads, is a myth. While working, making it to various appointments, keeping the house stocked and cleaned, I will be taking my boys to swimming lessons 5 days a week for the next four to six weeks, depending on how fast they learn. Their classes are 10 minutes long, starting at 11:10 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. Though the time at the pool will be short, relatively speaking, it will create a ripple effect each day, which will make the next several weeks increasingly challenging. A prep for the school year, perhaps?

The days and time I work at my boss’ house will be altered, with me working later than normal. My later hours will require my husband to alter his work schedule, ensuring the kids are picked up in time from daycare. And, because my days and hours will be altered, the time at home to tackle chores will be discombobulated. None of the above discombobulations (new word) are earth shattering, but the discombobulations will leave me feeling out of balance. I mean, hello?! Where on earth (or in a closet) will I find time to consume a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? When will I have time to eat a bag of Pirate’s Booty chips? And, when will I have time to cut my hair out of stress?! Seriously, folks. Next week, the mythical beast called ‘Balance’ will be blown to smithereens. [With the assumption that ‘Balance’ is a girl, I insert ‘A Girl Like You‘ or ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep‘ by the Smithereens here.]

As I brace for the impact of next week, becoming more involved in this new phase of life, I wonder how my family and I will keep it together. How often are you suppose to change the bed sheets and bathroom towels? Is it OK to recycle your underwear, as the laundry becomes backlogged? How dark can the ring around the toilet bowl get before it is considered gross? And, I have to attempt to find balance? Really? Not going to happen. Searching for ‘balance’ only leads to frustration. In fact, I think finding the Loch Ness monster would prove to be an easier find than balance. I hear Scotland is quite lovely this time of year; however, I won’t try to fit that trip into my schedule. After all, we have money to save, tasks to tackle and junk food to crave.

P.S. I have another pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer: Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream. Look, it was on sale 2 for $5. I had to buy two. And yes, you’ll find me eating the entire pint in the closet tomorrow, after having just registered my son for Kindergarten.

Keeping a Schedule

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You know the saying, ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ right? Well, please don’t judge this post by the title. You will not learn how to keep a schedule here. Keeping a schedule is not one of my areas of expertise, though I am a planner. This week I am going to be challenged with a full calendar, including three separate doctor appointments on three separate days.

I opened the junk drawer this morning to see if I could find something that might help me keep things together. Though I did find string, tape, nails and a hammer, I tend to think those items wouldn’t help with the job, housekeeping, child rearing and appointment keeping. I also found a shoot, develop & toss camera. Perhaps I should take pictures of me trying to keep a schedule.

I don’t mind being busy, but I mind not having downtime. Today is my downtime day, and I will milk it. Last night, the weather forecasters warned of a winter storm. I was concerned the boys would be home, my husband would be home and I would be catering to their every need, while also trying to do my daily unsung tasks. Happily, the forecasters were wrong. This morning, we woke to a gray day with no signs of freezing precipitation. Woo hoo! The kids went to day care, my husband went to work and I have the day to myself to do what I need to do at my own pace. Does that sound selfish? Yes, I believe it does sound selfish, and I reserve the right to be selfish whenever I find downtime.

Keeping a schedule to me means finding downtime. I do all I can to find time to myself. Whenever the kids are around, I find it virtually impossible to not be attentive to their every need. My weakness, this I know. Whenever my husband is around, I find it virtually impossible to not become overwhelmed with expectations. My weakness, this I know. I don’t believe I am alone with these weaknesses. I believe Moms across the world suffer from the same whatchamacallit. Keeping a schedule can offer help to the crazy, provided you find the downtime. Trying to keep a schedule with no downtime will only make one crazy. Just ask me.

Please don’t take this as complaining. I am not complaining. This is my life, and I have a good life. I am sitting here in a comfy chair, blogging on a laptop. We have food, clothing and shelter. I have two healthy boys, and I have a husband who is still my husband. As a bonus, I have two dogs sleeping soundly on their doggie bed and blanket, while a guest dog shares the space with them. I work from home, and I love my job. And, today, I have a wide open day to enjoy as downtime. I will get some laundry done today, and I will reserve my right to hold off vacuuming until Friday. Ah, the joy of being your own housekeeping boss.

All the above said, maintaining my composure this week will prove challenging. The appointments will be long, and rush hour traffic will be annoying. But, I will do all I can to keep the schedule and find the downtime. I will enjoy the laughter with the boys, and I will see what I can do to bring a smile to my husband’s face. In fact, I believe I have some markers and glitter pens in the junk drawer. Perhaps I’ll make some hand-crafted smiles and surprise my husband and boys throughout the week. Or maybe, I’ll make time to sit down with the boys and make glittery creations together. After all, the housekeeping is already on the schedule, no need to avoid messes, especially when I’m the boss.