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Friday, November 14, 2014

Working Mom Woes

 Dressing up and looking good all day is killing me. Seriously. After being a stay-at-home mom for seven years, I have rejoined the workforce...and the challenge of making sure I have lipstick on, is more than I can handle.

I long for my t-shirts and cargo pants...Flip flops and ponytails...Ahhh....comfort...why have you abandoned me? I am missing my work-out "uniform" of leggings, and a sweatshirt that would take me through dropping the kids off in the morning, to picking them up in the afternoon. That outfit got me to baseball games, tumbling and so much more. Never mind that I wore that outfit, whether I made it to the gym or not...

I find it hilarious (and somewhat sad) that the heels I bought for a fancy Christmas party have now become my daily "go to" shoe. Really, all of my fanciest clothes have become daily work outfits...and it's been a year since I have even put on my capri cargo pants.

Juggling work and home has been difficult, if not near impossible. I am clearly a glutton for
punishment... And sadly...I have become THAT mom! One morning the middle son said, "I have a field trip tomorrow!" "You do?" I responded, "Where are you going?" (EEK! How is it that I don't know where he is going?) I have gone from knowing EVERYTHING about my children's lives...to knowing next to nothing! Yes...I have gone from the mom who has driven on every field trip for the last 7 years...the mom who helped out at the school so much that people thought I worked there! The mom who has all the kids' friends over for play-dates every single weekend...the house that all the neighborhood kids congregate... And now...I have become the absent mom. The mom who barely knows what is going on! I am the mom I used to look down on...Ironic...

My working has put the load on dear old Dad...getting the kids to school, picking them up...one goes to cross country, the other to soccer...music lessons and more. He has been a trooper! My work schedule is crazy and more often than not, I am still at the office well past dinnertime. And while I feel bad that he is having to cart the kids around, I secretly think, "Welcome to MY world, Dude!" I did that for 7 years! I spent more time in the car, than I did at home. Juggling 2 kids in baseball...practices at the same time...in parks across town from each other, while getting the little on to tumbling. It's no wonder, I stayed in my workout clothes all day! By the time I dropped the kids off in the morning, went to the gym, hit the grocery store and put the food away, it was time to go pick up the kids and "start" my day... so I DO feel bad for him...I just don't feel THAT bad... (cue evil laugh here...)

But my gloating isn't very long lasting...because I have quickly realized that he is much more efficient than I am. He has somehow managed to train the kids...they get up early, are dressed before they come downstairs...They are fed, brushed and packed up for school, well ahead of time. He is like Colonel Von Trapp in the "Sound of Music,"
blowing his little whistle as the kids run down the stairs and fall in line! (oh...and sadly, I am more like disorganized Maria...)

 In the seven years that I took the kids to school, we were running out the door, one kid with no shoes on, the other combing her hair in the car and the other eating breakfast as we drove at breakneck speeds, hoping to beat the train at the crossing...and screeching into the drop off line at school with me yelling, "GO, GO, GO!!" (I could wallpaper a room with all the Tardy Slips...)  With Dad at the helm, the kids have been late to school exactly NEVER! But he has it easier than I did...New town, new school...fantastic lunch program means no making lunches...no train crossing and no parking lot to deal with ... just pull up to the curb, kids jump out and off you go. If I only had it so easy...

I really have "Mom Guilt"...Guilty when I am at work and I am missing out on something for the kids...and guilty when I take time off work to go do something with the kids. I just can't win! I worry about the kids...how are they adjusting? Are they desperate for my constant love and affection? I ask the girl, "How are you doing now that Mom is working?" She looks at me thoughtfully, "It's OK," she answers, "I mean, I miss you and wish you were around more...but Dad is doing a good job..." she pauses and looks up at me thoughtfully, "Besides, you dress a lot better now!" she finishes with a grin.

She's right...
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Last Tissue...

It's all my fault... I only had 3 tissues left in the little tissue packet in my purse. How could I be so unprepared? It IS, after all, Sunday and we are going to church...how could I not have packed more? It's a strange phenomena...The kids NEVER need tissue...UNLESS we are at church! And then...well, they all need it...and I spend my time passing out tissues...

Today was no different. The minute we get in the car, 2 out of 3 kids need a tissue. By the time we get into the church and sit down, I am down to one. Filled with (false) hope that we can make it, I open the book and try to follow along... but I am distracted...out of the corner of my eye, I can see the eldest...wiping his nose with his right hand. UGH! Not the right hand! Soon it will be the "sign of peace" and he will be shaking hands with those around him...why doesn't he remember this? "Do you need a tissue?" I mouth. He shakes his head. (He totally needs a tissue) I try to ignore him as I listen to the first reading. I feel a tug on my sleeve and look down to see the youngest staring up at me. "I need a tissue," she says. (Of course she does...) With fear and trepidation, I give away the LAST tissue...this is concerning...because usually the middle child is the tissue culprit and he hasn't asked for one at all. This is not going to end well.

The little one uses her tissue and searches her body for a pocket. She doesn't have any pockets and hands it to me. (lovely) Pretty soon, I see the eldest wiping his nose again with his hand. ARGH!! "Do you need a tissue?" I ask him. He shakes me off. I lean over..."Do not use your right hand to wipe your nose...you are going to be shaking hands with that hand." He stares at me blankly and then looks at his hand. "Go to the bathroom and get some tissues. You can take your brother." He shrugs me off and says he is fine. Oh, right....I forgot...he is 13...he knows everything....and I know nothing. The church suddenly feels very warm to me....

As the mass progresses and I struggle to keep my frustration in check...I see a sudden movement in my peripheral vision...yep...he is wiping his nose...but now he has moved from his hand, to wiping his nose in the collar of his shirt. (Does anyone else find this gross?) I shoot him a quick glare, "Go to the bathroom," I mouth with eyes blazing. "I'm fine," he mouths. (He's not going to be fine, if he doesn't listen to me) My temperature is quickly rising and my patience running thin. The husband looks at me and says, "I am taking him to the bathroom", and points to the middle child. "Get tissue for everyone," I plead. But instead of going, they sit down to listen to the sermon. ARGHHH!!! All it is going to take is one sneeze from the teenager and all bets are off.... this is soooo not good! (And I am fairly certain that we are the most irritating family in the church at the moment...)
We manage to make it through the sermon, as I just choose to ignore the sniffling and nose wiping. Finally I ask him, "where is the tissue I gave you in the car? Is it in your pocket?" He pats his pockets...and shakes his head. "Where?" I whisper. "I used it and put it in the side pocket of the car door. Oh gee thanks, I think. That's not gross...

I should probably comment... that we are in CHURCH! Church, where people do not talk aloud...where they pay attention to the priest and sit quietly. Not us...not today. We were terrible. I am embarrassed for us... And then it happened...the sneeze! He pinched his nose and suppressed it...but it wasn't good enough. I pressed my finger into his leg..."Go...to...the...bathroom...NOW!" I angrily whisper. By now I am red faced, sweating and feeling like my heart is going to beat out of my chest. So much for my peaceful time with God. "Please give me patience, Lord" I ask.
The teenager jumps up and so does Dad, and off they go...leaving me behind with the little ones. This is good...I can get my frustration in check.

By the time they return, I am calm...I am zen...all is good. They have armed themselves with lots of toilet tissue, all perfectly folded to resemble multiple tissues. I am back in business. I hand the hand sanitizer down the row, for all to use. We finish out the mass with my silent prayer to work on patience. It isn't the kids fault that he is a teenager with the attention span of a strung-out squirrel. And next week...well, next week, I will have a packet of Kleenex in my purse! Maybe two...and a roll...a whole roll...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Early Riser...

"Hey Mom, do you have an alarm clock I can use?" asks my 11 year old son. "Sure..." I say, "are you going to get yourself up in the morning?" "Yep," he tells me. I rummage around in the cupboard and bring him the travel alarm clock. "Where do you want it?" I ask. Since he has a loft bed, I suggest putting it on the bed or right next to it. "No..., I want it across the room so I will have to get out of bed and turn it off," he says, "otherwise I might just turn it off and go back to sleep!" Wow...this kid has really thought it out!

I set the time and get it all set. "OK Mom, will you set the alarm for me?" Sure, I say, "What time?" "Better make it 4:30," he announces. WHAT? "Well, I want to get up really early, get dressed, eat breakfast, make my lunch and then play video games before school."  Uhhh...there's logic in that...but 4:30am?  "You know it's dark out at 4:30 in the morning, right?" I explain, "And that is just way too early to get up...how about 6:00?" He stares at me a moment..."How about 5:00?"  We finally settle on 5:30am and he promises not to wake me up.

I didn't sleep well that night...anticipating hearing his alarm and having to get up to turn it off. At 6:20am, my alarm goes off and I get up to see if my eldest is up and playing video games.  Hmm...not in his room...not in the playroom...I head downstairs...the lights are so bright, I have to shield my eyes. The kid has every single light on in every room. Lamps, overhead lights...BRIGHT! I stumble through the entryway, turning off lights as I go and make my way to the kitchen. His lunchbox is open and on the island...a bag of crackers and a muffin are tucked neatly inside...clearly he started making his lunch. The TV is on and there on the couch sits the eldest child...."Good morning!" I say. "Oh, hey mom...good morning," comes the reply. I look at the clock..."Hey...you know it's just about 6:30 and I am going to go wake up your brother and sister. What time did you get up?" "OMIGOSH!" he yelps as he jumps over the back of the couch, "I got up at 5:30!! I got dressed, ate breakfast and started to make my lunch...but I got distracted!!" (well..this isn't much of a shock)  He looks at me in anguish.  "It's OK," I tell him, "Go upstairs and play your video games until it's time to get ready to leave. I will  finish making your lunch." Relief sweeps over his face and he gives me a quick hug and a "thanks mom" and bounds up the stairs.

I worry about him all day...thinking how tired he must be, getting up so early. But he was fine when he came home...and he proceeded to do the early thing for the rest of the week. He decided to help me one day, by waking up his brother and sister for me...with his new trombone.   He snickered to himself as he stood outside of brother's room...and then he let go with a loud blast in his brother's direction. I grabbed the camera and snapped a photo as I heard the middle son yell, "OK, OK, I hear you!! ENOUGH!" Little sister calls out, "I am already up so I don't care if you blow that thing!" We all have a good laugh...well, not the brother who got woken up...he was kind of crabby for the rest of the morning...hey...if you can't take a joke...

I am starting to like this early morning thing the kid has going. Maybe I will get up and work out at 5:30AM...  (HA, HA, HA! Whew...good one!)  But by day five, he has pooped out. The alarm went off at 5:30am...but the kid didn't hear it. Neither did I...but Daddy did and staggered into the kid's room at 6:00, after listening to it for half an hour. By Saturday, the early morning idea is long forgotten...I am eager to sleep in...the one day I can...Of course I wake up automatically at 6:30am...as did the dog, who panted and danced around, making it impossible for me to ignore him and go back to sleep. Thank goodness I went to bed early. (well, early for me!)  And the two little ones were up...but no eldest child and no Daddy...I guess the week of getting up early caught up with him. Wonder if this is it...if it has ended...I guess I we'll see what the school week brings.  All I know is that I need more coffee!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

BEWARE: Woman with Purse!


With the start of school comes the start of band. The eldest swore he did not want to take band this year. I was disappointed...he had just received the "most improved" award at the end of last school year. He was so  happy and proud of himself! But he said he wanted to try the other courses and "take a break." Well, that lasted all of one week. As soon as the band teacher came in with all the instruments, he was wanting right back into band. He came home from school and announced, "Mom, I want to take band... you have to go to the band parent meeting tonight." (Why do I have to go to a meeting when HE is the one who wants to be in band?) But like the sucker I am...I went. I figured I better...what if Middle School Band is different from Elementary School Band? I met the new band teacher who would be teaching Concert Band, which is what my little drummer was signing up for. She was very nice and I liked her immediately. "What does your son play?" she inquired, with a hopeful look. "He plays the drums," I replied as her face fell. "I have five percussionists," she lamented, "But no brass...does he want to play the trumpet?" I explained to her how, in 4th grade, he wanted to play the trumpet...but he didn't have the lung capacity and almost passed out just from trying it. "Maybe he should try again!" she prompted. "No...I think he is set on the drums," I told her and went on to sign him up.

OK, so my purse isn't THIS huge...
As I was leaving I saw some fourth grade moms that I am friendly with. Since band isn't offered until a student is in 4th grade, I thought I would be helpful and tell them just how great the elementary band teacher is. As I was telling them how disappointed my son was when he couldn't play trumpet and how wonderful the teacher was, to help him find what would work for him...I felt my purse grabbed from behind and shoved forward. Was someone trying to steal my purse? I spun around and saw a woman sitting there with a scowl on her face, "You've been CLOCKING me in the head with that thing!" she snarled. "Omigosh!!! I am SO sorry!!" I responded. I was mortified. I had been talking with my hands and my purse was moving with me...and it is not a small purse..it is a big heavy purse! I continued to apologize profusely...to which she rolled her eyes and and looked away, not even acknowledging me...as if I wasn't worthy of her talking to me! Oh...well...that just made me surly...and before I could stop myself, I said..."well...you could have moved out of the way!" as I made a sliding over motion with my hand. (she had been sitting on a long picnic table style bench...we were in the school cafeteria) She glared at me and said..."My daughter was sitting there!" Now...I know I have a sharp tongue...and this could go one of two ways...one in which I say something very regrettable...or one in which I just leave and mumble snarky things under my breath. I chose the second way...perplexed at her reaction...and wondering why she didn't just move the heck out of the way or at least say, "Woo hoo...I'm here...!" I certainly wouldn't sit in my seat while some woman repeatedly smacked me in the head...

But now I had a new dilemma...this is a mom at school. And although I don't have kids the same age, I am sure I will run into her on the playground at drop off and pick up. I don't want any enemies...and I didn't mean to be rude...(I was only stating the obvious)...and I really was mortified that I had "clocked" her in the head...

So I went out of my way to find her a few days later on the playground. (I did see her every day and there is only so much ducking I can do) Which brings me to the place where I found myself chasing after her with an "excuse me, excuse me!" She turned and I said, "Hi...I am so sorry about the other day when I hit you with my purse!" (never in my life did I think I would be saying that line..) "I feel so bad...it was an accident!" She looked at me and very nicely said, "Oh, don't worry about it! It's OK!" Whew...I was so relieved...until she said..."I was just taken aback by your reaction." What? You mean where I profusely apologized? (I think I blurted that out loud) "when you said I should have moved over." And before I knew it, I was saying..."Oh, yes...well after I apologized and you rolled your eyes, I said that." She stared at me...what was happening? This wasn't supposed to go this way!! "I'm all about comic relief," I blustered, "Just trying to lighten things up! That's just my sense of humor!" This was not going well...and then...she said..."OH...you're so funny! What's your name?" I told her my first name...and she told me my last name. UH-OH... as it turns out she had sent me an email to invite me to a mutual friend's baby shower...whew! Glad we were having this conversation...what if I had let it go? That would be an uncomfortable shower. As it was, I wasn't carrying my purse at school for fear of startling her...

It turned out that I couldn't make the baby shower and sent her a text to let her know. Her response was classic, "I for one, will miss your sense of humor...and your purse!" OK...she and I are going to be just fine! With that one line...all is right in my mom world! I will just chalk it all up to a bad week...we all have them...In fact, I have run into her twice in the last week and she was friendly and lovely...I think we have bonded over the "purse incident".  (I did purchase a lighter weight purse...so no one should fear me now...)

By the way...a few days later, the eldest child came home and announced that he was switching instruments and would be going into beginning band. Saxophone, clarinet, trumpet...he wasn't sure.  As we stood in line to purchase his music book...he finally decided...Trombone!  Can't be any louder than drums......can it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

GO TO BED!

It's good to have your own Ninja...
It's 10:45pm and a Ninja, a Warlord and a Princess just ran through the kitchen!  Obviously, my three children  have inherited by night-owl tendencies...and while I knew it was inevitable...I really wish they would just GO TO BED! This is how it's been...every night of summer vacation thus far. I swore it would be different. I prepped them for a month before vacation, telling them that THIS year it would be different! They would be going to bed a half hour later than their normal school-year bedtime...everyone agreed...there was no arguing...so how is it that I find myself with three kids still up...playing pretend, complete with costumes, with no sign of slowing down, at nearly 11 pm?

I know it's my fault...I let them sleep in. If I can't get my quiet time after they go to bed, then I want it in the morning. I get up before them...quietly tip-toe downstairs and revel in the blissful quiet of the morning. Of course it isn't that quiet...the dog is up, scratching and licking himself and panting at me to go out. But I will take what I can get. I am getting a little quiet time right now, come to think of it. With the husband watching the baseball game he recorded and the three kids upstairs slaying dragons...I actually have time to think....
Not really...they are loud as they argue who's castle they are in, who is saving the princess, who is the bad guy...

Yes, those really are our lunchboxes!
I don't know what I am complaining about...I have been dying for summer vacation to get here!  No getting up early and driving the kids to school! No plans...no agenda...no homework or projects. No making school lunches...my most-hated task ever! I hate it so much that I calculated just how many school lunches I will make over my lifetime...not counting what I have already done...In the fall, I will begin my journey of making 6,860 school lunches!! NOOOOO! And really, if you count what I have already done over the years...and I did...3,675 lunches...for a grand total of 10,535! Yikes! Really? Wait a minute...sometimes the kids get hot lunch...whew...I feel so much better...that number is just too daunting and I am starting to sweat just thinking about it!

So here I am, thinking that I have it made...because I don't have to make their lunches...but wait...I do! I realized on the first day of vacation, that not only do I have to feed them breakfast and dinner, but they want numerous snacks, lunch, and after dinner, dessert! And the little one is a bored eater...which means, when she is bored, she wants to eat! (I worry about that girl!) The good news is that the oldest asked if he could cook dinner. Well, this is a happy surprise! What? Help me out? Learn something new? OK! I immediately picture he and I browsing through the cookbook, meticulously planning a meal...doing the shopping together and then leisurely cooking together. "How about I make macaroni and cheese?" he says, popping the images in my head. "OK.."  He looks in the refrigerator, studying the contents..."I'll cook this ham too," he says, pointing at the ham steak on the shelf. "Make that ravioli's and ham with rootbeer floats for dessert." So much for my meal planning. "Why the sudden interest in cooking?" I ask. "Well, I don't want to get to college and be living in my apartment and eating cold cereal and popcorn all the time!" Can't argue with that logic! Glad he is planning ahead!


(from the web...but ours looked like this!)

Since her brother tried his hand at cooking, the youngest wanted to have her own try at it. She announced that she would be making breakfast for dinner:  sausage, pancakes and scrambled eggs. She couldn't pick something that can be microwaved? Luckily Daddy was home to teach his daughter how to make pancakes! I am not good at it, nor do I have the patience to teach the art of pancakes to a demanding 6 year old! I would have definitely had to break out the cooking sherry! The next day, the middle child said he was making dinner. He is very ambitious...shrimp tacos, quesadillas, beans and rice...it took a lot of help on my part...but I am thinking that in the long run this is going to pay off! So far they have each cooked two meals...and have decided that for now on every Monday - Wednesday, they will be doing the cooking. The husband and I are responsible for the other four days... that's fine with me...now if I could just get them to help in the housework...

(Dust bunny creation from the web)
UGH...the housework...I have been seriously neglecting the housework. With all three kids at home, I find it nearly impossible to get anything done...it's like trying to brush your teeth while eating  Oreo's....impossible! Last night, the middle son was laying on the ottoman, watching TV. As he lifted his sock-clad foot up, he had a huge ball of dog fur attached. "Ewww...MOM!" he yelled. I looked over as he picked it off his foot and threw it on the floor...."you really need to do something about this, Mom," he tells me. Really? I think maybe it's time to teach my child how to use the swiffer thing to get dog hair out from under the couch! We could make it a game...whoever finds the most dog hair and dust bunnies and makes something creative out of them, wins!

Let's see...I have them cooking...I'll get the middle son to do the floors...now if I can get the little one to clean the windows and the oldest to do the dog's poop scoop, I might just have the summer I've been dreaming of! Whee!