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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...