BUT YOU’RE GOING TO MISS THIS…

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When someone asks if I have children, how many, and how old (the answers are yes; three; ages 11, nine and six) - their response to me is usually some variation of “Wow - you’ve got your hands full!” or “You’re in the thick of it!” Typically, it’s a woman who is older than me, whose children are grown and gone. I shall call her #olderwellrestedwoman

Often, she will follow up with something along the lines of “Enjoy these days - they go by so fast!” Or, my personal favorite “You’re going to miss this!”

At which point, as I’m looking at her well-rested face and calm demeanor, I usually respond with a polite “I know! Thanks!” but internally I’m throwing her the mother of all eye rolls. Thanks, #olderwellrestedwoman

What I’m really thinking is that they call it “the thick of it” because it’s HARD. It’s not always hard, and it’s not always exhausting, but let’s be honest - a lot of it is. That’s why it’s called THE THICK OF IT. 

Thick - like my waistline - is not ideal. Thick is too much of one thing.

“You’re going to miss this!” is precisely what I don’t need to hear as my child is pitching a fit because she’s hungry, but won’t eat the hot dog I got her because “it tastes like a hot dog.” Or as my girls are fighting over the only crayon in the car, which is inexplicable given the estimated billions of crayons we own. Or as my eleven-ager gives me copious attitude because he’s hangry and currently filled with discontent. This is the thick of it, folks. And I’m in it.

I can’t help but feel trivialized when an #olderwellrestedwoman says that I’m going to miss this. I know that’s not their intent, but what I hear is “you should be enjoying this more than you are.” What I also hear is a resounding message that I shouldn’t complain about my life or my kids. Ever. 

My children and my husband and my life are absolute treasures to me: I am abundantly blessed. I FOUGHT to have these precious children. I love them more than Outlander and ironic coffee mugs. However, I should be able to lean on and vent to my village about the less than perfect moments and seasons of raising children, marriage, and life, and to do so without enduring the retort “but you’re going to miss this.”  Just let me be where I am. Yes - I will miss pieces of this - but pieces of this are also REALLY HARD. They’re thick.

I’m not alone: the other day, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how tired she is of her kids being slobs. She was complaining about cleaning their rooms that she had repeatedly asked them to clean. More than one person responded to her post “but you will miss the mess when they are grown and gone!” Ugh. Eye roll.

No. She won’t miss the mess, and YES - she’s tired of cleaning up after people who are perfectly capable of cleaning up after themselves. Will she miss her kids? Of course. But she won’t miss feeling underappreciated, overworked and exhausted. That, I’m fairly confident, she won’t miss. I felt a kinship with her - that in her desire to express frustration with her reality - people felt the need to comment that she shouldn’t feel that way. She absolutely can, and should, be able to vent to her “village” without reproach. It ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. 

If you know me, you know I tell it like it is, and though I have sunshine and rainbows, I’ve also got the other less colorful stuff too, like anyone. I could only post the perfect moments, but where’s the solidarity in that?

Case in point - here is my post on Facebook from the other day: 

Public FB post: 72°, wine with a friend, Colorado sunshine, kids playing in gorgeous new backyard. #blessed

Real life FB post: cleverly obscure fighting sister from view and pretend you can’t hear repeated fights over the same damn toy and the incessant requests for water, snacks and Kleenex. #notenoughwineinmyhouse 

I could have just posted the first part, and gotten lots of “likes” and “loves” and everyone could assume that the situation was 100% peachy. Was it great? Yes. But there was more to it than the serene photo shows, and I wasn’t afraid to share it. Fighting sisters were a part of the scene.

Life is not black and white and it’s not good or bad - it simply is. Some days have more good than bad. But we are doing a disservice to each other if we only present the “Facebook perfect” moments. We connect with people by communicating with them: I feel a rush of support and happiness when someone identifies with something I’ve said, even if it’s about something not so great. It’s what connects us, our experiences. 

There is a strange kind of shame in acknowledging this time in life for exactly what it is: challenging, messy, exhausting, worrisome and a bit like a Cat 4 hurricane. You know what? Own it. It’s your damn hurricane, girl. This is your circus and these are your monkeys. 

So, if you’re tempted to tell someone “you’re going to miss this,” I encourage you to think twice. Consider responding with a supportive “I remember those days - they were great, but hard!” Buy that mom some wine. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her it’s worth it. Tell her that she’s in the thick of it, and you’ve got her back if she needs you. That’s what she needs to hear.

ALL THE THINGS

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In the spirit of self-improvement, self-awareness and other things that sound impressive, I’ve selected the word “lighter” as my word for this year. I am striving to be “lighter” in several aspects of my life, including (but not limited to): belongings, attitude and of course, my physical weight. As of late, my primary focus has been on the belongings category. And by belongings, I mean “things” – the mountains of items that find their way into my home by way of school paperwork, fast food meal toys, clothes, trinkets, craft supplies, junk mail and coffee mugs. Okay, the coffee mugs thing, I own. I created that problem. But the rest? Ugh.

I have managed many challenging projects in my life and my career. I have coordinated national tours, I have chaired and emceed a black-tie awards event, and I have launched a new national benchmark program. I rocked them all. But when it comes to managing the “things” in my house, I fail. It’s not easy, friends, to manage things.

The cycle in my house goes something like this: stuff piles up gradually, I shove stuff into every possible storage device or cabinet, then stuff overflows, then I get cranky and throw nearly everything away (recycling or donating what I can, judgers) and then the whole glorious process starts all over again. It’s akin to shoveling with a spoon during a blizzard, only less fun. 

Shockingly, the humans who share this house with me don’t care. I CREATED three of them – how can they not care?! I hate clutter and I have created three humans and married another – none of whom care in the least about piles and piles of stuff. I love decorating and therefore have lots of pretty tables and dressers. My family doesn’t view these items as decorative, however: they view them as opportunities – dare say I challenges – to pile stuff on top of every available horizontal surface. Why put two gloves on one table? Spread the joy and put one glove on ONE table, and then, inexplicably, put the other glove on ANOTHER table, in an entirely different room! Brilliant! Let’s watch mom’s head explode! You see my problem.

For those who are going to unhelpfully suggest that I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, spare yourselves. I’ve read it. You have not lived with the beasts that I do. This book’s principles are about as realistic as me giving up carbs. Plus, this system would suggest that I do not need the approximately 500 Sharpies that I’ve accumulated, and anyone who would suggest that is dead to me. SHARPIES ARE LIFE. Plus, getting rid of things that don’t “spark joy” only resulted in me getting rid of some cleaning supplies and the scale in my bathroom.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I too, am part of the problem. I like shopping, and I like pretty things. This is a challenging combination. That, along with newfound free time (youngest just started kindergarten, see previous blog post), and I am in a dangerous predicament. Shop, buy, decorate. This has not helped either the amount of stuff in our house, nor my already egregious coffee mug collection. 

So, this brings me to today, where I find myself in a clean, yet continuously cluttered home that simultaneously brings me joy and drives me nuts. What to do? 

A friend of mine suggested that instead of shopping, I go to the gym, and now I have one less friend.

Another friend, whose kids are grown and gone, unhelpfully said “one day you will miss this mess.” Friends – here’s one thing not to say to someone in the thick of it – “one day you will miss this.” My kids? Yes, I will of course miss my kids. Their slovenly ways? No. Once my kids are grown and gone, I will bound gleefully around my clutter-free home that actually STAYS clutter-free. I will then go to their homes, bring piles of things, and leave them on every available horizontal surface. Payback time, kids.

Yet another friend said that every time I feel like yelling at my family about the mess, I should drink some wine and find my happy place, and then she and I became best friends.

The moral of the story? I have no answer. Like every complicated problem, the causes are varied and so, likely, is the solution. And so, I take baby steps to have a “lighter” life – slowly getting rid of things we don’t need that I’ve hung onto for years, shopping a little less, ignoring “sale” emails, and helping my kids have more respect for their many belongings. The husband, dashing and handsome and charming as he is, may be a lost cause in this department, but I’ll still keep him. He buys me Sharpies.

NEWFOUND TIME

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My youngest just started kindergarten. I mean – MY YOUNGEST JUST STARTED KINDERGARTEN!! While moms (better moms) around the globe sent their youngest off to school, then sat at home and cried into their coffee, I gleefully skipped all the way home from the bus stop. Yes, I love her. Yes, of course I miss her during the day. But not only was she beyond ready to start school, I was ready for her to start school.

I have three kids – my oldest is 11, then nine, and my youngest is five. I married a bit late – and honestly wasn’t entirely sure that kids were for me. I liked kids well enough, but commitment and I can be a bit contentious, and there’s no bigger commitment on this glorious planet than becoming a parent, so I was hesitant. 

I had also completely committed to my career. I was on the fast track: MBA by age 28, named to “Top 40 under 40” by the local business journal, high profile job – I was killing it. I had my sights set on a certain path, and once I was focused on something, I was highly unskilled at seeing any other possible path. I remain this way to this day. Working on it.

But, I met the man of my dreams, and he was so dreamy I couldn’t imagine not having his children. I mean, they’d be gorgeous. And smart. And tall. And athletic. New path! Like a retriever chasing a ball, I became solely focused on becoming a mother. 

Like any other challenge in my life, I prepared. I did everything right. And then I had three consecutive miscarriages, each more devastating than the last. I could feel my dream of motherhood slipping away from me, and I was furious that this was something I couldn’t “succeed” at. Every other accomplishment in my life had been achieved by seeking the answers and putting in the work, and that equation didn’t pan out in this scenario. I was, for the first time in my life, NOT in control of a situation in my life.

Through the wonders of science and western medicine, the wonderful doctors finally figured out what was happening. It took about three years, but I had an answer. My next pregnancy was a success, resulting in our firstborn, a son. He was, and is, awe-inspiring to me. His very existence. I remember looking at him in the hospital, right after he was born, unable to comprehend that he was actually here, because for so long it seemed as though it might never happen. Honestly, I still look at him and think this. What a miracle. 

I went back to my job when he was 12 weeks old. “Look at me! Killing it! New baby, back to my job as a VP – I can DO this.” And I did. My husband and I balanced two high-demand jobs with full-time daycare and we made it work. Time to have another baby. 

Anyway, life – as it does – threw me a curve ball. A doozy. Less than two years after our son arrived, our daughter was born. In stark contrast to our very healthy son, it was immediately, apparent that our daughter was different. She struggled to breathe. She was puffy. Her APGAR scores weren’t great. The doctors and nurses looked concerned, and gave me nervous smiles. I hate nervous smiles. 

We quickly learned that life with our daughter was not going to be the same relatively easy one we’d experienced with our son. She came home from the hospital on oxygen, and would not be free of it for two years. She was fed through a g-tube, surgically implanted in her stomach. She had open heart surgery as an infant. Those are simply the highlights: in between all of those things were what seemed like a million doctor’s appointments, specialists and medical equipment requirements. 

It became clear that it was in her best interest to have me leave my job and become her full-time caregiver. We really didn’t have much of a choice and I’m grateful that we were able to make it work on only my husband’s income. I told my job I would not be returning, and I was in such a state of stress at the time, that I don’t think I fully understood the magnitude of how my life had just changed. The path I had been on was suddenly closed, and the detour was a route I wasn’t sure I knew how to navigate. Or even wanted to. Being a stay-at-home mom simply hadn’t been on my radar. 

But, like any curveball, you adjust your stance and take a swing. I threw myself into being her caregiver. I impressed doctors with my knowledge of her medical issues, and nurses with how quickly I learned to use her medical equipment. I slayed it. I was so busy being a nurse and a mom that I hardly had time to think about how dramatically my life had changed. 

Eventually, thankfully, our daughter’s health levelled out a bit. She came off oxygen. She learned to eat. At almost three, she started walking. Even with a yearlong deployment by my husband, we were doing okay.

The nanosecond, and I do mean nanosecond, I thought to myself “Phew! That was rough. But we’re good!”, I found out I was pregnant with our third child. Boom shakalaka. Though miserably sick through most of the pregnancy, I was nervously anticipating a healthy child. I love infancy: it’s my favorite stage, and I really didn’t get to enjoy it with our daughter. So, we were thrilled when our second daughter was born healthy. I marveled at how easily she did everything: she ate, she gained weight, she met her milestones on time or early – it was incredible. I soaked it all up. 

I got to enjoy her infancy, and her toddlerhood, and her preschool adorableness. Then, seemingly five minutes after she was born, she was starting kindergarten. It actually did not occur to me until possibly the week before school started, just how much time I’d have during the day. I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. But then it was here: she started school and I found myself with a lot more time during the day than I was used to.

So now I’m here: at another juncture in my life. However, the more junctures there are, the more I realize they are supposed to be there. And that a new path doesn’t mean it’s a forever path, just a “this is where you are right now” path. So the right now me needs to figure out how to balance newfound time, creative energy and the changing needs of three growing kids. And it’s all good. I will keep reminding myself that it’s all good. That I don’t, in fact, need to panic with change. That my youngest going to kindergarten is great for her, it’s good for me, and it’s all good, y’all. All good.

I LEFT MY HEART ON IONA

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Last summer, when a friend of mine said that she was going to Scotland by herself, I took the liberty of inviting myself and she gracefully allowed me to tag along. 

The trip got off to an inauspicious start. My flight was delayed by almost nine hours, which meant I missed my connection to Edinburgh. No worries! They’ll route me through London. Yay, London! A bonus I hadn’t expected. Never mind that because of this, the airline couldn’t figure out where I was and it took a solid three days to be reunited with my bags. No worries – shopping! 

Then my friend’s flight was also delayed, and she was now going to miss the entire first day of our trip, getting in at 10 pm instead of the more civilized 8 am. We had planned on touring Edinburgh that first day, then driving to a castle in the Scottish countryside to stay at that night, for which we had prepaid. See the problem was, she was our driver. No worries – I’ll take the train! I head to the train station, ask for a ticket to Culcreuch, only to be met with a befuddled look. Graeme, the helpful ticket guy and native of Scotland, had never heard of this place. This is how I knew I was in trouble. Ten minutes later I’m BFF’s with Graeme as well as his co-workers, whom he has called over to help the poor, stranded American. Deb, who is a jovial gal, looks up at me over her glasses and says “But that’s in the middle of noooowhere! Did you know that, dear?” Well, I do now, Deb. I do now. 

Eventually it’s decided that I should take a train, then a cab, all of which is made considerably easier by the fact that I STILL DON’T HAVE MY BAGS. When I hail a cab at the city nearest *howeveryoupronounceit, I jumped in and told the driver where I wanted to go and he said "Where?!" and I still managed to be surprised that no one, even getting closer to this place, has ever heard of it.

So, I give him the postcode and he looks it up and says "Oh dear. That's in the middle of noooowhere. Did you know that, dear?"

Yes. Thank you. I did know that.

"Well then, we'll just have a lovely drive out to the country." And off we went. I eventually make it to Culcreuch Castle, hit the pub, have some dinner, and am happy as a lark. 

My travel companion finally arrives in the middle of the night, and we embark on our adventure the next morning. We made our way over the coastal town of Oban, which reminds me of a very small Seattle. In other words, it felt like home and I loved it. 

Our first stop was at the famous Oban Distillery. The hostess asked if we’d like to do a tour, but when we found out it was an hour long, we paused to think. She jumped on the pause and said "or, you can just go upstairs and drink." And we became best friends with Sally. She gets us. 

So, we head upstairs to sit at the bar which has tartan covered barstools and has been around since 1794, and we hit the jackpot with Stuart. Stuart immediately starts gifting us with his knowledge of scotch. He is charming and funny and we buy Scotch for ourselves, scotch for our husbands back home and then head out to have dinner by the sea. Glorious. We end the night by listening to a bagpiper in the lobby of our hotel, and I started my tradition of taking sly selfies with men in kilts. This proved to be one of the most fun parts of my trip.

Early the next morning, we arrive at the dock for our “Three Island Tour” – which was a boat tour of the Isles Mull, Staffa and Iona. I’m excited about the photography possibilities – especially given that it was apparently prime puffin-viewing season on Staffa (an island uninhabited except by these black and white birds).

Our first ship was a large ferry, then bus across the Isle of Mull. As we pull up to Fionnphort, the skies begin to look questionable and the wind is starting to kick up. And when the seemingly "too small to be a tourist boat" pulled up, I thought "this will be fun!" as I saw them handing out yellow sea parkas to the passengers 

That's right – I missed the painfully obvious clues: ominous skies, heavy winds, small boat, parkas.

About 20 minutes into the journey to Staffa, things got fun. Big waves, rolling and rocking, high winds. The skipper started handing out plastic bags, but soon resorted to saying "kindly lean over the side of the ship." We had to stop and wave (while clinging for life to the boat) at Staffa – the water was far too choppy (or “fresh,” as the Scots call it) for us to go ashore. So, puking, but no puffins. 

We looked like the cast of Gilligan’s Island when we arrived on Iona, windswept and green. But I quickly recovered, and also swiftly fell in love with this charming, lovely Scottish isle. I visited the Iona Abbey, sat on the beach and visited the small shops. It was incredible and I do so solemnly swear that I left a part of my heart on Iona. 

The next day, we started out for Inverness. We stopped along the way to see the viaduct where Harry Potter was filmed, as well as the Glenfinnan Monument. Along the way, we passed many lochs (including one called Loch Lochy, which still makes me laugh. “Lakey Lake” – I mean, are you even trying, Scotland?), and I wondered aloud, having taken no responsibility for the planning of the trip whatsoever, where Loch Ness might be. I pulled it up on my phone, and it was SEVEN MINUTES AWAY. On the road to Inverness. 

We, upon arriving at the town of Loch Ness, (and at the advice of a local barkeep), walked through a farmer’s sheep field and found ourselves on a deserted shore of Loch Ness. It was incredible and I was fangirling big time. I will, however, admit to shrieking like a little girl when a stick washed over my foot. What a delightful surprise, to see Loch Ness.

We made it to Inverness, checked into the Strathness House, had a lovely dinner, and finished off the night listening to a dashing older rocker guy (in a kilt, no less) covering everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Diamond. 

The next day, we were on our way to Balmoral Castle when another delightful surprise happened: highland cows! (or, “heeland coos”) I had been dying to photograph some, but all the ones we’d driven past were in fields far away. We came around a corner on a tiny road, and there they were – a whole glorious herd of them, right next to the road. I stood there and photographed, and chatted with them, and plotted for the kidnapping of one of their babies (who are fluffy balls of amazingness). I thanked the Scottish travel gods for the blessing of seeing these beautiful creatures up close. 

We made it to Balmoral, and befriended (as we do) the gentleman who drove the shuttle back and forth from the main gate to the castle. He told us some “hidden” places to see while touring the castle. On our way back, we struck up a conversation with him, and in the middle of the rather benign conversation, he states “Oh, and the Queen arrived while you were touring the castle.” I’m sorry – what? The Queen had, in fact, arrived while we were touring the castle. We never saw her, though, nor any fanfare. When I mentioned that the arrival of the President of the United States is generally a media circus, the gentleman simply looked at me and said “Well, we’re not Americans.” Duly noted. We are rather unnecessarily hysterical. 

We wound up at the gorgeous Tor Na Coille hotel that night, but before turning in, took a drive out to the Dunnottar Castle ruins. While I expected amazing scenery, I was completely unprepared for the beauty of this place at sunset. One of the more incredible moments of my life. 

The next day, we drove through the amazingly beautiful Cairngorms National Park on our way to Edinburgh. Our last day was spent in Edinburgh, where we toured many of the famous Harry Potter sites, including the café where J.K. Rowling wrote parts of her novels. We were able to see so many historic sites and we absolutely loved the city of Edinburgh.

I will carry a piece of this trip with me in my heart for the rest of my life. Everything: the beauty of the countryside, the history in its buildings and land, the warmth of its people – all combined to make for an amazing trip.

The Joy of Traveling

I thought I’d share with you a story of a recent trip I took. At the risk of sounding old, air travel just isn’t what it used to be. But for reals, AIR TRAVEL JUST ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. Bah humbug.

On my fight, I was feeling all lucky that I snagged an exit row aisle seat. I even texted my husband and said “Yay! Exit row seat!” all braggy-like. And then fate laughed and laughed and laughed at me.

As soon as I sent the text, the guy in the window seat took his shoes off and put one of his feet up. ON the exit door. Like, really stretched that leg to get it up there. It was super sexy. Every time a flight attendant would walk by, they would tell him to put it down. He would, and as soon as they were gone, he’d put it right back up. Because he’s five, apparently. And apparently it’s okay to take your shoes off and put your damn smelly nasty feet up on display.

Then the dude in the middle seat, who also occupied at least a quarter of my seat, snored like a trucker for the entire flight. His snoring would slowly escalate in intensity until he’d literally stop breathing for a terrifying 15 seconds or so, and then his whole body would jolt and he’d snort crazy loud and wake himself up. Then the whole cycle would repeat.

The first time he snorted, I had just started a rather frightening episode of Stranger Things. This particular snort was so loud - not to mention unexpected - I about jumped out of my chair and very nearly peed myself. The guy across the aisle from me tried to stifle a laugh, but failed. I shot him a look and said “tradesies??” - my voice full of hope - and he laughed and said “not a snowball’s chance in hell, ma’am.”  But when the liquor cart came down the aisle, dude bought me a beer for laughing at my expense. We good, dude. We good.

The grand finale was the guy who tried to make it to the bathroom that was right in front of me, but didn’t. Puked all over the floor. Right. In. Front. Of. Me. Literally as the plane was landing. The flight attendant was yelling at him to sit down, and he was fighting unsuccessfully to open the bathroom door (which had been locked for landing), and he turned to tell her and then he puked. Just as the guy next to me crescendoed to another snort. And then we landed. I tried to fold myself into a fetal position but couldn’t, because snort man’s right arm essentially had my left shoulder pinned under it. There was no escape from my hell.

Between no shoes guy, sleep apnea guy and puking guy, I’m out, y’all. Too much peopling. Can’t no more.

#notenoughlysolinalltheland

Mile 23 Is No Joke

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Has anyone noticed that there’s an unspoken, yet undeniable, timeline for just exactly how put-together a mother has to be during the school year? We all know that us moms are supposed to have our stuff together on the daily. But sustaining that “can-do!” crap for a full school year can take superhuman determination and, in my case, of course, a lot of wine. 

There’s this “my act is together” process that is, I’d imagine, a lot like running a marathon. Not that I run. But so I’ve heard. From people who run. Which, again, is not me. 

At the beginning of the race, you’re all pumped up by the cheering and the people and your inflated sense of ability, but by the end you think you’re maybe going to barf and everything hurts and your eyes are just closed - waiting for the finish line. That’s me and any given school year, in a nutshell.

It goes something like this.

End of summer: You are filled with the excitement and promise of a new school year, all rested from a summer spent sleeping in and tanned from long days at the pool. You can do anything! You are supermom! THIS will be the year you read Shakespeare to the kids before bed each night, while having long talks about their dreams and hopes, recounting our blessings, bellies filled with a nutritious meal you cooked from scratch that included at least quinoa and kale, if not both. Free range, of course. Responsibly sourced. You have standards.

Beginning of the school year: New clothes, new backpacks, sweet new haircuts, schedule all displayed and color-coded on the whiteboard. You got that shit together, sister. You ARE supermom! Planners are signed each night, homework done with care, fun, nutritionally complete lunches with sandwiches in the shape of octopi complete with kiwis for the eyes are packed each day. You are KILLING IT.

Sometime after Thanksgiving: the rosy glow of the first of the year is long gone. The calendar still has “October” on it, and the kids have played tic-tac-toe in the squares. Dinner has become pancakes or McDonald’s, because four out of five nights have some kind of kid activity and who in the hell has time to make quinoa anyway? But you tell yourself that you’ve still got it together. You are on mile 13 of a marathon, and while you’re out of breath and some things are starting to hurt, you still find the motivation to push on. You are not a quitter. 

When the holiday parties in classrooms start happening, and the SignUp Genius emails come out, you’re on that instantly, lest you end up on the hook for “197 pieces of cantaloupe, cut in the shape of reindeer” instead of the much easier, albeit coput contribution of holiday-themed paper plates. You can do this. You still have to have your act together. You can’t show weakness yet.

What follows is something that resembled October but are actually February and March. Dreary weather, cooped up kids and approximately 752 basketball games that consume an entire weekend. Your kid has to have the right color jersey on, bring a snack (“healthy please - no sugar for our boys!”) not this Saturday but the next, and there are 75 birthday parties to attend and buy gifts for. Weary, you soldier on. You slip up here and there, but hey, you’re mostly doing okay. Planners still mostly get signed, last-minute store runs for poster board are had, but overall, you’re still in the game.

So, here we are in April. Let’s call April “Mile 23.” Mile 23, my friends, is NO JOKE. In other words, everything hurts, I think I stopped breathing a while ago, there’s chafing in uncomfortable places and my brain is screaming that it’s time to stop. The wheels are starting to fall off the bus. But I can’t stop yet. It’s ONLY APRIL. 

April is April - and in case that wasn’t clear, April is NOT MAY. Only AWFUL mothers fall apart as early as APRIL. Sheesh. 

It’s not yet socially acceptable to be all like “oh - it’s the end of the school year - screw it!” I still have to at least LOOK like I’m trying, even if I’m completely depleted of any willpower at all when it comes to signing papers, going to concerts or even making sure they’re adequately and appropriately dressed when I lovingly shove them out the door. 

My octopi sandwiches have evolved into peanut butter crammed into a folded slice of bread, which when called out by my kindergartner, I declare “I’m testing you on your math. Determine the area of the sandwich and get back to me. And show your work.”

Their backpacks are tattered fragments of the cute fashion accessories they once were, and you have figured out that they are also the source of the mysterious odor. Their clothes are mismatched, too small and could double for costumes for the remake of “Annie.”

Yet we still have more class parties, two more concerts, six birthday parties, a spring showcase, a First Communion and like 40 more packed lunches (per kid) to go. 

I’m afraid to even think what I’ll be like come the end of May.

Send help.