Sometimes I feel like I am failing as a working mother. I’m talking a flat-out flunk. A big red F. Seriously, there are days when I think to myself, I can’t be doing this right, can I? It’s just too crazy. I’m just too cranky. It’s just SO messy. Do you know what I mean?
Let me elaborate in case you don’t quite get it. If you were to visit our home, you could count on encountering any or all of the following: screaming children, squabbling siblings, bloody boo boos, quick-tempered parents short on patience, toys, toys, and more toys, pee-pee on the floor (or poop) mixed together with a generous sampling of dog hair dust bunnies compliments of our lovable Labrador Retriever. Get the picture?
Yep, that was me totally losing my shit in my driveway this morning because my 2-year-old wouldn’t put her shoes on and wanted to wear her bathing suit to school. And yes, I did forget my work bag with my files and wallet inside and have to turn back toward home after dropping the kids off, tacking at least a half an hour onto my commute. And yes, I was late AGAIN but no, I can’t say that this was an atypical morning for me. In fact, I would have to say that this was actually a pretty normal beginning to my work day. Did I mention the weather? Or do the monsoon-like conditions that were occurring at the time of our AM departure not really matter? Ok, so I’m exaggerating a tad but it was raining pretty good. Hey, at least there were no coffee mishaps today. Forget crying over spilled milk, morning coffee is a must and I’ll admit to wanting to shed tears when my java ends up becoming a sticky mess on the floor instead of a much-needed jump-start to my work day. Sometimes I spill it, sometimes the DD worker doesn’t put the lid on right, and sometimes it’s the kids. It can happen any number of ways. Take last Friday for example, when my almost 9 month old son snagged the side of my mug with his grabby little fingers and before I even noticed, we were both covered in warm, sticky, sweet caffeine. Yes, we both had to change our clothes and yes, we were late. Oh, and yes, that was my kid with syrup on her face when she got to school. You gotta pick and choose your toddler battles, right? This can’t be normal. Can it?
It doesn’t seem to matter if I get up early or not because chances are that something will happen, some unforeseen situation will unfold and turn my world upside down, whether it be misplaced keys, a gas tank on E or a lunch bag left behind. This is what drives me batty because I like to plan and as a mom, I must plan to keep my sanity but not everything can be planned for and so goes the dilemma of motherhood. Plan for chaos and being late and you should be all set.
My work days can be stressful with trying to get my office work done and often squeezing in a trip to the grocery or the drug store and then back to pick up the kiddos, who are usually excited to see me but not so much that they want to listen to what I am saying or do what I am asking. Or sometimes they are not all that excited to see me, like today, when both of my daughters would have rather stayed at school swinging on the swings than come say hello to me. Big sad working mommy sigh.
After everyone is safely buckled into their seats (this can sometimes take 20 minutes), it’s home to make dinner while feeding the baby and entertaining my daughters without letting them fill up on snacks before my husband gets home and we sit down to eat our meal. The kitchen sink is piled high with dishes and there are toys all over the place by the time we finish eating and head upstairs for our nightly bedtime
debacle ritual, which includes going potty, fluoride tablets, baths, teeth brushing, lights out, stories, hugs, kisses, tuck-ins, butterfly kisses, drinks of water, Eskimo kisses, more pottying, and finally BEDTIME. Throw in a tantrum or two and if I am lucky, all will be quiet upstairs while I head back down to clean up the kitchen, unpack school bags and do my best to prepare for what is sure to be yet another crazy day. The dog is usually waiting, staring at me because he is hungry but don’t worry, I can tell by his weight that I always remember to feed him and I’m willing to bet that he might get double dinners sometimes amidst all the madness.
Being a working mom is busy. It’s hard. It’s nuts. I suppose that life with three kids ages 4 and under is not supposed to be a cakewalk but there are times when I think that there must be a better way. There HAS to be. I must be doing this wrong. I need a better routine. I need to lighten up and laugh it off. I need to relish every second with my kids because before I know it, they will be all grown up. I have to change my ways. I have to do better. And then, just when I think I am about to lose my mind, I see three beautiful smiles.