Moms everywhere are always complaining that the morning shit show of trying to wake, dress, feed and get their kids off to school on time is overwhelming, to say the least. And frankly, I just don’t get it. I have my kids up and out the door with minutes to spare every single day and I do it all in just under 2000 simple steps.
Follow me on my morning journey and get yourself some much needed guidance on this disaster you claim is such a “hard job” and you’ll be spinning your wheels up to the doors of the school right as the bell rings just like I am every day!
- Make sure your kids clothes are set out for them before they wake up. If this means setting your alarm clock to get your ass out of bed at 2 AM so that you don’t have to be bothered with nuisances like your completely dependent children in the morning, then do that. Just make sure the clothes are out. Never mind that they won’t want to wear THAT outfit once they wake up.
- Pack lunches the night before. Between cooking a six-course meal, struggling your way through endless sight words and spelling tests, and hosing down your little angels in the bath while they scream in agony over the pain that tear-free soap brings to their eyes, you can find a spare couple of hours to cut free-range, hormone-free, NON-GMO, and antibiotic and cruelty-free meats into faces of their favorite Disney characters. It’s not that hard, mom. Slap some gluten-free crackers and homemade fruit leather in there too.
- Early risers should be celebrated! When your kids wake up at 4AM, take this as an opportunity to get a jumpstart on the day. Don’t ask them to return to their beds in the pitch-black night. Make sure to seize this good fortune as a chance to get a few extra hours of screen time in while you dream about the millions of chores you should be completing as you doze off on the couch to the sounds of YouTubers and Jojo Siwa streaming from the iPads waiting for the sun to rise.
- Set an alarm, for God sake. Don’t assume your kids will wake you up before you need to get up. We all know Murphy’s Law of parenting doesn’t work that way. Why would you leave something like timeliness to chance? Get up hours before your kids that way you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you cry into your kids cereal because you stayed up far too late last night scrolling on Instagram when you should have went to bed early.
- Wake your kids with the sound of a soft bell and ocean waves. Set the mood for the morning waking up your slumbering babes with soothing nature sounds. This will surely keep them from screaming into your face because they aren’t READY TO GET UP YET! They will wake up naturally calm and serene ready to take the day by storm. Shit storm.
- Have your kids dress before breakfast. This really saves time, because when they spill their cereal and milk all over their fresh clothes, they can scream in a traumatic fit of rage because they didn’t like that outfit and suddenly, now that they can’t wear it, it’s their FAVORITE!
- Get your shoes and coat on before your kids. Modeling the behavior you want your kids to perform shows them your expectations. If I have my shoes and coat on before I even wake them up in the morning they are fully prepared for my requests for THEM to get theirs on two hours later. And, it makes it so much easier to get their lunches into their bags, help them tie their shoes, zip their coats and wrangle them out of the house when you’re bundled up for below freezing temps like a snowman.
- Give your kids a warning and count-down every five minutes starting an hour before you have to leave. Experts say that instead of telling your kids it’s time to go NOW, by giving them a 5-10 minute warning it mentally prepares them for the task at hand. I say, why stop at 10? Start the night before when you put them to bed and repeat every five minutes screaming, “I’m serious you guys, we are going to be LATE if you don’t HURRY UP!” This way, they have no excuse for their tardiness and you can throw in their faces that you’ve been telling them for A DAY they needed to be ready to go. As if we don’t complete this same ritual every. damn. day. and they shouldn’t already know that leaving is part of the routine.
- Set an actual fire (kind of). Ten minutes past the time you are supposed to have walked out the door, start a fire alarm in the house. I find that LOUD NOISES really get my kids to jump to attention. If they haven’t been phased by your incessant countdown from the previous 12 hours, it’s time to bust out the big guns. Tell them this is the sound of the school bell they are hearing and it’s TIME. They are already LATE.
- Do a thorough check as each child walks out the door that they have everything they need. You should have done this the night before, but you were too busy “liking” strangers status updates so now you’re behind. Line them up like little soldiers and make sure to double and triple check they have every item they need to get through the day. Let’s be honest. Even if you complete this step you’ll realize some field trip form you left sitting on the counter the minute you get a block or two away from the house.
- When you can’t get them in line, don’t start panicking… yet. This is not how this was supposed to go. You are PRE-PLANNING. There is a method to this and the process is tried and true! You did it ALL RIGHT! It’s not time to give up yet. You’re not a quitter and this isn’t your day to lie down and roll over. Today you fight. So when all else fails, scream until a vein pops out of your neck. You mean business.
- -1923. Give up. It’s already past the bell. You still don’t have one of their shoes on. One is in their room changing for the third time and one of them hasn’t finished their breakfast they started an hour ago. Now you panic. Start threatening to leave without them if they are not IN THE CAR in TWO MINUTES! Now you start contemplating the list of excuses you’ve already given the school this year for your impeccable ability to roll-up sometime between the starting bell and lunch. Have you blamed the dog running away yet? Let’s go with that one.
Getting your kids to school on time might take some extra planning on your end, but isn’t that your job as a mom? If you aren’t prepared for every anticipated meltdown, sock seam, missing shoe and cereal fiasco, what are you even doing with your kids every morning? Kids are predictable and reasonable, especially first thing in the morning. What could possibly go wrong?
If you haven’t managed to master how to gather up a bunch of sleepy, grumpy and irrational beings by now… try again tomorrow. It’s bound to work eventually, right?
Dude. I live in Chicago and EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I wonder when the hell I am going to get out of this frozen tundra and move somewhere warm. Somewhere that doesn’t cause my fingers to seize up in pain just because they touched AIR. And then the spring comes and like seeing your beautiful baby after childbirth it’s like the pain and agony of the last season completely fades away until the next year when it comes back in full force and you remember all over again why you hate this fucking place.
It’s cold. I’m not talking like chilly. It’s FUCKING COLD. You walk outside and breath through your nose and your nostril hairs freeze up into tiny icicles that stab you from the inside. Your nasal passages become miniature igloos made out of your never ending frozen snot stream cubes because you caught a cold on the first frigid day and it still hasn’t gone away.
You skin hurts. Everything hurts. Your body is frozen, literally. You can’t move and when you do it’s like you’re going to shatter. Your skin gets so dry that it cracks and there is nothing you can do about it but apply copious amounts of lubricant to try to keep it moisturized but it’s basically impossible because the winter sucks the moisture right out of you every chance it gets.
It’s gloomy, which means you don’t want to do SHIT. It’s bright as fuck outside because snow is everywhere but it’s dirty snow because it’s been driven on and slushed around and now your beautiful blanket of soft white snow is a eyesore of sludge and salt, but it’s still blinding to look at. You don’t want to do anything but huddle under your blanket with a book but you can’t do that either because you just burned it on the stove in an attempt to warm your hands up for five minutes.
Your kids keep getting called off of school for a goddamn snow day. Every other day it seems is a school “holiday” where they get a long weekend off of school. And as if that isn’t bad enough, now the snow showed up on the night before the hellish five days you’ve just spend cooped up inside and they’ve cancelled school tomorrow. Awesome. At least I won’t have to pay for summer daycare this year because my kids will be making up winter well into July at the rate we are going.
Something necessary to your continued EXISTENCE tends to break down at the WORST possible time, and that “time” is almost always winter. Your kids *were* finally going back to school (hell YES!) BUT wait, no they aren’t. Because your car has been sitting in the frozen abyss that is your driveway for the last five days because you refused to leave in the blizzard and now your damn car is not cooperating.
You go back inside to find your house is especially chilly even with your two layers and 17 infinity scarves on and find your pipes burst because even though your kids are constantly running water somewhere in your house, apparently the weather is THAT cold that it can freeze even the hottest water moving through the pipes.
Your kids have a hard enough time finding socks. Try getting them to find two gloves, a hat, a coat, a scarf, and snow pants because now school won’t let them out for recess unless they are dressed like tiny snowmen. I don’t remember having the accessories my kids have now accompany me to school every day, but my kids need them, apparently. And also, not surprisingly, we can never find them when we need them.
You will fall. Some asshole (usually you) will forget to throw salt on the ice and you’ll run out the door in a hurry only to fall and bust your ass. But not only will you fall, you’ll do it in front of some hipster running a 5K down the block in the dead of winter, you know, someone “better than you” because… winter sucks.
Your dog won’t go out either. So not only is your entire family caged in the house with the flu virus, but the stench of snot and pet urine fills the stale air. Can’t we just open a damn window? No. Because they are shrink wrapped in an attempt to keep whatever heat you can as close to your body as possible.
Your kids will act like caged animals. As if they aren’t already acting like completley rabid dogs, winter exasperates the symptoms 10-fold. They are stifled, homebound, and antsy and they turn on each other (and you) at any chance they can get. It’s a toss up as to who is going to make it out of this season alive. But my money says, it won’t be me.
Winter fucking sucks the big icicle. The only benefit is that when I say I don’t want to go somewhere, I have a million degrees below zero excuses at my disposal to keep me in the house, out of the snow, and in my thickest, coziest loungewear.
Last weekend was my birthday, and I spent some time reflecting on all of the reasons why getting old can have its benefits. You can do what you want, you don’t have to answer to anyone (at home, at least), and you finally (hopefully) have your shit together at least enough to feel comfortable in your own skin.
But there are so many parts to getting older that just flat out suck. And those parts aren’t going away anytime soon. Actually, they are probably only going to get worse as time goes on. Ughhhh.
My face looks like I should have used sunscreen a lot sooner. When I was younger, we would lather ourselves up with baby oil and sit by a friend’s pool letting the rays reflect off of our beautiful, cellulite-free bodies while we giggled and planned our nights out with the boys we were fawning over. Little did I know that years later that same face would be littered with sun spots and wrinkles that could have EASILY been avoided if I would have just put the damn tin foil down and thrown on a hat instead. Thank god for botox, right?
My ass is droopy, so are my tits. And my chin, my arm flaps, my belly…. let’s be real. It’s all droopy. Every time I look in the mirror something else has fallen a few inches from where it was the day before. As I’m writing this right now my under eye bags, have migrated down to my cheeks and my jowls are now on my shoulders. YAY!
I hear people get more patient as they age, but for me, that couldn’t BE more of a goddamn lie. I have ZERO patience. I can’t even wait in a short line at Target without running through all of the things I could have done in those precious minutes I was stuck in line. I get irrationally angry when someone cuts me off in the school pickup line or leaves toothpaste in the sink. I have no patience. Maybe in my next decade, that perk will come?
I also don’t sleep anymore. Even though my kids are starting to age out of being up all night (although, they sure DO still wake up many nights, don’t get it twisted), my mind races until the wee hours of the night. And if by chance tonight is the night where my brain can’t take anymore and does me a favor by clocking out early, my bladder doesn’t. It makes a cameo appearance by way of stabbing stomach and vaginal pain around 2, 3:30, and 4 am.
Everything hurts. I can’t even clean the house anymore without searing back pain so laundry is definitely NOT happening on the same day. I don’t choose my chore completion goals based off of time or energy, for me, it is determined by how many discs in my spine I can agitate before I am laid up in bed for the next day. And if I have a good back day, then I get hit with a massive migraine instead because ADULTING IS FUN!
You have come to terms with your mortality, and it scares the shit out of you. You now astutely feel every single nerve jolt, every tight muscle, every taco that manifests in crippling heartburn and you start to convince yourself you might not make it to bedtime.
Which brings me to anxiety. Sweet, sweet anxiety. It’s the only thing that manages to keep you awake through the worst possible time of day, the night. You panic at the smallest things because you now have these tiny beings that rely on you and even though most days you’re convinced you are doing it ALL. WRONG. You still know that you are the best parent for these monsters. No one else could handle their bullshit bedtime tantrums or their horrid homework meltdowns. You can’t leave them yet, they are just starting to sleep through the night finally!
Adulting brings LOADS of joy. Peeing when you cough, listening to the soothing sound of your joints pop as you take a leisurely stroll to the kitchen for the fifth time because you can’t remember what the fuck you came in there for and then finally having a revelation at 3 am and feeling compelled to get out of bed and do something about it.
Spending all of your “free time” working on your house while tiny humans troll behind you and destroy every inch of your hard work until you give up and just let the whole house go to shit because you’re a goddamn adult and you can do that now.
I guess there is one good thing, as an adult, you get to be the one to say “fuck it” and grab a glass of wine, binge-watch Netflix, and order takeout because YOLO and all that other garbage. Cheers to growing older, bitches! (Careful though, too much wine and you’ll be working that hangover off for at least a week now that you’re old.)
It’s been years since I have had a major attack. One that made me consider the scary scenario that I may actually be dying. Knowing that I experience these types of attacks, I am usually able to talk myself down. To remind myself of what this really is and that it will pass. Everything will be ok.
But tonight, I was completely taken by surprise. I had just finished up dinner and done the dishes. I was getting my kids finished with their baths and ready for bed. I was getting ready to finally RELAX for the day. And suddenly it hit me. It came out of nowhere. In an instant I felt like my entire world shifted.
My vision changed, just slightly. I felt for a split second like I was floating, but not in a good way. In a way that made me feel like my equilibrium was shifting rapidly. And then fear set in. I was scared. My throat was tight and my body felt weak. I was sure I was going to pass out. My heart started racing and my mind and my body went into flight mode. I wanted to run but I also wanted to go nowhere at all.
These are all common symptoms I have experienced in the past with a severe panic attack. Attacks that I was having on an almost weekly basis. Attacks I had started to attribute to my failing marriage because coincidentally after my divorce was finalized they seemed to vanish. At least at the severity they had be coming in.
My attacks in the past had landed me in the ER a number of times. Convinced that something catastrophic was happening to my body, only to find out, every time that I was having yet another panic episode.
But today, after years of being able calm myself down and talk myself out of these situations before allowing them to escalate to something unbearable, the unthinkable happened. I was scared.
If you’ve ever been scared about anything at all, you know the feeling. You know that rush to run. Get the hell away as fast as you possibly can. But what happens when the source of the fear is inside your own body? In your mind? It’s your heart, your shallow breath, your clammy hands? You can’t run from that as hard as you may try.
You try to count your breaths, you take deep, melodic ones in hopes that your heart will catch up with the rhythm and they will slow down in synchrony. You walk around, you lay down. You close your eyes and pray for this to stop. And the panic becomes overwhelming because you now start running the terrifying options through your head. Could this really be something more serious this time? It doesn’t seem to be going away, does that mean I AM dying? My body feels tingly, my head feels light and empty. Is this what a seizure feels like? Could I be having a stroke? Maybe it’s a heart attack? Should I call 911? What if I wait and it’s too late?
Meanwhile, my boyfriend is trying to help and it’s relative to when you have a significant other with you while you are delivering a baby. EVERYTHING they try to do is annoying and hurts or pisses you off. They want to help but they simply DO. NOT. GET. IT. Tonight, mine looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. I felt like he didn’t believe that in my head, what was going on was very real and VERY frightening. And it hurt. It hurt so bad because I just wanted to feel like someone understood how scared I was feeling.
And it’s not his fault. How would he understand if he has never experienced this in his life? He wouldn’t. Yet it hurt because you just want someone to tell you that you’re not crazy, but you ARE ok and that it will pass. And someone who can’t do that you just want to go away. Leave you be so you can work yourself down off the ledge and feel better.
It took hours tonight. I ended up falling asleep after and that’s really the only thing that put a stop to it. When I woke up, I felt slightly better. It was a relief. But now I’m going to live in fear. Worried about the next attack. Tonight’s attack seemed to have no obvious trigger I can put my finger on and that scares the ever loving crap out of me. Next time this happens will I be at school pickup? At the grocery store? Will I be far away from home and have nowhere to retreat to when what I really need to is hide in the fetal position and convince myself that life WILL go on for me?
And then there is the guilt. I feel bad for not wanting or need to accept help from anyone tonight but really I couldn’t take it. And what little help I did accept was from me ordering people around to do things I thought might make things feel better. And then swiftly to go away because it wasn’t helping. Or their presense alone was exasperating every symptom I was having.
My son came into my room in full doctor garb to give me a check up and I had to turn him away with a promise that he could finish his full exam later that evening. But after I woke up, he was already in bed. And I felt terrible about that.
I feel like now I am going to live my life in fear like I did years ago when these attacks came regularly. Scared to leave the house in worry that this will happen in public, that I will be driving and have to pull over. That next time I won’t be able to calm myself down and I will take a trip to the ER instead. I was close tonight.
Feeling like your mind and body are betraying you is the more terrifying thing. You start to feel like you have to live in a bubble because the one thing you rely on most, your intuition, has betrayed you. You can’t trust your instincts anymore because they are sending mixed, jumbled, and fucked up signals.
I hope the next time I’m able to calm myself down faster. I’m able to remind myself that even though it might FEEL like this is the end, it’s not. And I hope that it will gradually be less and less until I go another few years without another excessive episode like tonight. Until then, if you suffer from panic attack, I see you. I feel you. And I trust you even if you don’t trust yourself.
Let’s stop pretending like parenthood is all unicorns and rainbows, ok? There are great days. FANTASTIC days, sure. But there are other days that I feel like an imposter. Like I am living someone else’s life. As if I have no clue what I am doing and it’s only a matter of time that someone finds me out and I am exposed. But why do I feel that way? Because some days… I am not a huge fan of being a mom. Some days I sit and day dream about what my life might be like right now if I hadn’t had kids.
I wonder what kind of home I would have with clean carpet and marker-less walls. What kind of car I would drive that isn’t filled with cracker crumbs and car seats? I think about what career I would have, what kind of hobbies I would have taken up. What I would do with my time if I didn’t have baseball, soccer, karate, gymnastics, school events and scout meetings every night of the week?
I consider what kind of wardrobe I would own if I wasn’t concerned every morning about what food would get whipped at me by tiny hands and find its way plastered onto my shirt by lunch. I think about if I would be caught up on my favorite shows, if my pets would get more attention. Would I feel less tired? Would I have more time to go to the gym or would I eat healthier if I didn’t pick leftover chicken dinosaurs or macaroni and cheese off my kids plates every night?
What would my stress level be like if I didn’t have to fight irrational tiny humans every day to brush their teeth, go to sleep, put their coat or socks on or do their homework. I question if I would have gray hair and crows feet; dark circles and under eye bags. Would those have shown up years or even a DECADE later if I didn’t have kids?
I day dream about my trips to Europe, my girls nights that would be followed up by a day spent on a date with my couch ordering takeout and binge watching Netflix. Without any interruptions to wipe someone’s butt, clean up someone’s spilled milk or kiss a boo boo.
I ponder these things on my bad days and wonder what kind of life I would have had, if I had chosen not to have kids.
And then, something happens. Usually something small. My daughter will smile. Or my son will bring me a portrait he drew of just the two of us. My oldest will hand over a test he scored 100% on that we studied for together for hours last week. And suddenly, I am catapulted back into reality and it’s GOOD. I look around at my stained carpet, my sticky table, the blind my kid broke when he threw a basketball in the house and the sink filled to the brim with dirty sippy cups and I. AM. HAPPY.
I might have my moments where I wonder if I’m cut out for this parenting thing. If I had done things differently, if I wouldn’t be in the financial situation I’m in or if I might have planned better if I wouldn’t have soooo many consecutive years of sleepless nights under my belt. But they are fleeting moments. I can honestly say there are some days that I absolutely HATE being a mom. But I don’t hate the wet, sloppy kisses. I don’t hate the sweet and high pitched “I love you, mommy”s or the tiny arms wrapped around my neck for a hug. I adore their chubby little fingers and their stinky feet. When they fall asleep and are covered in a layer of sweat and drool, I don’t hate that.
I might hate seeing the sunrise every morning, especially when I was up at 12:30, 2:15, 4:45 AND 5 am. But I don’t mind all of the extra cuddles I was lucky enough to soak up during the times of the night when my child was sleepy and affectionate.
Laundry, dishes, and vacuuming are not my favorite chores, but making my child’s favorite meal, finding a special outfit for their big day at school, or cleaning up after a day of making cookies with my three favorite people makes it a little less terrible.
I might not have the fancy car or the plush couch. I may have a bank account that lingers around a balance of three figures on a GOOD day, but I get to spend my days watching personalities grow. I get to witness wonder, reasoning, and the development of logic and love. I am sitting front row to a live show that involves three beings I created as the main characters. And it’s kind of amazing.
My days might be long and arduous but the bad is sugar coated in kisses and sweet scents and the good, the good is just so damn good.
I miss regular “self-care”, hanging out with friends, traveling to places with more adult beverages than costumed princesses and I miss high heels but, honestly, life is a hell of a lot more comfortable with unshaved legs in yoga pants anyways.
So, sure. There are days that I hate being a mom. But that doesn’t mean that I would trade those days in for anything else. Even on the days I hate being a mom, I still love my job, I love my kids, and I am honored to be the one that they call “mom” in the first place.