Monday, October 27, 2014

My Formula for a “Do It All” Weekend

(I wrote this post last Monday.)


It’s Monday and as I sit here, fingers grazing over the keyboard letters, I find that my eyes are not in sync with the rest of my body. My eyes have a mind of their own. They want to stop functioning while the rest of my body numbly soldiers on, like a twitching nerve trying to remember the movements necessary for survival. This is slowly becoming my reality every Monday. Rather than beginning my week refreshed after a weekend sabbatical, I find myself looking around in a half conscious fog desperately seeking out when the jig will be up, when I will finally be able to rest and recharge rather than fall fast and hard onto any random object below….pillow, couch, bed, pile of clothes in the laundry basket, wadded up pile of stuffed animals on the floor, this key board….really there is no telling what I might pass out on. The long and short of it; I am currently suffering from weekend ware out. 

I recently read an article with a study that found working moms spend just as much time with their kids as stay at home moms because they “cut back on their sleep and leisurely activities.” While I agree with this for the most part, I’m not sure we spend more time with our kids than SAHMs and I know for a fact both working and SAHMs sacrifice sleep and leisurely activities. However, as a working mom I am acutely aware of exactly how much time I do have with my child and how much I need to get done on a consistent basis in order to get the maximum amount of time with my child. To do this, my weekends are formulated down to the minute with very little “free time” or room for something unplanned to come up (like when my mom called me because she locked her groceries in her trunk and needed Thomas to get them out. Eeek mom! No time for that! Call pop-a-lock! – note I would not have really left my mom in distress and her non perishables to spoil in the car but thank goodness my dad figured out how to resolve the problem.)

Now I will share with you exactly how my weekends are planned. The formula is the same, the activities change. Let’s start with the closing bell on Friday night (aka when Emma’s head hits the pillow) this is when savvy time management me will start the laundry (note: this rarely happens as my brain is already too mushy to handle anything other than staring at bad reality tv.) So here we have it:

Friday Night: ME TIME :)

Saturday Morning: Once Emma wakes up, it’s like the starting bell, gentlemen start your engines! The time to get sh*t done starts now:
-New routine of Emma going potty first thing in the morning (10-20 minutes - this is not an exaggerated estimate)
-Turn on Saturday morning cartoons/ fix slightly more complex breakfast than normal (aka instead of cereal in a baggie, cereal in a bowl with milk and a spoon – fancy)
- I now have one hour until the allotted amount of toddler screen time is up (read) my child’s tv attention span fades. Run and do laundry I should have started last night, clean a portion of the house.
- When yum yums and tv no longer captivate my two year old, throw her the old iPod (gets same distracted child results as an iPad but half the cost) to eat into 15 more minutes of approved screen time while simultaneously grabbing extra clothes, snacks, water, milk, wipes etc. in order to survive a planned outing.
- Load up the car to head off on said outing which can go on no longer than the 12:30 hour due to pre-nap crankiness. Run around after child at said activity until my out of shape self is exhausted.
- Load up the car again and sing loud off key Frozen songs to ensure the toddler does NOT fall asleep before getting home – this is a crucial key element to any weekend survival.
- Grab sleepy toddler and run into the house and hope they don’t come out of their groggy fog long enough to notice you have placed them in their crib for a nap.
 
Saturday Afternoon: Once again the bell goes off and I now have t-minus two hours and counting to finish cleaning the house (vacuum, change out the laundry, dishes, etc.) before nap time is over.
- At this point on Saturday hubs usually gets home from work.
- Hold myself up on the wall trying to not fall asleep from exhaustion to fix an after nap snack that I know will most likely be rejected.
- After another few minutes of tv so mom can sleep on the couch with her eyes open, it is time for the afternoon activity (this is usually more low key than the morning activity but designed to get the after nap energy out.)

Saturday Night: - After that comes dinner, brushing teeth, potty, bath and bed which is utterly exhausting (even with hubby tag teaming)

Much Later Saturday Night: ME TIME: Complete all crafting activities I could not do during the day (aka: make Halloween costumes/ try to keep up with the Pintrest Moms) - pass out shortly after from exhaustion

Sunday Morning:  See Saturday morning dashes one thru three only this time add an even more elaborate breakfast with bacon and eggs (pancakes if it’s a solar eclipse)
- Time to load up for a trip the grocery store/ running errands (this weekend it was getting Emma new shoes)
- Back home after errands for lunch/ nap / during 2 hour nap: more cleaning / preparing for Monday (laying clothes out, packing lunch etc.)

Sunday Afternoon:  After nap = afternoon fun activity

Sunday Night: Come home, dinner, night night routine, dread Monday, pass out watching more bad reality tv

That’s it in a nut shell, that’s how I do it. I cram it all into two days and then I actually rest during the week after Emma’s in bed (which could soon be taken over by a second job, but we shall see.) I know I’ve done one of these kind of posts before but I just needed to keep reminding myself of how I am using my time and how I can make the most of it. I need to spread out more tasks during the week so I can actually put my feet up on the weekends. I also want to let other working moms know it is possible to have quality time with your child. You just have to bust your ass to get everything else done while they are sleeping which sometimes is not possible, but I’m there with you and I’m exhausted and my house is a mess but guess what, I don’t care if yours is too. Why? This….
 

 Happy Monday all!

Monday, October 6, 2014

What We’ve Been Up to Lately and Other Revelations

Happy October to ya! We have been on the go all month long already, so much so, that I kept skipping over the weekend of the 18th like it doesn’t even exist. I guess I really just want my friend’s party on the 25th to get here! I have been working diligently on my homemade costume and hubs is working on his too! As you recall Emma has fallen into the Elsa costume trap but I’m cool with whatever makes her happy and hey, it saves me from making another costume (although for the record I would make her whatever costume she wanted cause making fun costumes is kinda my thing.)  Anywho onto our Fall adventures:

We went apple picking! And then I went apple baking!
 




Soccer has been going well…for the first ten minutes of each practice anyway. See that playground in the background...apparently that is more appealing to half the kids on the "team" as they end up over there more often than not. Last Saturday 3 of the 6 kids at practice decided to make a break for it and there was no turning back. Guess who was one of the kids...


Emma met her little cousin for the first time! She went from curious to excited to unsure (while mommy (me) was holding the baby) but I think ultimately she decided her cousin is cool. I cannot wait to see these two grow up together and go to teenybopper concerts and the mall together!



We went to a Fall Festival in the next town over where Emma and daddy had a blast on all of the bouncy equipment. If you look closely it looks like Emma has a momentary look of panic on her face but let me assure you she was very upset when she found out her turn was over.


Finally, we went to my friend’s farm for her birthday where Emma spent probably 3 hours straight running around their big open yard with her new friend Evan and two yellow labs (she called them both Bella of course.) 


 Besides just getting out and about for some fun, I’ve been a lot more productive since swearing off letting things out of my control get me down. I have been cleaning and reorganizing the house. We’ve done several “purges” so far, but the “great purge” is yet to come…the attic… I’m not even sure I can bring myself to take before pictures of the space, but if I am feeling particularly vulnerable then I will share them. Here’s a quick look at Emma’s “playroom” (aka our old dining room – if you are wondering this is how the space previously looked before the onslaught of toys) reorg. 



I am really working hard to enjoy and care for the space I have to call home at this point in my life. At the same time, our family is working hard to move forward in the grand scheme of things. Literal blood, sweat, and tears are going into our small successes and you know, sometimes that makes crossing the finish line that much sweeter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Halloween Costume Explanation

There she stood, on the crossroads of a decision that could ultimately decide a big chunk of her fate. The decision was either or, one or the other. An unmistakable line was drawn between one side and the other. One side sparkled, the other, held promise. It was her second time in this place. Confusion and desperation engulfed the time sensitive matter. Based on several factors, once the decision was made, there could be no going back. It was absolute. 

Have you found yourself in this situation? I sure have…it’s called the costume isle at the store.  You might recall from my earlier post that I have been enjoying gender neutral bliss with my child. The store however is designed to deconstruct my happily constructed gender neutrality. It’s a dangerous place.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that Emma is old enough to pick out her costume this year (after all she is certainly capable of voicing her opinion whenever she gets the chance.) So I  took her to the costume isle a few weeks back, picked up a few choice pieces, and “gently held them up for her to inspect” read: dislocated my shoulder from fist pumping colorful cloth around in the air like a fabric obsessed lunatic screaming “look at this one sweeeetie!” (This is how I roll through life so hopefully my kid can deal with it!) Emma was having none of it. In fact, she was more excited about not being strapped in her stroller which she celebrated by running off. The second time yielded similar results only instead of running off, she was more enamored with the Christmas displays (I knooooow). She grabbed a huge (expensive) fluffy white bear and was pretty pleased with herself for scoping out such a treasure. Thomas and I convinced her to put the bear “back with her family” on the shelf. So, a $40 impulse buy was diverted but we had no forward movement in the costume selection department. 

I kept asking Emma what she wanted to be but I didn’t get much of a tangible response. She would just kind of look at me sideways like I’m nuts (which, well duh) but still I needed some sort of answer! I finally came up with a costume theme for myself and Thomas this year so I racked my brain for something I thought Emma would enjoy wearing, like really enjoy. I want her to get that childhood skip in her step, that twinkle in her eye, that evil look of “if you dare think of taking this off me I will cut you” when she put son her costume. There were only two costumes I thought would meet all of those criteria. One was a dinosaur costume, one of her new favorite things, the other….an Elsa costume. Yes, yes I KNOW! the sparkliest dress ever. I seriously endured way more anxiety over the decision than was necessary. I knew if I chose the Elsa dress what I would be…an enabler….that before you know it I would be dressing Emma up for Toddlers in Tiaras, swigging go-go juice, and eventually shelling out 20 grand for a wedding dress like those crazy parents do on tv! <--this is how my anxieties play out in my mind if you were ever wondering. 

After much more debate and several hundred requests to watch Frozen over the past few weeks, I caved…my child will wear a Halloween costume this year with ZERO originality but I think she just might be ok with that.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soccer Mom Part Deux



I know what you are thinking; you flipped through your mental rolodex to remember this little post. So what the heck am I doing back in soccer mom status? Well, all pushy type-A parenting aside, I actually just wanted a scheduled activity that made sure we got out of the house for something other than running errands on weekends. So far we’ve had 3 “practices” with varying results.

The first practice was a throw back to last year’s terrible experience. After about ten minutes, Emma made it clear that she was not happy. In fact, she threw a huge tantrum that lasted half of the day. I pulled her over to the sidelines for a few minutes after the start to see if she would calm down. I even promised ice cream…ICE CREAM people…nothing. When I realized this would not be short lived I packed up and thus started the week long dread for the following Saturday. This time around though Emma has a better understanding of things and I was able to talk with her over the course of the week to encourage her for the following Saturday. Well it turns out I came down with a cold and missed the next Saturday. Her dad took her and low and behold not only did they stay the whole time, she had fun and even followed directions! If you know any two year old that is huge. Now granted, daddy might have stretched the truth just a little bit but I knew I would find out when week 3 came around.

Last weekend finally came and what I saw was amazing and wonderful. Emma actually paid attention and had fun doing the activities. Granted she did lose interest a few times and we ended up leaving about ten minutes early but still, I was encouraged that she actually listen to the coach and kicked the ball around. I am hopeful that she will find at least one sport she enjoys since both her father and I were athletes. If she decides to be a book worm that is fine too but there is really something inclusive and fun about participating in sports (ok that’s it for my sports psa I promise). But I will be scouring the web for my soccer mom suv magnet so be warned :)

Here’s to hoping for a fun rest of the season and an equally successful round of gymnastics in the winter. I hope no matter what activities you have planned, that you and your family enjoy this fall season! I am making sure we get out as much as possible before dreaded winter takes over. 


Spectacular



I am doing this new thing where I throw all caution to the wind. You see I came to the realization that I was boxed in; or rather I had boxed myself in. After a long and difficult summer and generally living a life where I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, I seem to have slowly started shutting off my ability to accept and even seek out happiness. I’m a hard person to crack a smile to begin with but nothing this summer was penetrating my foreboding existence. This summer delivered quite a blow and the devastation just keeps on coming. 

I wasn’t able to share this earlier, but a lot of what caused my summer gloom and doom was financial loss. Here we were, set to take on the world, ready to buy a house and even dive into the early stages of planning to expand our family and suddenly we were hit with a major financial blow. It is very complicated and I really don’t want to hash out all of the grim details here, not to mention the long, complicated process is not over. I potentially have months of waiting and fighting and misery ahead of me.

After a few months of embracing the lowest of lows, I am ready to soar the highest of highs! This is my life damn it! I will not sit idly by and let the universe crush my dreams. I’m not new to the whole “bust my ass to get what I deserve” thing. So, I’m taking on extra work where I can (hey if you’re looking for some of my Pearly Words I am available for hire as a part-time writer/ editor!) More importantly, my family will be moving forward with the plans we had before the devastating news. We are going to hopefully find a house and possibly even look to expand! Yes, the struggle will be super real, in fact we will have to work like we’re in our 20s again but those were some of my best times.


More importantly from all of this, I am embracing the smallest bits of happiness I find. Suddenly events and announcements that seemed totally lackluster are exciting and full of possibility! I’m even letting myself laugh at those dry jokes on tv and avidly seeking out any small form of joy I can. I am loving and laughing and living my life. I want my life lived to be spectacular. Thank you for the inspiration Robin.
If you would like me to sum this up in musical form, here you go.