Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Piecemeal Parenting

I had a vision of it all once. I wish it could go a wee bit smoother than it is.
Stop to have babies.
Teach when the last one was school age.
Every i dotted and t crossed.
The best blending of two worlds possible.


I recently sat down with my Assistant Principal for a little evaluation chat. He is someone very easy to talk with and so I shared, "I used to be a 100% teacher. Then I was a 100% mom..." And he finished for me, "How are you supposed to be 200% anything?"


When I started back working full-time, my husband worked from home and could squeeze things in during the day like a sick kid, the dishes, laundry so the game uniform or meet leotard was ready (not his). He could greet two kids on the bus so I could whisk the third somewhere else. It could get chaotic, but it was working. And then he started working out of the house and with a commute and my head imploded.

Oh, the reality of it all.

I am doing my best to breathe through the scheduling chaos and the one-parent-three-places-to-be situation. If this is not practice in remaining calm while the world rushes about me, I'm not sure what is. When I see Rob's Ford pull up at a field or in the driveway, I dance while holding myself like a 3 year old boy. I'm not alone!! Oh the thankfulness that washes over me. How did my mom do this with five kids and no help?

And it is all so ego-based, my struggle with this. I was The Parent- cooking, cleaning, kids, kids, kids. I was The Teacher. Organized, creative, scheduled, scheduled, scheduled. Now I feel like I have the attention span of a two month old. My ability to see one thing through to the end is gone. The dryer door is open because I was folding laundry when I went to get dinner out of the oven and then swooped by a child to collect her vocab cards to test her, finding the dryer door still open as I am turning off the lights heading to bed four hours later. Wait...did I say goodnight to all three kids?

I am learning to recognize the anger that wells up when one of the kids reminds me of something I have to help them with before bed- dealing with a foot ailment that gets treated at night, or that I was supposed to sign something or why don't I ever take them to a nail salon? OK OK OK. Yes. Yes. Yes. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

Because I used to be 100% Kate, too. Just me. Just caring for me and working on my own time and for my own needs.
Now I feel like everything is being done half-assed. (but it sounds better to say piecemeal.)
My kids sometimes hand things in late and I feel embarrassed. My child's ailment goes untreated for a day or six and I feel guilty. I ask a team parent to watch my child so I can get to another kid in another town and I feel like a loser.

And I am so honest about how much I judged the parent that is now me when I hadn't children and I was the teacher never getting the permission slip or parent-teacher form from someone. Or when my children were small and I was at home all day and everything ran ship-shape. I get it. I get it. I get it.

I am grateful to my cell phone that goes off three times a morning and three times an evening alerting me to things I can no longer hold in my head. Defrost! Pack! Sign! Mail! Pee! Deodorant!  Go! It is like having Dumbledore's Pensieve: as a thought comes to me, I speak it to my phone and set an alarm, removing it from my worries.

Next up I'm taking a sister-wife. (Apply now!)

I wouldn't change my life, though. I bit my nails through the contract signing portion of the school year, wanting to do it all again. Both girls are sold on their activities and will be continuing them for another year and I am so glad for their passion. Baseball will end for B and he will re-snap himself in to his booster seat for the afternoon as we go about our drop off and collections. I will actively look for a Fall activity for him and complain about that for you later.

I know I'm not alone. So go get your day started, and don't forget to brush your teeth. Or your hair. Or how I say it these days as I am yelling up the stairs at my kids, "Brush your face!"

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