Motherhood: A Balancing Act

mom_hectic_morning_webThis gig is hard, man! The back to school routine of getting them up, washed, dressed, fed and out the door with their homework and lunches — sometimes we are right down to the wire. Okay, most times. Yesterday Little Guy had to buy lunch because he didn’t have time to make his own. Yeah, that’s another thing adding, rather than taking away stress to my morning. He wants to make his own lunch. Why it kills me to let go of control in this one little facet of school prep, I will never understand.

Then the other half of the school day. Getting them to do homework. Wheedling. Cajoling. Bribing. She insists on setting her own schedule. He can’t understand why I won’t let him read a comic book during reading time. The teachers want my signature on everything from school lunch menus to nightly homework assignments — just to prove that I’ve seen it. OMG! I’ve seen it, already! Don’t care. Stop giving ME homework. I put in my thirteen years.kids-fighting

It’s a wonder I don’t start drinking the minute we get home about 3:30, instead of waiting until the kids have gone to bed. Hey, chill out. I’m a one-glass-of-wine kind of girl. That’s all I need to find my happy place. Well, that and a good book. Or a good Netflix binge. Just some valuable, non-mom ‘me’ time to counteract the fighting, the arguing (I swear my oldest has a career in law ahead of her), the broken windows (tools, brooms… if it isn’t actually his, Little Guy will eventually break it). I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wanting to run away every once in a while.

And because we need it, because we’ve earned it, sometimes we’re given that teeny little glimpse of mommy perfection. Just enough to keep us from completely losing our shit. I started to write ‘going bonkers’ and realized that just doesn’t say enough. Call a spade a spade, am I right?

After fighting with LG for days to read his just-right books, I offer him a deal. I’ll cut his reading time down to twenty minutes if he agrees to read the book he got out of the school library. The timer went off at twenty minutes and he asked (I kid you not!) to keep reading. And at 40 minutes he announced he’d finished the book. Cover to cover. That is my amazing second grader! I felt like the quarterback doing his dance after a fifty-yard touchdown. happy-dance

The night everyone raves over dinner, asks for seconds, cleans their own plate and doesn’t ask what’s for dessert. Walking in to find that Big Sis is voluntarily cleaning her bedroom. Not just shoving it under the bed but making piles to donate, recycle and toss. The love notes I find in the shower, when they’ve used up my supply of Aqua Notes I keep in there for when inspiration strikes. Random hugs, even when I’m not wearing a really fuzzy pair of pajamas. God, I live for those moments.

I’ll go in tonight, after they’re asleep. Slide the DS out from under its hiding place under his pillow, and the Kindle out from under hers. I will watch them at their most vulnerable. Eleven and seven and still clinging to a cherished stuffed animal as they snore softly and drool all over their pillows. I’ll take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. Before the crazy starts all over again the next morning. Eh, it may be a different crazy. After all, it’s a different day. And the good moments will be different too. A check and balance system that keeps me on my toes. Because some day I’ll be the grandma, and they’ll be coming to me for parenting advice. Oh yeah, you better believe I’m gonna drag out every embarrassing memory from their childhood I can possibly think of. That’s balance for ya!cutesleeper

Where Did My Day Go?

Otherwise known as, A Day in the Life of a Writer Mom:

coffee6 AM: Wake up and stumble out to the kitchen for that important first cup of coffee. No matter how quietly I slip down the hall, little ears are tuned to my whereabouts. There is no school today. But who cares? Let’s do this!

Could start my writing day now, if it weren’t for the fact that Kid #2 is playing laser tag with the dog…at my feet. Nope, not distracting at all.

paperwork9 AM: Sent Kid #1 in to clean and organize her room. Looks like a bomb went off in there. She’s 11, so she doesn’t need my help.

Could start my writing day at this point, but now I’m feeling guilty that the kiddo is cleaning/organizing when I have just as many of those type of projects to tackle. So I start on Mt. Paperwork in the dining room. Two trips to the recycle bin later and the kids are whining for lunch. Where did my morning go?

chuckecheeseOne PM: I promised the kids I’d take them to Chuck E Cheese after lunch. I am either a hell of a great mom, or a certified lunatic. Kinda leaning toward the second option.

Driving down the freeway, my brain starts editing my current WIP. With no possible way to write down these new ideas, I am chanting them out loud to keep from forgetting them. Kids are looking at me weird. What?

6 PM: We got home with enough time to throw a quick dinner together and rush off to basketball practice for Kid #2. Where did my afternoon go?

I’m trying to read a book on writing craft while keeping one eye on Kid #2, reminding him to guard his guy, listen to his coach, take his hands out of his shorts and quit goofing off. I think I read a paragraph.

7:30 PM: We’ve moved on to piano lessons for Kid #1, with a quick stop at the nearest Starbucks for a skinny latte for me and pastries for the kids. Because I can’t *not* get them something when we’re stopping there solely to keep ME awake. Besides, sugar before bed couldn’t possibly be a bad idea, right? Ha.

Moving back to the book I’m trying to absorb. Only now I’m reading while simultaneously being serenaded by piano from room 1, guitar from room 2 (Smoke on the Water, anyone?) and clarinet from room 3. I think my brain is going to explode.

falling asleep8:30 PM: Kids are in bed and I have moved on to a glass of wine to celebrate getting through a no-school day.

Could I get started on my writing day now? Heck no! I am not a night owl. Nights are for winding down, and usually for falling asleep by 9:30 or ten o’clock. I’ve moved on to reading for pleasure. And I’ll probably fall asleep after a chapter or so. Where did my day go? zzz…