My boys have been in school for almost a month now, and I gotta tell you, I’m exhausted. I kept Piers in a half day Pre-K program so that he and Wallace, the three-year-old, would be on the same schedule.
Honestly, it’s just easier on me that way and I can not fathom getting anyone anywhere by 7:15 — EVERY MORNING. This will be my reality next year when Piers starts kindergarten, but seriously, I need this year to be my dress rehearsal. So, the preschool where both kids currently attend runs from 8:30 in the morning until noon everyday. Today, we arrived at 9:15. We were FORTY-FIVE minutes late.
This HAS to improve.
My therapist and I discussed this problem that I have with getting everyone out the door in the morning, and we came up with some concrete strategies to improve the situation. The following steps virtually make the entire morning process run more smoothly, but I can’t for the life of me, do them regularly.
1 — lay out clothes for both kids the night before — underwear, shirt, shorts/pants, socks, shoes. Ideally, my own clothes should also be selected and set out as well
2 — prepare snacks and place them either in the backpacks or if it’s an item that needs to stay cold until morning, have it prepared so that all I have to do is grab it out of the refrigerator and stuff it in the backpacks just before walking out of the house
3 — go to bed at a decent hour, so I can get up at a reasonable time — in a perfect world, lights out by 10pm, and out of bed at 6am
Wow! Just seeing my steps written right in front of me makes it seem so simple and doable. What is my problem??
Well, I’m certain that what I’m about to tell you might sound like a bunch of lazy excuses to those of you who are good at administrative type tasks. If you are one of those people who keeps a list and derives satisfaction by checking items off your list, you will probably not understand this post in the least. I love you anyway, and I spent many years trying to be just like you. Attempting to live my life this way pretty much turned me into a complete train wreck. My anxiety was off the charts and looking back, I really don’t know how I survived. I wound up with an eating disorder so complicated and embarrassing that I still like to tell myself that it never existed. Truthfully, it VERY MUCH existed, and it’s an ongoing hiccup that I must constantly monitor to keep it in check. But God forbid I monitor it TOO much, or people in my life will point fingers and accuse me of starving myself.
Every day I wake up with a running list in my head of things I need to do — not some crazy fun bucket list, though those type of accomplishments are also swirling around in my disorganized brain, especially the fun stuff, but the NORMAL, RUN OF THE MILL, items that go with being an adult and particularly a parent to small children. With my two active boys, keeping them alive everyday is pretty much the main objective.
Then there’s my husband. I’ve written a lot of vagueness recently about our marriage troubles, and I plan to share more that’s less vague. But not today. I want to share how he contributes to the chaos that prevents us from getting everyone to school on time.
Gil has a job, and I know that in his mind, he’s doing everything he can to make sure he keeps his job. He has a lot of power in his career, but he doesn’t realize it. At least in my opinion, he doesn’t use it to his advantage. Currently, he’s between major projects, which is tough for all of us. Thankfully, he is employed but he doesn’t have that push push that comes with working towards an end — like with a major project. He’s tying up lots of random loose ends, and this makes him grouchy. He also works from home a lot. I’ve tried talking to him about how the unpredictability of his schedule affects the kids and me, but he looks at me like I’m speaking Swahili.
So, back to the morning routine. Focusing on those THREE tasks is hard because I’m so damn distracted.
I get up in the morning and here’s an example of what happens along with my thoughts. Some days are worse than others. Today was very much this way. I know it’s tough to follow, but do your best & if you’re familiar with ADD, you might understand. I know it’s chaotic but that’s my brain for you:
— need to shower, eat, figure out what to feed the kids, need to feed the dogs, cats, oh, the dogs need walking so we won’t be stepping in poop when we’re playing in the backyard, and we MUST play in the backyard because the boys go nuts if they’re cooped up in the house and can’t expend all that energy, and hmm, my best friend’s birthday is coming up and I need to get her a gift, hell, I need to call her and just catch up, and I need to finish that book for book club, and I need to schedule a hair appointment — oh, we have no money, well, I’ll just cut it myself and I really need color, hmm, guess I’ll do that as well, but I really want to start using fewer chemicals in general, I saw a cool link about henna hair dye, and oops, got my period and there are no tampons — hopefully I can find some in the glove compartment or maybe in my suitcase. Wonder if there are any girls staying with the college boys next door. No, it probably is not appropriate to introduce myself and immediately ask to borrow something — especially an item as personal as a tampon. Most people get a bit weird about that sort of thing. Oh — here’s one, thank goodness!!
During that stream of thought one of my kids starts screaming that he’s starving, so I immediately head to the kitchen and the thoughts start all over:
— Wow, the kitchen is a wreck, should have cleaned it last night and we really need groceries — as I wash an apple and hand over a cheese stick to Wallace. Then Piers sees his brother eating an apple and begs for one, but of course that’s the last one, so I convince Wallace to share — newsflash, three-year-olds know how to share, but mine REALLY hates actually doing it. So, I pull out some bread and start handing stuff to the kids. My years of studying nutrition along with my eating disorder come to the forefront of my brain and I find myself resisting the urge to count calories and fat grams. I briefly review what my kids had the day before and so as not to give them an eating disorder, I merely focus on nutrients and pray that they ate plenty of fruits and veggies the day before. Before I seriously go crazy with the counting of food groups, I look at my beautiful healthy boys who couldn’t be any more perfect in every way and I remind myself that we’ve done a great job instilling good eating habits in them — so I briefly let that go. Mind you, I still haven’t managed to eat yet this morning. NOT because I’m trying to be thin. I could actually stand to gain some weight, but my goal is just to keep my weight stable and I’ve done this for the last year and a half – Yay me! But I have to stay on top of it.
Ok — kids are fed. On to the next thing. Shit!! Do we have anything for snacks? well, I guess it will be graham crackers again — that’ll work. It’s Friday, and I don’t have to do this drill again until Tuesday – plenty of time to go to the store. Geez, what time is it? 8:15!? No one’s dressed and I HAVE to shower.
So, I start pulling clean clothes out of the clean pile that’s occupying one corner of my bedroom.
Damn Gil, he’s not even out of bed yet because he’s not a morning person. Well, I’m not exactly rocking this morning stuff either.
I leave my room to get the kids dressed but I can’t find them anywhere. Hmm, call their names — no answer. I glance outside to see Piers in a too-small superman costume and Wallace is completely naked except for the Batman mask and cape. Good Lord in Heaven!!! The decked out superheroes appear to be trying to kill each other on the trampoline.
I scream at Gil, “Can you PLEASE get up and help me!! It’s 8:31.” Gotta get in the shower and we’re already late and haven’t even left the house yet.
The rat race continues as I shower, dress myself and get everyone loaded in the their carseats while Gil drags out of bed and stumbles around the house aimlessly in his underwear with a severe case of bed head. But today was even more fun. Gil and I switched vehicles so he could take our “commuter car” and this morning I drove the truck. When I pulled out of the driveway (8:50ish) I noticed (thank goodness!!) that the gas tank was flat on empty. Thanks Gil! This is so typical and I curse him under my breath. I pull into the closest gas station only to find that I’ve left my purse which houses my wallet and cell phone at home.
More profanity — quietly, of course, since the sweeties are in the backseat. So, I turn around, go BACK to the house and grab my purse. I’m breaking a nice sweat at this point and then I see Gil. STILL in his underwear, screwing around on his phone, scratching his balls and running his fingers through his crazy AM hairdo. I want to rage on him and claw out his eyeballs, but I bite a hole in my tongue instead and give him the evilest look I can muster.
I DETEST this morning deal, but I what I detest even more is that my husband weasels his way out of it.
We finally roll into school at 9:15. I do my best to ignore the disapproving looks I get from the administrators and other teachers. Today there are NO other parents. Even the ones who typically run late are long gone today.
This post is WAY long and I don’t feel like editing.
I’ll end with this. Next week is a new week and for the sanity of this entire household, I must get the kiddos to school by 8:30. That’s my goal. This is a long weekend, so there are only four school days next week.
It will be done — I’ll keep you posted. And I have to eat. More on that later.