How in God’s name do you get to work on time when your significant other works and your 2 kids are under 3 years old? I mean seriously and Dina/Mel if you are reading this, I am late to work everyday- don’t fire me! Or maybe you should so I can just stay at home. Or maybe not because being at home all day with both kids might actually kill me.
Let me just take you through my mornings- Howie is firefighter so he works a 24-48 schedule except he’s kind of like an alien and doesn’t ever stop working. If we didn’t have kids I probably would never see him because he doesn’t stop working ever. Two times a week I bring them to daycare before work SOLO = death sentence. I get so much anxiety because I can get up, run 5 miles while they both sleep, be all dressed, showered, and their lunches, my lunch and computer are all packed in the car. But I CANNOT wake them up. First off, I don’t want to because never wake a sleeping baby, right? Second, the minute I wake them up, all hell breaks loose. Juliana turns into the exorcist and Hudson wants to immediately latch onto my boob and the clock starts ticking! Then my anxiety ramps up and I feel like I can’t breathe because I can’t stand being late. One of my biggest weaknesses (and Howie will tell you this) is that I am very literal. I like to be on time or early, but I rarely am because with 2 kids, let’s face it, it’s impossible.
Juliana is refusing to get dressed while I am peeling Hudson off my boob to get him dressed. Meanwhile it sounds like someone is dying in my house with 2 kids screaming bloody murder; one because she doesn’t want to get dressed and wakes up asking for a pink cake pop from Starbucks and the other because he HATES getting his diaper changed. He is a slippery pig while I try to change him. 20 minutes go by as I am wrestling and restraining both kids begging them to get dressed and hurry up so Mommy isn’t late again. Juliana’s hair is a curly bird’s nest and Hudson is wobbling around the house throwing toys, shoes, bottles, etc. Cue my OCD that I can’t leave my house when it’s messy. I am picking up toys, chasing Hudson, trying to force clothes on Jules all while I forget to my brush my hair or even look in the mirror. I am trying to pack breakfast since 99.9% of the time we can’t sit down together and eat a meal because if we do, one kid is already done and wants to get up and the other one doesn’t want to eat anymore because they want to play with the other one. OR food flies everywhere- OR we eat on the floor on the fly. Yes, don’t judge. We sit on the floor because Mommy doesn’t want to stand or hunch over as I stood feed my active crazy children. I really do try to set boundaries, but for the love of God, pick your battles. Sometimes it’s the only way I get them to eat.
Typically though, breakfast will be packed along with a labeled lunch, sometimes a HUGE bag of breast milk (16 months old and still a deep freezer full of it), extra clothes, sometimes diapers and/or wipes, cups- and remember this is usually already in the car ready to go. I just need to get them dressed and in the car. This is the battle.
The first day of school went like this- I was up at 630am, ran, showered, got dressed, packed everything in the car and I decided to wake them up around 730 #fail. I should have woken them up at 7, but I try to let them sleep whenever possible because it’s the only time they are still. I had to be to work at 8 but I wanted them to sleep as long as they could and of course the one time Hudson is sleeping in his crib I had to wake him. I opened Juliana’s curtain and boom- It was on. She started crying about the curtain, thrashing herself in the bed, asking where Daddy was and then begging for a pink cake pop from Starbucks. Hudson woke up crying because he was still tired. I was rushing to get him ready and had to change him right when he woke up, denied him the boob and rushed into Juliana’s room to get dressed. She fought me hard, threw her soaked pull up at me, tried to hit me as I put her dress on…then ripped off the dress. I sat there crying- coming off the most amazing summer where I didn’t have to rush or worry. Howie was working and I felt so guilty for not being able to manage my kids. It’s now 7:50 and her hair is everywhere and Hudson just wants to cuddle. I had to force him in the carseat while he resisted the WHOLE time, arching his back, crying real tears. I didn’t even care that her dress wasn’t all the way on. Since she refused to get in the car, I also had to restrain her in the carseat as she was kicking me and screaming that she wanted to stay home. She kept unbuckling and thrashing in the seat, hitting her head, ripping off the halter on her dress, foaming from the mouth, boogers everywhere, screaming. Hudson was laughing at her and Koko got in my car and wouldn’t get out. Seriously. Seriously. I rushed to daycare trying not to speed but of course hit all the NETTS trucks and also the construction trucks that are lined up daily on Billings, Juliana had no shoes on, tears stained her face, boogers were still everywhere and she dropped in the lobby while Hudson was latched onto my leg. 8am has come and gone and I am already late to work. I had to explain to the daycare teachers what happened and apologize as they ripped Hudson off me and told me to go. I could hear Juliana crying and screaming from outside and my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest.
I felt like the worst mom. You would have thought it was their first day of daycare ever. This doesn’t happen for Howie because he doesn’t have to rush to get them to daycare. Yes, he has TONS of priorities, to do lists and commitments, but it takes a while for him to get them ready too. This usually only happens when we rush. Rushing kills me and my anxiety. My kids can feel it too. I just want to cuddle them and play outside and drink decaf coffee as they play with chalk and never rush.
Even when Howie is home, it’s hard, but I will say going forward we agreed that he would bring them when he’s home and I will pick them up daily. That will help SO much with my anxiety. This summer was the summer of finding me and I was able to rediscover myself to a new degree. I know what triggers my anxiety and I know that I have to often take a step back and breathe. I committed to making and packing their lunches every night so they are ready for the morning. Now I just need to remember to breathe and try to stay calm so I can have a good day. Just like our students and own kids, we need to try and have a smooth morning so it doesn’t carry over into our day. I need to be on the same team as my husband and honor that what we both do is important. But the most important thing is our kids.
Dear Dina and Mel,
Sorry for being late to work everyday. I have the videos to prove it. Thank you for understanding.
Dear Mama who gets major anxiety about being late like me,
Find a tribe that supports you. Find a job that understands life (Dina and Mel are the BEST). This season of life where you are balancing an emotionally draining full time job with another emotionally draining full time job is extremely difficult. You tend to neglect yourself as you drown in the everyday chaos of each season. Being a teacher and a mom or any full time job and a mom is rewarding, but OH SO exhausting. Take care of you. Breathe and understand that you aren’t intentionally late. Yes, you have a responsibility and yes, you are a professional, but this season will pass- probably too quickly and I am sad about it, so for now I will breathe and let go. I can only do what I can do and I will do my very best at trying not to be late for commitments. Your kids can pick up that energy. Motherhood is messy and raw and real and emotional and exhausting and trying…but it’s also beautiful, forgiving, unconditional, true, honest, loving…At the end of the day no matter how mad you get or if you scream at your kids to HURRY UP so you don’t get fired, they still love you and can’t wait to see you. You are their hero.
You got this.