Monday, September 30, 2013

An epic month

This morning, I drove to the airport after Monday morning assembly at school to wave good-bye to our visitors.  We have had extended family houseguests for the past 10 days (10! in the first month of school!).  Did I mention that meant 9 people--5 adults, 4 kids--in our 3 bedroom house?  Whew!  Blessedly, our guests were of the pleasant, thoughtful and non-stressing variety (i.e., they helped deal with laundry mountain and cleaned my kitchen daily--danke!).


Dirk with Jonna, mid-tantrum

When I mention the duration of their stay to the average American, the listener tends to faint on my behalf.  In truth, longer visits are (in some ways) a bit easier.  Sure, it takes days to find a groove, but once the groove is found, that is the new normal.  It really was nice coming back from the crazy school-morning-scramble to a clean kitchen (not typical here).  I liked getting to know these people who I had really only met once at a very overwhelming family dinner party a decade long past.  We all loved having a baby around again, even finding her frequent outbursts of baby fury* and frustration pretty hilarious (it's a good thing babies are so cute!).  And while our very verbal Stephanie never got past the stress of the language barrier, our sweet Eleanor stepped up and did her best to engage our 4 year old visitor as much and as often as she could.

*photographic evidence of baby fury above.  He wanted her in the picture; she wanted me to hold her.

Jonna applies death grip to his hair
(with his new buddy. how much do I love watching Hubby with a baby?) 

Now, my biggest job is re-establishing some kind of normalcy around here.  September was a hard month.  A full month.  A busy month.  Back to school.  An 8-year-old's birthday party.   The Sewickley Chicken Walk.  A whirlwind week of home reorganization  to prepare for 5 extra people, and then the presence of 5 extra (albeit lovely) people.  Somewhere in there was my birthday too.  In its way, September was epic.  I think we're all ready for some seriously non-epic slowness.

Tomorrow is October.
I wonder what that month will bring?

Monday, September 16, 2013

You are not alone

Hello!  Remember me?  I'm the mom who posted about the night before back to school and then disappeared into the black hole that is back to school.  The mayhem.  The mania.  The headless-chickeness of it all!

It came to a head at my wonderful doctor's office this morning.  I went in for a big check-up (and a bonus tetanus booster! yippee!), and I responded to her casual "How are you?" by simultaneously smiling a big smile and bursting into tears as I said, "Oh, I'm fine!  Totally fine!  I mean, physically you know.  Nothing wrong!"  Sheesh.

Mamas, if the back-to-school mania monster is getting to you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  Yes, I did just write that in all caps.  It deserves it.  I'm over the whole Stepford wife, perfect appearance, taking on the world and liking it facade.  This is coming from the woman who realized at 8am this morning that we forgot to attend a sweet child's birthday party yesterday afternoon.  Major big oops.  Blessedly, her mother (and the sweet child herself!) was very gracious and understanding when I pounced them with a crazed look and my wild apologies.  If only I were more gracious and understanding of myself.

I'm going to call that the tipping point.  After a relaxed, open-ended and largely happy summer for us, this was a major shift.  It's time to acknowledge that this is indeed a time of mayhem and mania, but it will pass.  We will all adapt to the new routine, the new demands on our time.   It's okay to be off-kilter but trying.  It's okay to say "NO!" to the unending opportunities to be busier.  And it is necessary to make time for self-care.  Make even just a tiny hole in the day for you.  I bet you can find it if you look.  Even 5 minutes of deep  breathing, counting your breath in and out up to 10 and starting over again, is tremendously beneficial.
Beer o'clock might be helpful too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to school tomorrow

'Twas the night before school starts
And all through the house
Little creatures were wondering
(As was my spouse)

What would this new year bring
Though keeping our cool
We were all quite excited
To go back to school