Forgive me followers, for I have slacked. It has been three weeks since my last blog post.
What has befallen me is a deadly combination of kindergarten (in 17 days I have already received 8,000 school emails – one of which informed me of FUCKING LICE in the classroom and another alerted me to whooping cough a few doors down) and daycare (where it seems my 2-year old is hell-bent on getting expelled); both of which I decided would be a great idea to start ON THE SAME DAY.
Prior to this upheaval, we were a (very happy) nanny family. Why? Because I live in an area of Toronto where you need to put your name on daycare waiting lists 2 years in advance (which I didn’t do); because a nanny for 2 was actually cheaper than daycare for 2 (because the system is fucking broken); because nannies are awesome (because they help you run your household); and because fuck my kids coming home with HFM disease every 4 to 6-weeks.
Well on September 5th, all of that changed. Goodbye slow mornings. Goodbye carefully prepared breakfasts and unlimited couch snuggles. Goodbye extra set of hands.
Hello first drop-off hell. Hello kindergarten clusterfuck. Hello second-drop off hell. Hello teary goodbyes that end in a childcare provider prying a 35lb toddler out of my arms.
And after all of that – the clock strikes 9 and it’s time to start my day.
May I just ask how the fuck I can reasonably expect to be on my game after all that?
I’m doing my very best, but since they’ve gone into “the system” (a system that is not perfect but one that I am actually very grateful for and am happy my kids have a chance to enter #thankyouCanada) I have still had to attend my meetings, host events, attend events, run a website, run 3 social media channels, plan a book tour, and speak on panels (4 in 7 days, to be exact).
But here’s the true pièce de résistance: the epic scramble to cut my day off at 2:30pm so I can get back for 3:10pm (SHARP) pick up.
By the time we get home I’m in mom mode. Snacks. Daily debrief. Cuddles. Love. Park. Dinner. Family visits. Grocery Shopping.
Of course, I have my phone close by so I can still engage in the day-to-day business running activities (at least until everyone else’s work day is over), but while there’s something to be said for the freedom to work from anywhere that technology begets, there’s a lot that I hate about it too (namely the fact that I don’t really want my kids to see me with my face in a screen 24-7).
Either way, I am left with 2 windows of time within which to have a life: Between 9:30am and 2:30pm and between 8:30pm and 11pm. Fucking wonderful – a whopping 7 disjointed hours. No wonder I feel like I’m off my game! I’ve missed things, I’ve forgotten things, and so once again I find myself incredibly angry and frustrated at how the highly the odds are stacked against working moms. The second we make it through one obstacle (pregnancy / mat leave / returning to work etc.) we run up against another and all of them seem to involve every kind of stress known to (wo)man – financial stress, emotional stress, physical stress (everyone who has ever had to navigate a school parking lot at 8:45am knows).
It’s a lot and I’ll admit – I’m feeling it big time.
But I as I move through the motions of my days, I’ve been trying to remind myself that my reality is formed not by what’s happening around me, but by how I react to it.
2 mornings I spent in a frantic state – yelling, administering time-outs, doling out threats (I even threw a pair of tiny running shoes at a wall). And then I finally just said fuck it.
I will be the calm in this chaos.
I will be strong through the morning W.W.F. sibling throw-downs.
I will be infallible during the tears and tantrums at morning drop off.
I will stop booking shit that requires me to be anywhere at 9:30am.
I will lean on my village
I will ask for help.
I will continue to work hard so I can hire more help (for the record, I clean my own house and I would really love to NOT).
I will let my history of overcoming child-associated obstacles remind me that this too shall pass.
And when I have climbed this mountain. When I have figured out a way to reinstate order and calm as the 2 main pillars of my existence, I will add “change the whole fucking system” to our Rebel Mama To-do List so that we stop tethering women to unreasonable schedules and inescapable emotional stress.
Get your copy of:
THE REBEL MAMA’S HANDBOOK FOR (COOL) MOMS
Featured Image: Stephanie Seymour via @voguexiconic