Sunday, February 17, 2013

South To Drop Off, North To Pick 'Em Up.

I've referred to this before,

but in the last year, I've felt a huge, sudden, shift in Mommyhood.

And I'm not liking it.  Not liking it one bit.  I'm struggling against it-- fighting it-- I'm the one kicking and screaming and grabbing onto the casing of the door whilst someone tries to bodily remove me from my house.

I hate, HATE being the "busy" and the "chauffeur" mommy. 

I said to a friend the other day,

"I'm sorry I didn't get back to you! I was spending my life in the car.  All I know is, I didn't sign up for this crap."

And the friend, very lovingly, said,

"Oh, yes.  Yes you did.  You just didn't know you did at the time."

And the hubs is calling me from work, and he's all,

"So how's your day going?"

and then I just go off about how all I did was run around and drop everyone off and pick everyone up and it's been this and then it was that and I can't catch my breath "and the house is a mess Jack, and the kids are a mess Jack, you're a mess Jack.. . "

Except my name's not Jack but the rest is all true.

If I were my husband, I wouldn't even call anymore because I wouldn't want to hear my own answer.

Last week, I thought to myself,

"Self, if you don't take this 15 minute window of opportunity to get nekkid and git in the shower, there is a very high probability of no time for a shower for the rest of the day."

The other day, I was reading some Mommy tips, and it was about how this mom has made her car like a 2nd home, and she's prepared with snacks and coloring books and crap just to keep the peace 'n all.

And all I was thinking was,

But I don't want to live in my car!  It's dirty and it stinks. 

(Jeffro was playing Gran Turismo in our car not long ago and a crockpot of bbq lil smokies poured out into the trunk.  Occasionally, I still get a wiff of that, and it's bad.)

Jeffro suggested I get an audiobook so I can enjoy my time in car-prison.  I actually do try and journal/read while I wait for people, and that's nice 'n all.  I guess.

(I was the driver during this shot. I was. 'Nt.)

Let me tell you something: 

when all I had was little kids, back when we moved a lot and knew no one and I didn't have a car blahblahblah ( don't read about that here), it did something good, and yet bad, for me.

I got used to staying home, and having a very quiet, un-busy life. 

This just isn't gonna work out for me.

You know how people used to say stuff like "There just isn't enough time in the day", but now we just use the much more current and heelarious term, "Ain't nobody got time for that."? 

I always thought that was just silly.  Because a few years back, I did have time.  I was like that obnoxious kid on "Polar Express", and he's like, "We got plenty of time.  We got nothing but time.  We got time to kill."

Not so, anymore.  Now I get it.  If you stop by my house before noon, I will give you this answer:

"Sorry the kitchen's gross.  I don't fit in a kitchen cleaning until the afternoon at the earliest."

And if I was a mom who worked??  I'd come home from a long day, and I'd be all,

"Oh no. . . I don't do cooking or dishes.  I worked today.  Sowww-y." (sing song voice)

(this picture is irrelevant.  Just trying to lighten the mood.)

It's not like all of my children are in activities.  I've got one in music stuff and one in preschool.  And then there's church stuff and that's a life of its own.  But that's it.  Jeffro has told me many a time that it's only gonna get worse from here on out.

I know.  I KNOW!  Gosh.

Let me ask you: how am I supposed to take control of this chaos?  How do I handle this?

"Well, you man up and stop being a wuss.  That's what you do."

Okay, I am a wuss.  I'm sure I will adjust, somewhat.  But aside from that:

What do you do?  Is there a golden rule of thumb?  Keep it to only one activity per child (the thought of even that much more makes me want to rock back and forth in the corner and suck my thumb)? 

Perhaps do I demand that extra activities be on only certain days, so I can have some calm days, and then some crazy days, when I turn into a pscyho hose beast behind the wheel?

I've got some organization crap I'll be building to help cut the chaos down.  Make the mornings smoother.  I really need to get up on that this week.

Oh, and I have really big plans for this contraption in the car, and when a kid is whining/fighting/whatever that is annoying, all I have to do is pull a string and something wacks the kid in the back of the head, and it's going to be epic.

 So watch for that.


Suesan Kennard said...

I was driving in car prison for 2.5 hours a DAY to get my boys to the basics. School. That's it. Then Noah finally got his license a couple of weeks ago and I've been released from Purgatory after doing 6 months of hard time.

I think the key is deciding what is really important to each of your people. Putting kids in activities they don't enjoy can be painful for everyone. It's a juggling act that only you can find the right balance.

In the meantime, that contraption sound epic and definitely worth investing in!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I'm probably going to tell you something you don't want to hear, Mandi. I used to drive my two all over the place and really, I didn't mind. Sometimes, yes, it would get to me because I felt like I was always in the car. But after my son {the youngest} got his license. They didn't need me to drive them anywhere anymore and ~ I missed it!

It really becomes a great place to talk to your kids. When they get older, and if you keep quiet, they forget you are there, and you learn from them and their friends talking about what is going on in their lives.

ohiomom said...

When my kids were younger all three were in baseball. Thankfully my girls were on the same team, but my son was older and in a different league. Practice was 4 nights per week, after having driven them to and from school. Then games started 4 nights per week and at different fields in different towns at the same time. Welcome to advanced mommyhood. It's not all bad, really. You'll adapt. )

Kimbo West said...

so. i used to live in st. george. before blog. before i had a calling. only 1 toddler and a babe. no real friends...

life was awesome.
my scrapbooking was up to date.
i remember going to library cause i actually had time to read.
my toenails were always painted.
i thought of a craft...and i did it.

i miss those days.

Rach said...

Hey jack, I'm in the same boat. I try to minimalize as much as I can without looking like a freak, but somehow things still take over and everyday life gets out of control.

You are just hilarious, and I love everything you write. (and build while we are at it)

I say keep fighting hard to give your kids a normal, slow as possible paced life, which it appears you have been doing a fine job so far.

And let me know about the car contraption...I'd be your first purchaser. : )

Rach said...

Oh yeah... I love mr. Mom!

GustoBones said...

This is why, of all the things I miss about Washington, the big yellow school bus is what I miss most of all. It cut down on time in the car a ton. This is why the best dentist/orthodontist/dance lessons/soccer etc, are the ones that are the closest. Welcome to the world of crazed moms. Come on in, the water's fine. And just know that your crazy neighbor will never judge you and I am always happy to help with anything I can.

Stacy said...

Two words. Car Pool.

I've found I can trade rides in one direction, or trade weeks/sessions with another family is saving my hyde.

So far I've bought myself about 3 hours a week. Which means, I can bathe daily now.

Getting into the PTA, and making a point to get to know the parents at the swimming/soccer/ballet/music lessons is helping find willing partners to split the driving.

Best of luck finding your balance!

SueAnn Lommler said...

My husbands parents had a great approach..if you want to be involved in extracurricular have to find your own way there and back. We won't do it and school work comes first!!
Ha...It worked for them!
Just a thought

COTTAG3 said...

Here's my two cents: Kids who are involved in activities (church activities, sports, hobby, music lessons, etc.) tend to do better in school and tend to get in less trouble when they are teenagers. However, limit how many they are in because kids can get stressed from all of this too and can be involved in too many things.

I do agree with Kathy above. As your kids get older, especially your boys (around 5th grade and up), they don't always talk about what's going on with them or give you details about their day. There is something about the car; they tend to open up. My son and I have our best conversations in the car. Hire a sitter occasionally so you can just run around with one or two and have some great talks. Sometimes I ask my son to run errands with me just so we can talk in the car and chill to some great music.

Good luck!

SpaceGirl said...

i will admit, being a mom who works outside the house all day, it is hard to come home and be motivated to cook, clean, and ferry kids around to activities. and right now, i only have one of the kiddos in an evening activity. but we're about to add soccer to the list, and eventually some sort of music lessons, and then the other kids will follow suit as they get older. it's exhausting to think about, but i just remind myself that it's for them, not me, and the smile on my daughter's face after gymnastics class ends makes it worthwhile.

Evelyn said...

Oh man, I wish I had some great advice for you! When my youngest started going to school full time (he went to full-time PRESCHOOL!) I thought, "I'll have all the time in the world...think I'll get a part-time job!"
Now I drive that kid to school (2 hours a day to and from), run home, go to work for 3-4 hours, get off and I have 1 hour to eat, clean, exercise, run errands, whatever before it's time to get the kids from school and start all the various crazy stuff. Hubby is gone at work until 11:00 pm, so it's just me and the kids all day. What was I thinking? It's great to work while the kids are in school, but it's also exhausting!!

Jackie said...

Wow. Reading the comments makes me glad that my kids' activities are practically in our backyard. Only one so far is actually involved in anything, tee ball, and we live right beside the ball fields=walking distance. If my kids want to do something it has to be close to the house, i.e. walking distance. That leaves soccer, baseball, basketball, and football. The dance studio is close by, the library is close by. Gymnastics is 5 miles from the house, probably not happening unless I change my mind. Even the schools and the daycare they go to are within a mile of the house. Location really is very important in real estate.

Carol Ann said...

I have to say your contraption thing designed to whack a kid up-side the head makes a lot more sense than what I asked my husband to design back when I was living in my car. If he could have just figured out how to get a washer and dryer in my land barge of a car, I could have gotten so much more accomplished.

Hang in there.

Libby said...

I agree...before Kindergarten for #1 I could do tons of stuff. Even cook from scratch!

I refused to live in my car. Famous last words. When #3 was born I actually wrote a sign for above his carseat "Home Sweet Car". We only had one car & had #1 in preschool & DH had a noon-time work related gig to get to.

When they were older I restricted them to Cubs/scouts & one other activity-as long as it was low cost and was in the same area.

I can relate to the car smell...I picked up a 'empty' beer can to add to our refundables and it leaked in the trunk. gag how can people drink that stuff? Baking soda and a Groupon coupon for car detailing should fix it.

Doesn't last just seems that way. I now drive myself all over! And we still have only one car!

It really only sucks to wait during the cold or wet (or both) weather...warm sunny days are excuses to bask in the warmth and not feel like you should be inside attacking the kitchen.

Joanna said...

I used to relish the running around, because waiting time was my only down-time to read, check FB, that the kids are a little bigger, I now make sure we carpool to everything. "I'll drop off if you can pick up." Piano is the only thing we don't carpool to. But I've learned to love this as well, because the kids talk with their friends and I get insight into what is going on in their lives in new ways. Change in perspective might be all you need? P.S. You're not required to put your kiddos in activities if you don't really wanna. I just do because my kids drive me crazy otherwise. I'm not a super - awesome mom. I need a break!

Hippymom83 said...

All I can say is "I love your blog!" I love that you are so real! And I haven't heard "psycho hose beast" since I graduated high school, so that totally cracked me up and brought back memories!

And for the record, I DO limit my son to only one activity. I AM a working mom, and then come home and cook {aka-order pizza}, and clean {while telling my hubby to take out the trash}, and do laundry {which NEVER seems to get all caught up} sooooo......only one activity at a time!!! :) In the beginning, you feel kinda mean and like maybe you are holding them back, but then you realize that you're actually doing them a favor by teaching them how to pace themselves and make time to just BE A KID for gosh sakes!!!! {and if the result a few minutes of quiet Mom time with a good book, so be it} :)

Lorilyn Crum said...

I am so worried about this in my future. Kids - they are one big time suck.

Team Tindle said...

We have five kids from 11years to 7months. We do church, homechool group and a couple service activities each month. Once the kids turn nine they can participate in one activity of their choice but only for three months each year. This accommodate most sports seasons, plays, etc. I'd they want to take lessons, they can for three months. This has worked to insure that interest stays high,I don't have to beg People to practice and I'm not trapped in mom jail. Hope u find what works for u.