School Is Starting, And There Are Five Things I Am Not Looking Forward To

School starts in a few days. I’m a routine kind of girl, so I’m thrilled we will get back on a schedule and have all our days planned out with school, appointments and activities. However, there are a few things I really am not looking forward to now that school is quickly approaching.

  1. We have to get up so freaking early.
    Our lazy summer mornings will be gone. No more sitting on the couch in my pajamas with a cup of coffee until 8 or  9 o’clock. The coffee and the pajamas will just have to come with me as the sun rises to school car line drop-off.  Tell me again why little elementary school kids have to start school at 7:30am??
  2. I have to pack lunches every day.
    The dreaded lunch-making duties start up once again. It wouldn’t be so difficult if my girls all liked the same foods. Instead, I have a vegetarian, a picky carb-lover, and two girls are in a peanut-free classroom this fall. Gone are the, “go look in the fridge and make yourself something for lunch” summer days. Momma’s got to get her healthy lunch-packing game back on.
  3. Waiting at the bus stop (or rushing to get to the bus stop on time) is a pain.
    The afternoon bus is never consistent. One day, the bus will arrive five minutes earlier than scheduled, and other days I wait for 20 minutes or longer for the bus to drop the girls off. Once the girls are old enough to walk themselves down the street to our house it’ll be better. But for now, I wait and wait at the bus stop–or I sprint up the street to the bus stop.
  4. I become an afternoon and evening taxi driver.
    Three children means lots of different interests and after-school activities. I become a taxi driver once school starts. Homework gets done in the car some evenings, and drive-thru meals or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches get served in the Suburban. If we are going to fit in everyone’s interests, this is how it has to go down.
  5. I struggle trying to get the kids to go to bed early.
    My girls love late nights. I’m an early-to-bed kind of mom, but getting my kids to bed is a struggle. The first few weeks of school are NOT fun. My little ones turn into temper-tantrum, whiny, emotional, cranky monsters because they take a while to get back on the school sleep schedule.  Our house is a bundle of fun each evening that first month of school.

Bring on the planned-out daily schedule, but some parts of our school day routine just sucks. What parts of the back-to-school routine do you not look forward to?

I Walked Away From A Job I Loved

When I decided to quit my job, I surprised many. I loved my job, and I was passionate about it. (I think) I was good at what I did. I had found my dream job–a career that was perfect for me. Still, I walked away.

Here’s the easiest way to describe why I made my decision: I have three daughters that look up to me as their mother and role model. They see and hear everything I do, and they learn from my actions.

In my opinion, it was most important for me to show them that I valued myself. What I stand for and what I am willing to tolerate speaks volumes to my daughters. I was willing to walk away from a job I loved because I love myself and what I believe in more.

I want to teach my impressionable girls they should always put themselves, their morals and values, and their needs first too.

My family is more important to me than any job. This summer, it was easy for me to make the decision I would focus my energy on my family this next school year. My children deserve (and I want them to expect) a mother who is strong enough to make difficult decisions, and one who is strong enough to not regret those decisions.

Will I return to work someday? I hope so. I loved what I did, and I’d love to find myself working again. I’m in no hurry, though. For now, I’ll take some time to care for myself, focus on my children and give my family 100% of me.

Somewhere Along The Way, I Forgot How To Have Fun

I climbed into bed last night at nine, with my flannel pajamas on, my hair back in a headband, Crest white strips stuck to my teeth, and a book in hand–my nightly routine for years now–and suddenly it hit me hard. It came out of nowhere.

My life is routine and boring.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to have fun.

Sometime between trying for baby #1, years of infertility treatments, babies #2 and #3 (twins), my husband’s longer work hours, and taking care of a family of five, I lost my mojo.

I used to have fun. I used to know how to have a great time. And somehow, I lost that knowledge.

I used to have dinner or lunch out with girlfriends each week. Meals were somewhere other than Chick-fil-A, and I enjoyed a day drink (or two), dressed in skinny jeans and heels. We’d spill on the latest gossip and talk about work, boyfriends or husbands, and plans for the weekend. I haven’t enjoyed that kind of meal out in a while.

I would make often make last-minute plans with my husband to get away for a weekend. Want to leave after work Friday and head to the mountains? Sure! Want to drive a few hours to go watch a college football game and make an overnight trip out of it? Of course, I do! Going out of town last-minute was exciting and enjoyable. I haven’t spontaneously gone out of town for a weekend or overnight trip in a long time.

My husband and I would cuddle on the couch while watching a movie on TV. Popcorn, chips and beer or wine, giggling and flirting with each other was a common Saturday night event. I haven’t had a night on the couch with just me and my husband in a long time.

I would sleep in until noon on a Sunday after a night out dancing at the local bar, and I’d lounge in my pajamas all day. ..just chillin’ after a late night out. I haven’t had a night out past midnight in a very long time. I haven’t slept in until noon in what seems like forever.

Why did the fun disappear? How did it get boxed up and put away high on a shelf in my closet? Why did I let it get put away?

While life was changing, I let the fun trickle away. While our family was growing and my husband’s job was growing, I was allowing my fun and the things I enjoyed to shrink.

I became so serious and practical over the past few years. I don’t laugh as much as I used to. Nothing is last-minute or spontaneous these days. Everything is planned.

Scheduling a night out means finding and paying for a sitter, not drinking much, and getting home at a decent hour because we don’t want to look wild and crazy in front of the kids or the sitter.

Lunchtime is spent at home in yoga pants, folding laundry and sweeping the kitchen floor while making macaroni and cheese for the kids.

Weekends are for youth sporting events, kid’s birthday parties, and catching up on errands and chores that couldn’t get done during the week because of after-school activities. Weekends are for the kids to have fun now, and not the adults.

Weekend movies on TV are PG and kid-friendly, and everyone piles on the couch together (usually with kids sandwiched  in between the parents).

Getting to sleep in is a thing of the past. “Sleeping in” now means the luxury of getting to stay in bed until eight. Pajama days are a thing of the past—I’ve got to shower and get dressed because there are too many errands to run to get prepared for the upcoming week.

I want the excitement back, though. I miss the fun and the spontaneity. I want to go out last-minute with my husband more often. I want to meet up with my friends and wear trendy clothes. I want to decide on a Thursday night that we are going to head to the beach for the weekend. I want to have fun again. I want part of my life to be exciting and surprising again.

Yes, I lost my mojo somewhere along the way. But it was there once before, so I know I can find it again. I just need a little glimmer that the good times are still there–I’m “old” now, and I’m realistic enough to know that my life has changed, so the fun will have to  evolve a bit. But I know I can figure out how to have a good time again. And it’ll be a sweet time getting back to re-inventing a new, fun life.

Dear Friend, Sometimes I Can’t Deal With Your Anxiety

My dear friend. I love you. I think the world of you, and I enjoy talking with you. But I need to be honest with you.

Sometimes I cannot deal with your anxiety….because I have a lot of anxiety of my own.

I don’t mind getting texts or phone calls from you. I love our conversations. But when you send five, ten or twenty texts one right after the other about the same issue that’s bugging you out, sometimes I can’t deal.

I know you need someone to talk to, someone to listen to your fears or concerns. Sometimes, you just need to vent or talk the issue(s) out with a friend so you can get reassurance or advice. But when I give you reassurance and you keep going on and on and on, some days I have to walk away and tune out for a bit. I either don’t respond to you anymore, I change the subject, or I text you with, “Hang in there! Got to go–one of the kids needs me. Talk soon!” or something similarly generic.

I am here for you, really I am. But please know that I have a ton of anxieties of my own that I’m dealing with on a daily basis. I worry about whether my husband’s plane landed OK this morning. I worry if I’m a good enough mother and wife (and friend). I freak out because I’m sure I’m not going to get to an appointment on time.  I get nervous when I haven’t heard from my mom for a week because I’m sure I must have said or done something wrong.

We all have crap we are dealing with. As much as I want to be there for you as a friend, my crap needs to take priority.

When you send me text after text worrying about why your sister hasn’t called you, or your voice message freaking out over whether or not your son made the soccer team, or the after-work calls asking me over and over if I think your boss is mad at you because you got to work late again…and I don’t respond or I change the subject, it’s not that I don’t care about you.

It’s that my plate is pretty full of anxiety-producing problems today and I can’t really spend the day listening to and focusing my energy on all of what’s on your plate.

When I have cleared a little bit of space on my plate, of course I’ll take you out for lunch, go for a walk with you, or grab a glass of wine one evening so you can throw all your anxieties out there. We are friends, and I care about you. Just know that today, I might have to many of my own issues to be able to handle yours too.

Who Really Is The Real Housewife?

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the Real Housewives of…shows. Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York—I DVR the episodes, and I’ll binge-watch them while drinking wine and eating chips and salsa on a Friday or Saturday night.

These women have more drama (and plastic surgery) than I can ever dream of. Their extravagant lives are full of vacations, massages and facials, boutique shopping, and themed parties.

The Real Housewives have it all and do it all, while we all get to watch on our TV’s.

Who in the real world lives that kind of life? I know these women have lots and lots of money and they can afford their upscale lifestyle. But almost every “real housewife” I know does not live like this.

Most of us vacation once or twice a year. With the kids and husband in tow. A “big” vacation that involves flying or bringing passports happens every few years if we are lucky.

How do the moms on Real Housewives constantly go to far-away locations like Ireland or Mexico, and how are they OK with having a nanny watch their kids for all those days that they are gone? For me, just finding a weekend free of kids’ softball games, cross country meets and birthday parties to plan a get-away is a challenge. If I hopped a plane and left my kids and husband every few weeks to jet-set out with my girlfriends, even if I could afford it or didn’t mind spending all that money, I would feel nothing but guilt.

How tiny and fit they all are on TV! I know that’s part of the casting–who’d want to watch if they all wore a size 12? But everyone seems to wear a size four or smaller. That’s so unrealistic for most of us. These women must work out constantly. With an expensive trainer. Seriously. They rarely talk about exercise (and only a few of them are shown working out).

How do they go out to eat so often and not have it affect them–it seems like they are constantly with drink in hand or meeting with each other at fancy restaurants. If I’m going to fit into my skinny clothes, then it means no alcohol and limited restaurant visits. (I am glad to see that this season on The Real Housewives of Orange County, one mom talks about weight gain and her struggle with stress eating. This is an issue that is more “real” than the other issues the moms on these shows deal with each week. It’s something we can actually connect with.)

Real Housewife parties are crazy. Party planners, ice sculptures, “white parties”, bartenders and entertainment, what the heck is all that? If I throw a party, my friends can expect a cooler full of beer on the back porch, some cheese and crackers thrown on a plate along with a vegetable platter purchased at Costco. Dinner might be pizza from Dominos or some burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Served on paper plates. Entertainment? Let me ask Amazon Alexa to play today’s hits. That’s the extent of my dinner party. No frills. No fancy. And I don’t know any of my mom friends that have super-extravagant parties unless it’s a major life event.

Every woman on Housewives has had plastic surgery—laser treatments, breast reduction and augmentation, lip plumping, cheek implants—you name it, they’ve probably tried it. I know these women have lots of money to spare, but in the real world, housewives can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these treatments. We complain about the cost of anti-aging products from Oil of Olay, for goodness sake!

Yes, I’ll keep watching The Real Housewives. Yes, I’ll dream of living a life like theirs. But I am realistic enough to know that their lives are not “real” life for the majority of us moms. It is not reality. Our real lives entail clothes from Target, driving mini-vans, vacuuming our own homes, and dinner out from Chick-fil-A. We are the ones living like real housewives. But that would probably make for boring TV, wouldn’t it?