Thursday, June 13, 2013

This conductor needs to get train back on the tracks

In one more day this school year is finally over, and it was been a mental disaster to say the least. I find it kind of ironic in a way that I did reach the #1 spot at topmommyblogs for the working mom blog category (don't forget to vote occasionally by clickin the button to the side) and I AM NOT the person you want to be looking to for advice on how to balance all the balls in the air. I am a very type A, little OCD kind of personality and this year was like a train wreck. The kind of train wreck where the train is knocked off the tracks and starts going uncontrollably down this hill. It's totally out of control and all over the place. And everybody inside is clinging to it hoping it's going to land gracefully at the bottom. Yeah, me the train wreck landing gracefully, not so much.

It was like we crashed at the bottom, scattered all over the place but did miraculously survive somehow. Okay, maybe this year wasn't quite that dramatic but it was hell.

We moved this year which is never a very organized process, my husband was in his most intense year of his program for grad school, it was our first full school year with two small kids at home, and I was a classroom floater and shared a room with another teacher I love but we're completely opposite (it was kind of like being college roommates with your opposite).

I have become a slob. I hate that word and if you saw my house most of the time this year- it shouts lazy slob. Except you won't see me laying on the couch much. My husband gets irritated because it's almost ten and I'm still running around cleaning up something. If people picked up after themselves (this does include me too though) then it wouldn't take me forever to clean up the house every damn day.

So I am one person with one super busy husband as my only helper. We have no family within six hours, not enough money for a weekly housekeeper (which is what some of my wealthier friends' working moms back home had when we were growing up), and I was only able to afford our awesome nanny for five months last year and that's because she worked out a heck of a deal for me (she was a huge help in managing all those balls).

So what is one overloaded, crazy working mom going to do to get a better grip on the chaos that seems to be my work and family life? Everyone and everything is going on a calander or sticker chart next year. This includes my husband because I need his help in enforcing all these rules and crap I'm going to put in place. What kind of rewards do you think will motivate a man? If he doesn't help enforce I'm taking his stickers and rewards away!I'm going to be running that house like a drill sergeant next year so here's my plan.

1.Meal plan: We will plan our meals for the two weeks after payday on the weekend. On a calendar we will fill in what we are having two weeks at a time and then go to the grocery store on Saturday to get it all. To prepare for this I am going to make a master list this summer of all the different meals we can make so we don't fall into a rhythm of eating the same old things. I am also going to look up some crock pot or good leftover type meals. Foodie in WV is always sharing awesome recipes so I'm going to raid her site this summer and compile a list of meals and recipes.

2.Chore list: We will have a seven day a week calendar with all the chores filled in. I understand my husband is busy and he does help me but I find it rather comical how exasperated he gets when he's the one in charge of getting the girls to bed or picking up the constant mess. And the laundry and dishes are out of control. I don't have a dishwasher and I cannot keep up with that laundry. That chore list will divide things up more evenly between us and throughout the week so I don't feel like my whole weekend is spent catching up on chores. Averi is also old enough to start to have one daily chore a day. What are some good 4 year old chores?

Bedtime chart: This is for Averi. We will have a sticker chart tracking her going to bed on time and staying in bed. I may add myself to this because going to bed after 11 and getting up at 6 is not helping my state of mind. I need to give myself more sleep. Nate will lose points off his chart if he doesn't stick to enforcing this with Averi. Kenzi is my bedtime champ but she might want stickers and prizes too so I'll get a chart for her too.

The ME time calendar: On that calendar with all the other extras like Averi's gymnastics and dance, Nate's grad class, and weekend family events, is going to be time for ME. Time for me to do what I want without anyone bothering me or criticizing me. Nate thinks my idea of relaxing should be watching football or hockey with him. When I wasn't so busy that was fine but I'm too darn busy for some of that now. I want to be able to read, write, and play with my photo books without being criticized that I'm ignoring everyone so I will designate certain blocks of time that are just for this. But he will also have his uninterrupted time which in the Fall will be around football schedules. And we are also going back to the one date night a month. The ME time calendar will also include a night out together ALONE. The two of us have been doing so many things this year that we're not doing any of them well, have felt criticized constantly, and have been bad about criticizing one another as well.

The mommy and daddy work at home time: Each year our jobs require more and more work outside the normal workday. When I didn't have kids I didn't mind the lesson planning (I like lesson planning). Neither one of us had time this year to do much work at home. And that has been reflected at times in our work. I don't like this idea as we already spend 8-9 hours a day away from our kids why do I have to put in more time when I get home? But next year starts the new evaluation system and we're both up to be the first guinea pigs. I don't mind this so much because again I want to get my work life more organized again and this will help me stick to it, but Nate's still completing his grad program next year and has all the tests with that to prepare for on top of the new things that are coming with education change. I'm not necessarily against some of these changes but it's just more on that neverending plate him and I have. So again this is going to be extra stress and I need more structure in my life to handle it.

I know other working moms tell me constantly that it is a juggling chaotic mess but I don't think it's suppose to be as crazy as it's been this year. I passed up an opportunity to teach an evening college class at the local community college because as much as I thought it would be a good career decision, I really felt it was a bad family decision. I stressed over the decision all day Tuesday and once I finally made my choice I have to say I felt relieved so I think I made the right choice. He said he'd get back in touch with me for the spring semester so maybe by then I will feel like I can balance it all a little better. My girls will only be this little once, and it may seem like this is all normal but as the organized leader in my household we all need me back in my organized, together mind set. We will all function better.

I know they said this mom and working mom thing is hard but I just feel like it's been unbelievably hard this year. I've been doing this for four years and this year is definitely on the top for being the most difficult. But with a marriage, two kids, hopefully two dogs (I know another dog just what I need, right?), two houses to keep up with (that rental one is probably going to be a added stress in February), two careers, extra work and classes I know it's going to be a lot but everyone else does it so we should be able to, right? I keep telling myself next year will be better. It has to. This conductor needs to get control of her train. I feel like in order to do that I need a plan. I don't know how good of a plan it is. Suggestions from you working outside of the home moms?




  1. Sorry no suggestions, just company. I also plan our meals for 2 weeks and shop for food once for those 2 weeks. My house is also a mess. I swear I get one chore done and I turn around to find a new mess. My Hubby wants a 2nd dog too and I just shake my head.

    Congrats on reaching #1 working mom blog on TMB.

  2. Grad school is stressful especially if you have kids :) My husband and I both went to grad school and we fought a lot! I end up cleaning pretty much all day (I stay at home). Most moms that I talk to have a lot of stress from trying to balance everything. Being a mom is a hard job!