I met Michelle online a long time ago, early in my blogging career. I love reading her [mis]adventures of being an Ad Girl in New York and how she deals with the everyday issues that arise when you are a working mom and have a child with allergies. She may not be a superhero or married to Jon Stewart (yet!), but I think she’s pretty awesome and I am so happy to have her share this post with us today.
Welcome Michelle! ;c)
Wake me up when September Ends
One of my favorite songs in college was “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” I think they should rename it “September, Bloody September.”
I hate September.
I used to like it, but as a working parent with a child in school, it pushes me to my breaking point. Every year when it starts I’m surprised at how bad it is, as if I’ve forgotten the year before.
Indulge me while I give you a glimpse into my glamorous life as an advertising executive:
Tuesday: Take day off Labor Day to take child to 1st day of first grade.
Wednesday: Try and take off today off too, as it’s the first full day. Fail miserably, as giant creative presentation is scheduled smack for 3pm pickup time. Can’t be changed, peeps in London listening. Feel the guilt wash over me as my child screams “Mommy!! Nooo!!!!” as I drop her off at school Wednesday morning, knowing full well if she knew I was picking her up instead of the nanny LIKEIFUCKINGPLANNED she’d be fine.
Weekend: Spend time at home listening to mini whine that there’s nothing to do. Piddle around until I realize, at 10:45 that gymnastics starts this week!!! At 11am!!! And I haven’t even gotten into the shower yet. Sigh. I won’t even tell you the look they give me when they ask me where my pass is. I’m supposed to have a pass? Where did I miss that one?
Monday: First full week. Have most horrible morning ever. Despite getting up early, mini does not want to go to school. Spend 40 minutes at home trying to get her to leave, finally arriving at school 15 minutes late. Suck it up as teachers and staff stare at me, already labeling me first week in as “THAT MOM”, the neurotic mom with all the food allergy requests, the disorganized mom who can’t get her kid to school on time, the inept mom who can’t calm her child down as she’s screaming “DON’T GO MOMMY” and crying hysterically in the hallway. I wince in guilt as my child proceeds to tell new teacher how “mommy comes home really late all the time.” Finally get to work late, ready to hyperventilate before I’ve even had my coffee. But there’s no time to stop for coffee when you’re that late. People are mad. REALLY mad. Can I stay late to make up for it? Of course not, because the only way to calm down hysterically crying child in the morning who does not like transitions is to promise to be home early.
Wednesday: Even though I told people over a month ago, I wonder how I am going to get out of work by 5 to make it in time for back-to-school night. And you know people will be mad if something comes up (which no doubt it will) and I still have to go.
“Weren’t you just out for the last week of August and part of last week?” they’ll say.
Friday: What’s in store today? Another day off. Finally our day in court against the school board. And after all they put us through, and after trying to get a hearing for a year, they gave us a most convenient date (Note sarcasm. If you’re not familiar with it I suggest you read more of my work).
Think we’re done? There’s meetings with the teachers in advance to go over all the allergy stuff, phone calls and emails to teachers of after school programs, talking to her pediatrician and the nurse about her new prescriptions, sending Epipen training videos to this person and that, talking to the art and science teachers about egg cartons.
Think people are happy when they walk by your office after you’ve shown up late, a day after a vacation day, and have to take a break from a meeting to call your kid’s teacher? Think your kid’s happy when you tell them you can’t come home one day next week because a client wants to have dinner and you can’t say no after all the days you’ve taken off?
When you’re done with all that, add the Jewish holidays, and the days off work I need for that. Can I take off first day and not second? Of course I can’t. Yeah, they love me at work this month.
FINALLY, when I just can’t take any more, the refrigerator breaks down. You can’t make this stuff up, peeps.
So, in the words of a famous Spaniard, allow me to explain; no, no, there is too much…allow me to sum up.
Busy as busy can be.
Failing miserably at everything.
Not doing a good enough job at work, not being a good enough parent, not being there for anyone who needs me, disappointing everyone, basically not being good enough at anything. As a working mother, not a week goes by without that wave of guilt that washes over me and makes me wonder whether or not I’m making the right choice to work as much as I do. In September, that guilt hits me every single day. I wonder if it’s this guilt that has me baking a new batch of egg and nut-free pumpkin whole-wheat protein bread late at night despite the fact that I should be sleeping and also, I am out of protein flour.
The next morning, I get a brief respite from the chaos as mini sees a slice of pumpkin bread in her backpack for snack and gives me a huge excited thank you hug. For now, that will have to be good enough. So I repeat to myself: “It’s September. I don’t have to be a great mother amidst this chaos. Simply good enough.” Maybe if I say it often enough I’ll actually believe it someday.
There’s no sleep for a working parent in September. No calm, no sanity.
Turns out Green Day had the right idea all along.
Oh boy, and I thought I had it bad. I hope your October is better than this month. Hey, just don’t try to make halloween costumes from scratch or anything crazy. Okay?
Thank you for your honest depiction of a busy mom trying to manage work, school, and all the other stuff in between. It isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes you just have to put your head down and get through it. Just don’t forget to drink wine and have some girlfriends to bitch to about it once and a while.
** P.S. Michelle has embedded a trivia question in her post. There is a quote from a famous movie by a famous spaniard. Be the first to guess correctly and you will have your choice of being the guest PostHer (or PostHe) for next week Wednesday Words of Wisdom or having the famous Mountain Momma create a song for you.
Do you have any wisdom to share? Found some? Need some? Link up below or leave us some comment love!
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