Yesterday, reality hit us smack in the face. Back-to-school routines were established once again, but this year with the added chaos of a mom who doesn’t just roll out of bed and into the car for drop-off. In order to get us all dressed, styled, fed, and caffeinated, I set my alarm for 6 am. Tomorrow, I’ll set it even earlier to avoid that last frantic ten minutes of running up and down the stairs screaming at J and the kids to get out the door.
The school year snuck up on me, so I didn’t clear my schedule or plan ahead to make the first day of school memorable. It wasn’t marked with a special breakfast, or a mother/daughter shopping trip, or a cozy afterschool yogurt session. I was downtown, in back-to-back meetings, and I had to save the download until dinnertime. That was part of the drama this morning. As J told me, if I want to celebrate these momentous occasions with my kids like my mom did with me, I need to decide that in advance. I need to take time off, to prepare. It’s not a decision to be made 20 minutes before the tardy bell rings.
Sometimes you find magic in everyday moments. But on the flip side, there are days that you build up in your head as so big, and then you find yourself as tired and grouchy and harried as you would be on any other ordinary day. And it hurts. Because you want to remember that perfect first day of school, that photo moment, when you cooked a nutritious meal and dressed your kids in immaculate outfits and chatted with the teacher and made friends with the moms gathered at the new classroom.
Motherhood can be really tough. And while working full-time? It’s an insane balancing act that is in danger of toppling over completely at any moment. I felt all day as if I’d failed at “back-to-school,” that one day that I was supposed to be the very best mom I could be. So I tried again when I got home. I cooked Bolognese. I talked to the kids at length about their new rooms, their new teachers, their new friends. It helped, a little, but I may surprise them with pancakes later this week. Just because