Sunday, January 12, 2014

Juggling Act

Everything is harder with little kids, we all know this.  The littlest things like getting everyone out of the house and in the car are now epic undertakings that take skillful planning, timing, patience, and so much energy. Of which I have so little of.  Even on the weekends.  Saturday morning.  I often find myself at the beginning of the day with little planned but great intention to do SOMETHING, and then we finally muster up the energy to tackle that something (usually after a few cups of coffee) and we’ve already squirreled away a good part of our morning before Louie’s nap, so then it becomes, “What can we do? How long will it take? What will we do for lunch?”

And then.

Okay, let’s do this, quick.  You get the kids dressed, pack a bag with snacks.  I’ll go wash my face and brush my teeth and pretend I look good enough to face the outside world.

(Chaos for 37-45 minutes.)

Should we warm up the car?  Is this the cup he was using yesterday? Gus please put on your shoes.  Where is his hat? Bella stop being a maniac, you’re not coming with us! She’s driving me crazy, can someone let the dog out OH MY GOD.  Seriously stop fighting over that one innocuous toy and put your shoes on! Are you even listening to me? Louie I can’t carry you and put my coat on at the same time, I’m sorry.  Gross, you need your nose wiped, NO DON’T LICK IT! Yuck yuck yuck, where are the wipes?”

And so on.  And so on. 

It’s a familiar scene for many, I’m sure.  And some days are better than others, depending on how much sleep we got the night before, the Louie clingy factor (these days it is at about 175%), and Gus’s excitement level over the actual outing which of course determines the level at which he cooperates willingly. 

With this being our life, something ends up getting lost in the shuffle.  Like today.


We went sledding.  We had been talking about doing it this weekend, with the promise of such warm weather after weeks of below zero Minnesota winter hell, but yesterday didn’t work out.  Grocery shopping and cooking for a party I didn’t even want to go to won out over sledding with the kids.  I had mentioned it to my brother and parents on Friday, so when we decided we were going to actually for sure make it happen this morning, I gave them each a call.  Of course, by then it was 9:30 and we had tentative plans for the afternoon and there was lunch and Louie’s nap and we were all still in our pajamas, so cue the aforementioned chaos.  And also throw snow pants and mittens into the mix. 


My phone call with my mom went something like this, “Okay we are actually going to go, none of us are dressed, so it will be likely 45 minutes before we can get there, we are in get-out-the-door-mode, so I don’t have time to chat, but there’s your warning.  45 minutes if you want to go, okay, see ya, bye.  Okay, yeah.  Bye.”


It’s a bit of a blur. 


And then we make it to the sledding hill with only a few tears from a 2-year-old that just really hates wearing mittens, and we have an AMAZING TIME (it’s almost always worth it despite the stress of getting out of the house).



But my parents never come.  Ben and Michelle and their 10 month old show!  He is not so thrilled about the sledding but it is also his nap time. 


Still no grandma and grandpa.


(Louie is over it.)

Figured they just bailed.  My mom wasn’t feeling well, she works at 3:00 at the hospital, I understand.  Oh well.

Sure enough, its 11:30 when are walking in the door and she calls.  “Where are you guys, are you going soon, why haven’t you called?”


Of course I get a little snippy, say the wrong thing, “What do you mean, you’re kidding me right?  We’ve gone and are home again.  Two hours ago I told you 30-45 minutes! Why in the world were you waiting for me to call again? Do you know what my life is like getting out of the house for something like this?  I don’t have time to make a second call!”

Ugh.  Shut up Alicia.  She’s your mother.


Dropped another ball.  Never fails.  As much as I start to feel like I’ve got this down, embraced the chaos while still feeling somewhat in control, I screw up and hurt someone else’s feelings and act like my life is so hard.

It’s this place we’re in.  It’s sooooo all consuming, these little children.  This little life of ours.  I forget about or don’t pay attention to all of the others out there in completely different stages of their lives, but maybe just as difficult.  In different ways.  Some maybe not that difficult, but still, that doesn't make their time any less important to them.  It’s not all about me and my kids and I need to remember that.  Being a mom of small children IS hard, but so is being a grandma, so is having to work at a stressful job in a hospital, keeping people alive.  So is having one of your grown children 7 hours away, unable to even come home for Christmas. 

Just feeling like a jerk, and probably being way too hard on myself but still.  I hate dropping a ball.  


Lisa said...

Oh buddy, I feared that they were going to show up as you left. I definitely think you're being too hard on yourself. It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I'm sure your mother knows (or can imagine) what a feat it was for you and wasn't too phased, aside from missing sledding. And frankly, I think you're awesome about thinking of others. Really.

But I get it, in hindsight you wish you had reacted differently. That just shows you care. No one is perfect.

I am glad to hear that you and the kids had an amazing time sledding. The photos are adorable!

val said...

I understand because this is the exact same way I blow it and let people down-- preoccupied, distracted.

Hardly ever am I actually mean, but the hurtful things I do are more about oversights, inconsiderate moments, cluelessness.

Yeah, not everyone is being run in circles by wild babies, true. And they really do fragment our thought patterns terribly.

In the end, we love each other so damned much and are doing our best, and we're going to screw it up inevitably.

This misunderstanding, miscommunication, regrettable, nobody's particular fault, just life.

The grandma thing is a weird mixture of wanting to be involved and included and yet trying not to intrude or overstep. I never knew this about my mom or my mother in law or grandmas, but it's a tricky dance.

One dumb comment out the mouth of the mom or the mil can cause so much stinging pain and hurt, pssht, but we're also just moms bumbling along, hoping for the best.

Alicia, you and your mom are so close. Just tell her how much you love her and hate the misunderstanding. It's totally okay.

I love you all so, Val

Angela said...

I totally know what you mean buddy. Not about having the kids part, but the saying the wrong thing to your mom part, I'm all over that. You're being too hard on yourself :)