Children in Carroll and Montgomery counties are nearing the end of their first week of school, and things are getting back into the school-year groove.
Summertime wreaks havoc on a family schedule with vacations and Bible School and playdates randomly popping up throughout the week. For a working mother like me, that disruption of schedule makes me anxious, seeming like nothing is within my control. (I don’t know if I should use mother and control in the same sentence.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not the Pinterest mom with a color-coordinated family calendar assigning every day, hour, and minute to some task or another. I am more of the I-know-where-my-child-is-going-today-if-we-could-just-be-on-time kind of mother.
My life is constantly hair-on-fire, although I work tirelessly to manage my time and to-do lists and limited time. Sometimes there is just too much to do in a single day, but I certainly try.
This year, my son, Dean, is in the first grade. Yes, he is now six-years-old -- going on 30. First grade means permanent record, as the administrator at my all-girl Catholic school used to drone on about. It means report cards and graded tests and Friday spelling tests, and it means tardy slips. Lord help us.
Mornings at the Ferguson house are chaotic. Dogs barking, the child whining, parents yelling and digging for notebooks and lunch boxes and clothes that have been ironed. Mornings in the Ferguson house is the bad combination of two overwhelmed parents just trying to get themselves dressed for work while trying to get their child out of bed, showered, and dressed without a national incident. We do breakfast in the car while I try to get us to school on time.
So far this school year, as I write this column, I’ve taken Dean to school four days, and we have been late three of those days. It might have been only a minute or two, but it’s late. And to me, that means parent fail!
No matter what we try to do to prevent this morning crunch, we haven’t been able to change our bad habits or spending five minutes too long drinking coffee or losing cell phones or tennis shoes or car keys.
I know Keith and I are not the only parents struggling every morning. I pass three different schools each morning, and I see many parents dropping their kids off at school -- wearing that tale-tell look of anxiety like they have been pushed to the very edge. We should probably form a support group of some kind.
Prior to having children, it took precisely one hour for me to wake and leave the house for work each day. I don’t know if I have just gotten slower in my old age or something or someone is slowing me down. Ehem…one adorable boy with curly blond hair, perhaps?
Dean is by no means a morning person. In fact, he would stay up until the wee hours of the morning if we let him. Most nights, it takes him hours to go to sleep after his endless trips to tell me something he forgot or exclamations that he is hungry or thirsty. His new thing is, “Mommy, I can’t sleep.”
Keith and I wrangle him back to bed and within a few minutes he reappears to inform me of something he “begot.” This activity goes on for hours.
In the morning, getting him out of the bed is unbearable with Dean acting like our waking him up should be reported to the police. He ends up pouting and refusing to wash himself, dry himself, brush his teeth, or comb his hair. He is just TOO TIRED for such activities, but he “begot” that he stayed up half the night trying to convince his father and me that one of his teeth is loose and negotiate how much money the tooth fairy is going to leave him.
I wonder often if our neighbors hear us as we go through our morning competition of who is loudest. I should probably prepare them an apology casserole.
So for you parents I see turning into the school drive on two wheels or picking up school work blowing across the parking lot from unzipped back packs or breathe a sigh of relief that you have the next seven hours of adult conversation, I feel your pain. I proudly welcome you into my tribe of other over-stressed, long-division-drunk, let-them-wear-what-ever-they-want peacemaking parents just trying to keep it out of the ditch.