The ABC’s of Being a Working Mom

The ABC's of Being a Working Mom


The ABC’s of Being a Working Mom


A is for alarm clock. A maniacal task master that controls your life.

B is for bed, the place you want to be more than any where else but your children refuse to go!

C is for chauffeur. Between sports, band, karate, cub scouts, and piano lessons you will be schlepping your little darlings all over town for years.

D is for dinner, a meal that you have to cook every damn day because your husband refuses to eat Cheerios for dinner.

E is for energy, something you have very little of these days.

F is for Facebook. You are so busy managing your children’s schedules that this is the only form of communication you have anymore with anyone you don’t actually work with.

G is for garage. This is the place where you can’t park your car because it is filled with over sized toys, multiple bicycles, and sporting equipment.

H is for happy. It’s a crazy life, but really, you wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe just one or two things.

I is for iPhone. This is the small device that you use to control every aspect of your life. Loss of this object can result in uncontrolled panic and anxiety.

J is for juggle.  You have more balls in the air than Bozo the Clown but you are careful to not let any of them fall…ever.

K is for keys. Damn it, where did they go this time! I’m going to be late!!

L is for Lego. These little pieces of creative play will soon consume every room in your entire house and no matter how many you buy your child will still want more.

M is for milk. Seriously how can I buy four gallons a week and we still run out???

N is for nuthouse, which is your current residence, and you gave birth to your fellow inmates.

O is for occupation. Sure, it pays the bills as well as your child’s private piano lessons, but you are quite sure you would be a better mom if you didn’t have one. If not better than at least calmer.

P is for purse, and ever since you had kids you now only carry industrial sized ones to hold all the crap you need at any given moment.

Q is for quiet. This is something you long for but have not experienced since giving birth.

R is for run. This is what you do the minute your feet hit the floor and you don’t stop until the children are in bed for the night.

S is for sick. You can always count on one of your children waking up sick in the middle of the night on a day that you absolutely, positively can not miss work.

T is for toilet. This is the one place in your house where you can actually have ten minutes to surf the net on your phone and decompress. Sure, you pants are at your ankles and you lost sensation in your rear end five minutes ago, but the door has a lock so you aren’t getting up any time soon.

U is for uneventful. The best days now are the ones where you actually get to stay home all day wearing your pajamas and not putting on a bra.

V is for vodka. Sometimes you don’t even bother waiting for 5:00. There is no shame in admitting that.

W is for wrinkle cream. You suddenly find yourself slathering this stuff on your face every night.

X is for Xanax. These little magic pills keep the anxiety attacks away when work, school, and family obligations collide and your brain goes into maximum overdrive.

Y is for yo-yo, which is the perfect word to describe your ever changing emotions. Is it PMS? Menopause? The constant stress? Who knows, but you can go from happy as a clam to I’ll rip your face off in 0.6 seconds with just one flippant remark from your teenager.

Z is for Zoloft. When Xanax isn’t enough your gynecologist will write you a script for these.
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There’s a Flea on Me!

There's a Flea on Me!

There is a flea on me and there are two on you. No, this is not the opening of a Dr. Seuss story; this is me trying to find a sense of humor in my tragic tale of woe.  Humorous is not how I would describe the past week of my life, however, more like grueling, nightmarish and let’s not forget itchy.

Those of you who follow me know that I teach in an impoverished school district. Over the years I have had students plagued with fleas, cockroaches, ringworm, pink-eye, and in the last few years bedbugs.  Praise god, I have managed to keep things that crawl out of my house and even avoided catching ringworm.  Pink eye I have succumbed to more than once and while I hate it, at least the treatment is just a bottle of drops, a couple of days and done.

My run of good luck ran out, though, last week. It was a Wednesday night when my husband came to me and showed me that he had an itchy rash on his feet and legs.  If there is one thing I have learned from being a mom over the last decade and a half from countless pediatricians and general practitioners is that rashes are usually no big deal.  As long as its not chicken pox or shingles you are usually just fine.  My youngest son, as well as my self, suffers from “contact dermatitis” all the time.  Basically we touch stuff and have allergic reactions that go away in two to three days.  This was the driving force behind my switching to household products as well as buying my giant jugs of ECOS laundry detergent from Costco.

So, as I was saying, when my husband showed me his rash I sort of shrugged it off. Friday night while watching an episode of Bones that I had recorded I started scratching my own ankles and noticed that I had developed a rash just like my husbands.  Okay, so something was up.  I thought about my laundry and remembered that I had washed one load of clothes with Tide Free and Clear.  AJ had managed to get the bottom hem of his good khaki pants caught in his bike chain and I knew ECOS probably wouldn’t be able to get the black grease out of his pants so I used the Tide that I kept on hand for just such an emergency.  Because I only wash large loads odds were high that some of mine and Bill’s socks were mixed in the load.  So there, the mystery was solved.

Saturday night rolled around and while I was reading a book I noticed that there was a little black bug on my white robe that I was wearing. There was nothing remarkable about the bug.  It looked like a gnat.  I shooed it off and went back to reading.  In the back of my mind, however, thoughts were stirring.

Sunday night was the clincher. It was 10:00 pm and I was in bed reading.  I looked to the side when something moved on my white sheets.  There was another little black bug.  When I reached for it…it jumped!!!  I was freaking out but I held perfectly still and stared at my white sheets with serious concentration.  There was another one, and another one, and holy shit there were six fleas on my sheets!  SIX!!!

“BILL!” I screamed, and I do mean I screamed. I am still shocked the boys slept through that.  He came running in the room yelling, “What?  What’s wrong?”

“WE HAVE FLEAS!” At this point I had already jumped out of bed and was pulling back the covers to expose all of the white sheets.  Sure enough, we had fleas.  I looked at my feet, which were now planted on the carpeting and there was a flea on my foot.  There was a flea on Bill’s foot.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” I just kept saying.

Bill, always the voice of reason, tried to calm me down. “Okay, it’s late too to do anything about it now.  We’ll tackle this in the morning.”

“Oh no we won’t. Meijer is open 24 hours a day.”  In less than a minute I was dressed and grabbing my keys.

At Meijer I was overwhelmed by your flea removal options. There were powders, sprays, Fabreeze versions, and then The Bomb.  Being as this was my first infestation (and it better damn well be my last) I didn’t know what to buy, so I bought one of everything, except The Bomb.  Before heading to the check out lane I ran down the cookie isle and grabbed two packs of Keebler Fudge Grahams.  If ever there was a moment when chocolate was allowable due to extreme stress this was it.

$64 dollars later I was back at the house and reading the labels on all of the different bottles I had purchased. As Bill and I read it became abundantly clear that we couldn’t actually do anything about our situation until the next day.  Every single bottle said the same thing, that after spraying the contents you needed to leave the area for at least two hours.  The boys were already sleeping.  It was a school night.  There was nothing to do but wait.

I called and cancelled the nanny for the next day and put in for a substitute teacher. I would take the day off of work and tackle the problem head on.

That night I did not sleep. Seriously, not one wink.  First, I refused to go in the bedroom.  It just was not going to happen.  So I stayed up all night in the living room with the lights on so I could quickly knock off any little critter that tried to suck my blood.  It was a long damn night and by the time morning rolled around and I needed to get the boys off to school I had bags on top of the bags under my eyes.

The war began at 9:15 am. I dropped Casey off at school and Googled “how do you get rid of fleas.”  The fast responses were to spray and wash everything.  Every blanket, pillow, sheet, towel, and item of clothing had to be washed in hot water and dried in the dryer to kill live fleas as well as eggs.

Since I knew I had a ton of work to do I decided to tackle the problem one room at a time so I could avoid leaving the house. I pulled all bedding, clothes, and linens into the garage, which connects to the laundry room and got started with the first load.  Then I sprayed the bedrooms, and I mean I sprayed the holy hell out of them, as well as the bathrooms.  While I waited for 2 ½ hours to pass I did multiple loads of laundry.  Because we have hard wood floors I put all the clean stuff in baskets on the kitchen floor.

Finally I vacuumed the bedrooms as instructed (and got totally light headed in the process). I spent no less than 30 minutes in each room vacuuming the same spots endlessly as well as all baseboards.  I only stopped long enough to rotate the loads of laundry.

Next it was time for the living room. We only have an area rug but I knew I also needed to spray the sofas.  I had at it.  I sprayed and sprayed.  This time I really did have to leave the house so I didn’t accidentally kill myself on flea spray fumes.

I spent two hours running a few errands. I bought new hair brushes and a few other things since I actually threw mine away, not willing to take any chances!  When time was up I went home and continued my war of laundry and vacuuming.

Bill and the boys came home and he cooked the Costco pizza I grabbed while out. Then Bill helped with returning clean laundry to cleaned bedrooms.  It was 9 pm when I finally called it a night.  I ached in every bone of my body.  I was beyond exhausted.  I climbed into bed to relax for a few minutes in front of the television before turning in.  As I sat there I looked down to see two fleas on my bare legs.  This time I didn’t scream.  I didn’t even shoo them off.  I just broke down crying, a deep, heaving, hiccupping cry…ugly face and all.  AJ came into my room and a second later so did Bill.

I pointed at my legs and said, “It didn’t work. All that work I did and they are still here.  I can’t take another day off of work to fight fleas.”  Bill used toilet paper to get the fleas off my legs and flushed them down the toilet.

We dug out an old bottle of Deep Woods Off! and sprayed ourselves along with all the bedding and went to bed.

The next day the nanny showed up and showed us her flea bites, two of which were infected from scratching. She also informed us that if fleas showed up in her house we would be paying for her professional extermination.  Then she said she quit until next week, after we had it under control.

To say my world had turned into a hell would be an understatement. Bill and I took turns missing work, and Bill went ahead the next day and Bombed the house with the big one.  I came home from work and once again started washing every single piece of fabric in the house.  We threw our enormous Land’s End Goose Down Quilt in the trash.  It was too big to wash and I just knew it would be filled with eggs and larva.

Even after the bomb we still saw the occasional flea. I continued to throw down a little spray in the bedrooms and shut the doors so the poison could work.  I vacuumed for an hour every day to suck up dead fleas and eggs.  Further Google searches taught us that even with all the work we did there would still be eggs that survived the Bomb and the vacuum so it was recommended that we re-Bomb in three weeks!

Today is the second day that I haven’t seen a flea, but I am not stupid. I know that somewhere there is still a few around.  I will continue to vacuum and we plan to Bomb the house again in two weeks.

A trick I did learn during this week of misery was to spray a deet based product like Off! or Repel on just your feet and ankles. Fleas are mostly in the carpets and feet=food for a flea.  Plus, a few sprays of deet on the foot of the bed and on the blanket near the foot will keep them off your bed while you sleep during the night.

I seriously pray none of you have had a flea infestation and I apologize to those of you who are now scratching at invisible bugs or any cases of the willies I may have caused.

If you have a great tip for fighting fleas PLEASE share it below.

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When Mom is Temporarily Broken

When Mom is Temporarily Broken

I have often joked that if I were a horse I would have been shot or put out to pasture years ago.  Luckily for me I’m not a horse.  I have rheumatoid arthriti.  I have had it for 22 years in fact. I have been fortunate to have good health insurance and receive the best treatments available.  Most of the time my disease is in remission, with just an occasional flair up.  Still, even when the inflammation and disease is under control often it is the other stuff that really takes its toll on me.

The chronic fatigue is the worst.  Sometimes no matter how much sleep I get it doesn’t matter.  Exercise helps, some, but there are times when doing exercise is really hard because even though my RA is well controlled, the osteoporosis in my feet and knees from two decades of disease is permanent and that pain almost never goes away.  I have had multiple surgeries on my foot trying to piece the bones back together.  This summer I will likely have my first knee surgery.  Sometimes I feel like Humpty Dumpty.

Then there are all those lovely side effects from the meds that allow me to live.  Most days I go about my life and I can almost be oblivious to what is happening inside my body.  You would be amazed what you can get used to and even learn to ignore when it becomes your daily version of normal.

Then there are days like today.  Today is not a good day.  Everything hurts just a little bit worse than usual.  My neck is stiff.  I can feel the heat of the inflammation on my upper back and in my shoulders.  Add to this a lovely headache with a topsy turvy stomach and it makes for a rather unpleasant day.

On a day like today I don’t want to cook.  On a day like today I don’t want to clean.  On a day like today I don’t want to play Uno with AJ when he asks me or read Jigsaw Jones to Casey when he asks.  On a day like today the children have learned that Mommy is temporarily broken and my body just needs some time to fix itself.  AJ is pretty understanding on days like today.  At thirteen he understands that sometimes I have limitations as well as good and bad days.  Its harder for Casey.  At six he doesn’t get why I was able to play with him yesterday but not today when I look just the same.  He doesn’t understand that sometimes a person can be sick on the inside and not look sick on the outside…but he is learning.

Luckily for me my husband picks up the slack and loves to play with the boys.  Still, it is a little sad to watch them all hop on bikes and go for a ride when I haven’t been able to ride a bike for at least a decade.  The boys will ask me to sled down the big hill and I would love to, but I don’t dare.  A wipe out for me isn’t just a laughing matter.  A wipe out for me can mean months of PT or some other serious injury.

Still, I know there are so many people in this world who are so much worse off than I am.  I try hard to focus on my blessings.  I am still able to walk and go about daily life most days, I’m not dying anytime soon (God willing), and they are always improving medical advancements that just might put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.

So today I will let the boys play a few extra video games to keep them busy, microwave a somewhat healthy lunch for them (they made their own cereal for breakfast), and try to take it easy so my body do whatever it is it needs to do to feel better.  But tomorrow?  Tomorrow I will play Uno with AJ and read the next couple of chapter of Jigsaw Jones to Casey. Tomorrow I will stand at the top of the hill and cheer my boys on as they slide down at break neck speeds, because life goes on.

Sometimes I am a Shitty Mom

Sometimes I am a Shitty Mom

I love my kids. They are the world to me. I snap pictures of all their big moments, I read bedtime stories and help with homework daily, and I like to cook things that I know will make them happy.

I try hard to be a good mom, but the truth is I am human. I occasionally just screw up. Plus I admit there are some traditional mommy things that I just don’t do and don’t give a crap about.

• I do not keep my kids’ artwork. I “ooh and ah” when they bring it home. I hang it on the wall for a week or so and then after that when they go to sleep I pitch it into the recycling bin. Sure there are a couple of special things that I have tucked away, but mostly it all goes bye-bye.

• I never kept my children’s baby teeth. I’m sorry, I know lots of moms do but honestly I think that it is creepy! I do have in their baby books an envelope with a snip of hair from their first hair cut but that’s it.

• I always forget to take my kids to the birthday parties they get invited to. We buy a present, wrap it, and then miss the really awesome party at whatever location the parent paid big bucks to rent.

• After a year of unsuccessful potty training for my first born I took drastic action. He mastered peeing in the potty in three days flat. Then spent the next year hiding so he could poop his pants. Preschool was two weeks away. I was desperate. I fed my kid chocolate laxatives so he wouldn’t be able to hold it and have no choice but to poop in the potty. For the record it worked. After 24 hours he never crapped his pants again.

• I really don’t like “playing” with my kids. I’ll help them build a fort in the living room, I’ll help assemble a Lego set, I’ll even let them play with play dough, but I have no desire to join in the fun.

• I don’t feel any guilt for having not breast fed my kids. In fact, I was secretly grateful I couldn’t do it for medical reasons because it meant my husband was able to rotate night feedings with me!

• I swear…often. Not shockingly, so does my kid. A typical conversation in my house. Teen: “Mom, I don’t want to eat this. It tastes like shit.” Me: “Hey, stop cussing.” Teen: “But you do it all the time.” Me: “That’s because I am a grown up. When you turn 18 you can cuss as much as you want, until then, knock it off!”

• I have been known to “accidentally” break or lose toys that are exceptionally annoying.

• I have mastered the art of staring right into my kid’s face and going “uh huh, yeah, oh wow,” and not actually listen to a word they are saying because I have mentally checked out for the day.

• I yell at my kids. I don’t necessarily like the fact that I yell at them, but sometimes I am at the end of my rope and something’s gotta give. Usually at that moment it ends up being my temper and I let it fly, right out of my mouth.

• I wrote a blog describing my son’s crooked penis. That alone will cost me thousands in therapy bills one day.

• I have given up the battle of making my child dress for the weather. After years of arguing on this issue I have decided that if my teenager wants to go to school in a blizzard with minus zero wind chills in sneakers and a hoodie, so be it! I figure a few times freezing his ass off will teach him better than my nagging him can.

• I use the TV and the Wii as a babysitter. I’m sorry but sometimes I have a ton of stuff that HAS to get done. Trying to get work done with two kids under foot is as productive as trying to remove sand from a beach one grain at a time.

• I once forgot to pick my little one up at the bus stop. Luckily the bus driver took him back to the school. He had been at the school for thirty minutes by the time I realized I had forgotten him.

• During cold weather I have been known to let my kid go 4 to 5 days without remembering to give him a bath. In the summer it is easy to remember he needs a bath each night when you can see the rolls of dirt around his limbs. But in the winter I honestly just forget. I mean, he doesn’t look dirty and he doesn’t smell, so it’s good…right?

Feel the need to confess some of your shitty mom moments. Feel free to add them to the comments below.

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An Explanation for Why I am So Cranky

So Cranky

Those of you who follow my blog or my FB page have known for a while that I have a tough group of students even though they are only second graders.  Still, I think many may think to them selves, ‘Please, how bad can it be?  They are just little kids.  Stop being such a baby.”

To those people I present for your entertainment today the following.  To my own boys who don’t understand why mom is so exhausted when I come home from work every day now you will know.  To my students who always wonder why Ms. Bietler is so cranky by the time 1 o’clock rolls around, now you will know.

A couple of weeks ago I got hurt at work when I fell up the stairs.  No, that is not a typo, yes I fell UP the stairs.  That is what happens when a second grader grabs your butt to get your attention.  Anyway, I ended up pulling a groin muscle.  Yes, women do have groin muscles.  I had to google it to prove it to my husband who was quite sure I was wrong.  The next day I was in a considerable amount of pain and had to call in a sub.  When I hobbled into work the following day this note was left on my desk along with a stack of notes from the students.

Because I don’t want to get sued or lose my job all the names have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent.

“Dear Ms. Bietler,

 To put it mildly, Wednesday was a complete disaster.  The principal had to come by several times.  The only students who were not rude, disrespectful, or talk incessantly were Ben, Darnell, and Hassan.  Nina and Celia were okay, too.

 The only thing that the class did that did not involve pleading, cajoling, and yelling on my part was write letters to you saying how bad the class acted in your absence.

 Natasha was profane and bullying, and she refused to stop touching her classmates or taking their belongings.  She was sent to the office.  After she returned from the office she yelled out loud that she was going to, “Sock Ma’Kayla right in her face.”

 I could not at any point get more than half the class to pay attention for any given period of time.  Unfortunately this resulted in your class accomplishing absolutely nothing.  For this I sincerely apologize.  I simply could not get the class to cooperate.  I feel I must tell you now that I will not sub in your room in the future.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me at (555) 555-5555 (yes that is a fake number).

 Kind regards,

Jack Dixon”

In a year and a half (I taught these kids as first graders and looped with them to second) I have had FIVE subs inform me that they will never sub in my room ever again.  Perhaps it was the pain meds or I finally broke from reality, but after reading this note I was roaring with laughter.  The only thing that cracked me up more than poor Mr. Dixon’s note to me were the notes the children all wrote tattling on each other.  They were simply priceless.

Derl Ms. Bietler

Sadie was bad wen the sub told her to be good.  She sed him the B word and then she punch Ben.  Pleas come back.


 Dear Ms. Bitler

 I was being good but the teacher think I was bad.  Natasha was bad and the techer afto wait and wait.  Sadie was bad too.  The teacher (sub) yell at us and averyone was playing but not me.  I was good reelly.


 Daer Ms. Bietler

 Everybody was being disobedient to the sub.  They wasen’t lisening and they was pushing and shuving in the line.  They was so bad definly Natasha.


Der Mis Bietler,

 Everybody was be bad.  Sadie was soy very bad.  I was gud and everyone else was flippant.


 Der Ms. Blfters

 We was bad with the techer.  We will be good wen he comes back.  We will say that we are sorre and we was flippant and rude and we are sorre wen he comes back.  I don’t think he is coming back.  He said so.


dead teacher

The substitute must have told the class to stop being flippant because that word came up in several of their notes to me and I have never used that one but might just start now.

So now you know why I am so tired and cranky and why last year I had to start taking Zoloft!  I literally told my doctor to give me something to calm my nerves or that I was going to be a raging alcoholic by the end of the school year.


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Tired Working Mommy Confessions

Mommy Confessions

I try hard to be a good mom.  I help with homework, prepare healthy meals, buy wholesome foods, read bedtime stories, and maintain a relatively clean home.  However, working full time and having two kids, there just isn’t enough time in the day and some days I just don’t have the energy or desire to be Alpha Mom.  Therefore, there are some things I must confess.  They say confession is good for the soul.  I don’t know about that, but here goes.

*Sometimes when my youngest asks me to play with him I’ll say I have to go poop just so I can read my kindle or a new magazine in peace for a few minutes.

*While hiding in the bathroom I secretly hope he will get distracted and forget that he asked me to play.

*I am guilty of kicking toys under the sofa because I don’t feel like bending over, picking it up, and then putting it away.

*I have named the giant dust bunny behind the entertain unit Clyde.  It is easier to pretend he is part of the family than pull the thing away from the wall and vacuum.  After all, can anything called a bunny really be that bad?

*If a cookie falls on the floor I will pick it up, blow it off, and eat it.  Go ahead, judge me, see if I care.

*I have given up on trying to make my oldest son dress for the weather.  If he wants to wear a hoodie when it is 35 degrees and raining outside then so be it.  Maybe a few days of freezing his butt off while soaking wet will teach him that being warm is better than being cool.

*When I run out of socks I go in my hubby’s drawer and take his.  His are thicker, warmer, and softer than mine anyways.  Sorry, honey.

*I hate most vegetables and will not force my kids to eat them.  We just double up on the fruit.

*When my kids bring home art projects from school I “ooh and ah” and stick them on the wall.  Then when they go to bed I toss it in the trash.  The next morning they don’t even notice it isn’t there anymore.

*I have treats hidden in the house that I don’t share with the kids.

*I hate the fact that my youngest is now reading well enough to know when I am rushing through a bedtime story and calls me out on it.

*My son is supposed to practice his trumpet for a half an hour a day.  Most days he doesn’t do it but I still sign the form that says he did.  I hate listening to him practice the trumpet.

*I have watched episodes of Super Nanny because I feel better about myself afterwards.

*I have actually gone to the hairdresser to get my hair done just because I was too tired to wash and dry my own hair.  Yes, I have actually been that tired as a mom.

*I long to take a child-free vacation.  There is nothing relaxing about vacationing with kids.  It’s still full time parenting, but now you don’t even have the comforts of home.

*If clothing has been worn but doesn’t stink or has no visible stains on it, I put it back in the closet.  I do enough laundry in a week!  (This rule does not apply to underwear.)

*I once deliberately left the new roll of toilet paper on the floor to see how long it would take before someone else would put the new one up.  After 4 days of waiting I finally changed it myself.

*I sometimes dream of pulling my car over to the side of the road and kicking my teenager out of the car when he is acting like a drama queen.  I am afraid that one of these days I may actually do it!

*When there aren’t enough leftovers for everyone I will serve the kids and my husband and eat a bowl of Cheerios for dinner for myself just so I don’t have to cook!

*When I do get a rare night away from the kids, which is like four to five times a year, I don’t miss my kids, not one little bit.  I’m also happy to come home and know they are already asleep and I don’t have to put them to bed.

*I usually say the words “what the fuck” under my breathe about 20-30 times a day.

What guilty, or not so guilty, confessions do you have to share?

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Warning Signs That You are Becoming a Sleep Deprived Mombie

Mombie Post

Everyone talks about how new parents are sleep deprived because of night time feedings, and that is true.  But just because the baby starts sleeping through the night doesn’t mean your sleep deprivation days are over.

indentify a Mombie

If you are a mom of multiple kids or a mom who is also working a full time job while raising kids and maintaining a home, sleep deprivation is going to be with you for the next several decades!

There will never be enough hours in the day so you stay up longer to get things done, wake up earlier to get a jump on the day, and spend nights tossing and turning because your brain keeps reminding you of all the stuff you forgot to do the day before.


Here is a list of warning signs that you are rapidly turning into a sleep deprived Mombie!

  1. Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.  There is no such thing as enough or too much.  Whether is it Starbucks, Earl Grey, Coke, or Redbull, you have found a source that works for you and now consume so much of it that your blood type is now C positive.
  1. In the morning when your alarm clock goes off you experience the five stages of grief, all in under two minutes.
  1. In the car on the way to work you have the radio on full blast to help you avoid nodding off behind the wheel.
  1. When you pull into the parking lot at work you have no memory of actually driving there and wonder how the hell you made it.
  1. At work you realize that getting ready in the morning you put on two different colored socks and just shrug your shoulders.  At this point they should be glad you are even there.
  1. You forget to do the really important stuff, like look at you’re your day planner, your to do list, and the humongous calendar on the fridge that was to remind you that your kids have no school and you needed to arrange for day care.
  1. You lose things you were holding in your hands just five seconds ago.
  1. You are forever putting things in the wrong place; cell phone in the fridge, keys in the mail box, etc.
  1. The refrigerator is full of 5 Hour Energy.
  1. Your purse has several bottles of 5 Hour Energy.
  1. Your desk drawer has several bottles of 5 Hour Energy.
  1. You are moodier than a teenage drama queen who just found out that her BFF slept with her boyfriend.
  1. You no longer call your kids or coworkers by the right name anymore.  You know their name, its right on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t get it out. You finally settle on just saying, “Hey you.”
  1. All your clothes are getting tight because of the extra food you consume to over compensate for your lack of energy.
  1. You walk into a room and immediately forget why you went in there.
  1. Commercials and certain songs suddenly make you bust out into tears.
  1. While cooking dinner or folding laundry you feel so exhausted you start crying.
  1. You have stopped answering your phone because you are in no mood to deal with actual people.  If it is really important they can just text you.
  1. You are tempted to smother your husband with a pillow when he starts snoring in the middle of the night.
  1. You have memorized all the squeaky spots on the floor when you finally give up and go to sleep on the sofa so at least you won’t wake the children.
  1. Your every thought, fantasy, and day dream is about running away to a hotel for a couple of days just to sleep without interruption for as long as you  want.

If you or someone you know are suffering from five or more of these symptoms it is highly advised mass quantities of wine are drunken immediately and the sufferer be allowed to pass out for at least eight solid hours.  This recovery process may need to be repeated for several nights in a row.

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A Tired Mommy’s Prayer for Sleep

Prayer for Sleep

The dinner dishes are cleared and the dishwasher is humming.  Homework is completed and the children are playing.  I look at the clock that hangs on the wall.  It is 6 pm.  Only two hours until the children go to bed and I can have some peace and quiet.  A small window of time for a hard working, tired mommy to sit in the sofa and fold the basket of laundry while catching a few minutes of SupernaturalDamn, that Jensen Ackles is a hubba hubba!

The clock continues to tick by.  I count down the minutes until I can rest my exhausted head on my squishy soft pillow.  “Dear Lord, let them sleep…please Lord let ME sleep,” I whisper under my breath.

The laundry folded and put away, the last pile of papers has been graded and shoved back into my school bag, and the preview for next week’s episode of Supernatural is over.  Thank God it is finally time for bed.

I slip between my sheets and let out a sigh.  I hope he isn’t in the mood because I am too tired.  I hope I won’t need to use the bathroom tonight.  I haven’t had anything to drink since dinner just to make sure.

After kissing the hubby goodnight, I roll over and close my eyes.  Suddenly I remember that tomorrow we are starting the Science Unit on plants and that I forgot to make the student response journals.  I’ll have to do that as soon as I get there in the morning.  Oh, and I need to sign AJ’s permission slipShoot, I should have done that tonight.  Soon, exhaustion quiets my over active mommy brain and around 10:30 sleep finally comes.

Casey, my five-year-old, comes in the room at 11 o’clock.  He is thirsty.  His throat is dry and he needs water now.  I take him into the kitchen and give him a tiny bit.  He downs it and asks for more.  I give him a second cup and then escort him back to bed, tuck him in and give him another kiss goodnight.

Luckily it is still early.  I have time for tons of sleep…right?

Warm and cozy, not wanting to get up, my bladder wakes me demanding attention.  Ever since the second baby not only do I cross my legs to cough and sneeze, I pee every hour during the day and at least once during the night.  I climb out of bed, run to the bathroom then hurry back.  I know I shouldn’t, but I look at the clock.  It is 1:32.  Okay, if I fall asleep right away I should be able to get three and a half more hours of sleep.

I lay there and lay there and lay there some more.  I am still awake when AJ, my twelve-year-old, gets up to use the bathroom at 2:24.  BAM!  Surprise, he slammed the toilet seat…again.  At least he remembered to flush.  Okay Lord, if you let me fall asleep right now, I will still be able to get two and a half hours.  Please God, I really need some sleep.

Miraculously I nod off, but then wake with a start.  Something is wrong.  Crying?  Oh, Casey is crying.  I hop out of bed and find Casey running back and forth in the living room doing a sleep walk version of the potty dance.  I grab him because I know he is going to pee any second but because he is still asleep he can’t find the bathroom.  I yank his pajama bottoms down to his ankles and position him in front of the toilet.  He all but sighs with relief as he answers the call of nature.  For the second time in one night I take him back to his room.  This time I toss a blanket over him and skip giving him another kiss.  I am just too tired and besides he is already asleep.  I go in my room and notice that it is 3:15 am.

“God, when I said I needed sleep I meant more than 20 minutes worth,” I grumble.  Apparently one should not grumble at God.  He has a way of getting the last laugh.  Five minutes later my husband begins to snore, quietly at first, which I try to ignore, but soon the whole room is rumbling with his inhales and exhales.  Resisting the urge to smother him with a pillow, I elbow him in the side and he rolls over.

God, if you let me fall asleep now I can still get an hour and a half.  Please, just 90 minutes of real sleep.  You know, that stuff they call REM.  Pretty please!

I lay there for a while, hoping to nod off soon, and I think I am just about to, when suddenly Bella, the cat, begins to cry for food and affection.  I try desperately to ignore her.  She knows I am ignoring her, so Bella starts to paw at the door.  “Scrape, scrape, meow.  Scrape, scrape, meow.”

I get out of bed, grab a pillow and throw it out the door at the cat.  It is 4:30 in the freaking morning.  Now when I climb back into bed I am angry.  So angry in fact that sleep is out of the question. I begin to think about all the stuff I have to do today; run off those science papers, get the new grades into the computer, run to the market after work, and cook a super fast dinner because Casey has Cub Scouts.

The alarm clock goes off at 5:00 sharp.  I hit the clock a little harder than necessary and let out a yawn.  I look up at the ceiling and, before I get out of bed to go chug two bottles of 5 Hour Energy and load up on caffeine, I decide to flip God a double middle finger.  I know it is wrong, and I will ask for forgiveness later, but right now I am tired, cranky, and honestly, he had it coming.

What No One Tells a New Parent

Casey Scream

There are parts of being a parent that is really rewarding. It is magical to see your child take that first step, sleep through the night, ride a bicycle without training wheels, give you a hug and a kiss each morning and another one just before bed. I love the smell of my kids’ right after a bath and breathe in that Johnson & Johnson smell as I give them a big squeeze. I can watch them run around outside in the sprinkler for hours.

Then there are the parts of parenthood that are shall we say, less rewarding. All new parents think the first year is the hardest. They are sleep deprived. They clean poop daily. The baby cries. Diapers cost a fortune. New parents are in for a rude awakening once that first birthday comes and goes.

There are two really big lies that are told to new parents. The first is that it will get easier as the baby gets older. It just isn’t true! The baby stage is the easiest part of parenthood. Sure, they puke on you, wake up multiple times during the night, and generate so much laundry that the laws of physics must be broken. Even with all that the baby stage is still the easiest. Babies stay where you put them. They don’t break things. They don’t demand that you give them mac and cheese for lunch eight days in a row like toddlers. You think a colicky baby is loud, wait till you have a toddler or a preschooler who gets told “no” while shopping in Target, or told it is time to go home after doing something fun like playing in the mall or sledding.

Plus, babies are still wearing diapers. Sure diapers are expensive if you go the disposable route, but it is even worse when you are away from home and your just recently potty trained child announces that they need to use the bathroom right now. Toddlers and preschoolers never give you a five minute warning. One minute they are fine, the next they are doing the potty dance and you are running around like a mad person trying to find a toilet.

So now you’re thinking it gets easier when they start school. Think again! With school comes homework, band concerts, holiday performances, fighting with friends, and juggling multiple birthday parties (Although I am famous for messing up the dates and going to the wrong party at the wrong time…twice!) Also add in piano practice, t-ball practice, t-ball games, and karate lessons. Not only does all this stuff keep you trapped in your car driving back and forth like a maniac, but it also costs a bloody fortune!! Yet, if you live in the suburbs and your kid isn’t part of some sport, some artistic or musical endeavor, or at least in boy scouts or girl scouts you are labeled a lazy parent.


Surely it gets easier when they are in middle school. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Sorry, let me catch my breath. Living with a middle schooler is like living with someone suffering from split personality disorder. On the one hand they are a “big kid” now and no longer need you to do things for them. On the other hand they are still “just a kid” and want you to do everything for them. The problem is you can only help them when they want you too, or you will start an argument and your tween or teen will turn into the anti-christ. But how do you know when they want you to help them?? If someone has figured out the answer to this question please feel free to share it with me because I am at a loss. The only time I know for sure my middle schooler wants my help is when he has homework, but then he tells me I am doing it wrong. I am a teacher!! You would think I would know how to help my child with his homework but not according to him.

The next big lie is that two kids are easier than one. I admit, when I had one little boy it was my job to play with him and entertain him. Now that I have two boys it is my job to keep them from killing each other. It’s not that they don’t like each other. They actually love each other a lot. But boys live to wrestle, jump down as many stairs as possible, climb trees as high as possible, and encourage each other to come within an inch of killing themselves. This year my oldest broke his nose from a tree and right now the youngest is sporting about 30 bruises on his legs. You ask him how he got them and he will tell you he doesn’t know. Last year the big one put the little one in a big cardboard box and was just about to push the box down a flight of stairs when I walked in the room and screamed! Both boys looked at me like I was the crazy person in the house.

up a tree

Also, with two children you get jealousy, competition, and five times the volume. Yes, I said fives times. You would think two kids would just be twice as loud but kid noise works on a level similar to the earthquake Richter scale. The volume goes up exponentially with the addition of each kid.

So my message to all new parents is to stock up on ear plugs, buy lots of band-aids, take a course or two to refresh your memory of all that homework stuff you forgot years ago, and learn to enjoy those good moments, and even the bad ones, because it is the bad moments you will laugh your ass off over as you retell them to friends while sharing a bottle of wine.
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