That kind of morning

white bowl

“I can’t be the only one who does everything around here!”

That was me screaming at no one in particular and everyone at once.

Apparently there was some weird and beautiful light this morning. I missed it because I was too busy yelling at my family.

It all started yesterday. Sometimes when my life is balanced on a teetering tower of Jenga blocks, I know it’s all my fault. At least I’m game to take the blame. I’m disorganized. I’m bad at time management. Maybe I decided to watch TV rather than make lunches and pick up toys all evening. The house is generally a disaster which can probably be tracked back to me somehow or other. I mean, sure, sometimes I will spend several hours cleaning and organizing the playroom, say, only to have the kids trash it before the day is over. And I don’t mean they left their toys out. I mean it looks like they drank a twenty-sixer of tequila, rocked out to a full house at the ACC and then came home to party out the remainder of a cocaine binge in the basement playroom. Only it looks a little worse than that.

But yesterday, man, I thought I was doing all right. I thought I’d done as good a job as I can ever reasonably be expected to do on a regular basis given the constraints of my very humanity. I helped two kids with their homework while entertaining a three-year-old, responding to email and cooking dinner. I then oversaw piano practice, creative play and read stories.

Next, since my husband still wasn’t home — shocker — I corralled everybody upstairs and into their pajamas. We brushed teeth, read stories, sang songs and little tots were carried back to bed a half dozen times.

Then (with the help of my husband who finally came home) I cleaned the kitchen and read all of three pages in a book before crashing for the night.

Not bad, Rebecca. It may have taken eight years, but you have finally got this day-to-day parenting stuff down.

Then somehow (while packing lunch and overseeing breakfast and orchestrating shoes into backpacks and rain boots on because it looks like rain and weren’t you supposed to leave those shoes at school anyway?) things started to unravel. Remember, I hadn’t yet had any coffee.

“Your math book, Colum. Where’s your math book?”

“No, the book we had as I sat at the dining room table last night and made sure you finished your work.”

“Where did it go?”

“Didn’t I TELL YOU to put it straight into your backpack?!”

Meanwhile my husband who has never in his life laid eyes on this math book is searching under stacks of paper where it could not possibly be. And I am doing my best to blame him for the fact that I am the only person in the house who has any knowledge of where anything goes or how anything works (which is only partially true, probably). It’s completely unfair for me to blame someone who is working out of the house five or more days a weeks for not knowing that I bought these items for school lunches which go in these containers that are half in the dishwasher and half in this drawer here because I reorganized again. And Colum’s school pants are in the dryer and Irene will just have to wear Mary’s socks today because I haven’t had a chance to do her laundry. That’s Irene’s homework there, no it’s not library day today and, what? Are you for real asking me if there’s hockey practice tonight when it’s the one thing you’re in charge of?

It’s totally not fair for me to blame my husband for not knowing the things that only I can know but must I have to know them all at the same time as soon as I wake up in the morning and WHERE IN THE HELL IS THAT MATH BOOK!?

Well, it’s gone. Might as well take that kid off the math and science track now. I spent a full 40 minutes AFTER they’d left for school looking for the damn workbook and I have no idea where it could have gone on the trip between the dining room table and his backpack at the back door, but I can only assume that we’ll never find it.

Luckily he’s good with languages.

So last night was a shit show

I only got half my Labour Day to do list completed. But that’s to be expected. The kids took forever going to sleep. That’s also to be expected. And the new lunch containers I bought are too big to fit in a standard lunch box. That one was a nice surprise.

BUT, I did find out that Mary’s first day of nursery school is today and not tomorrow which (given how much work I’ve put off until this week) is a saving grace for me.  I found a couple lunch bags that are stretchy enough to work. I even started packing school lunches by 10pm. A reasonable bedtime seemed to be within reach.

Bento school lunch

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Panic! Your last-minute guide to back-to-school

Summer is a season of contradictions for me. By May, I can barely wait for to indulge in lazy mornings and late nights with the kids. I entertain visions of far-flung picnics and afternoons at the pool. I imagine days whiled away at our neighbourhood park, an abundance of fresh local produce, and quick meals prepared on the bbq and enjoyed in the backyard.

I guess there is a little bit of that. But mostly it’s just chaos. I tried to save the cost of camp by keeping the kids home with me, figuring I’d lighten my work load and stay up late. Right. Throw a family wedding, my husband’s inconsistent work schedule and a couple getaways into the mix and I’ve barely been able to keep on top of laundry and meals, let alone work.

So, yeah, by mid-August I’m barely keeping up with the bare essentials of what I need to do, the kids have utterly trashed the place and I’m jonesing for that September routine so bad. Until the very last week when I suddenly fall prey to now-or-never-itis and plan a million day trips to try to salvage what’s left of the summer.

And now it’s Labour Day weekend and, if you’re anything like me, you suddenly realize you’ve done hardly anything to get ready for the school year. PANIC! No, don’t. It’s okay. You actually don’t have to start back-to-school shopping in July, despite what the advertisers tell you. It can be done in a day. And that day is tomorrow.

Here’s my plan.

School supplies: You can’t beat Staples for school and office supplies. They’ve got a huge variety of supplies at great prices and lots of everything. My kids don’t actually get a supply list until the first day of school and last year I was able to get everything on my son’s list at Staples for a very good price during the first week of school. So I’ll probably just wait until next week for these, but you can go ahead and buy yours tomorrow if that works for you.

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