Saturday, June 5, 2010

Help Me, I'm Being Run Over By A Steam Roller!

Photo Credit: Mary Leunig, Australian Cartoonist

It is coming up to Week 8 of the school term. That means 4 more solid weeks of the usual routine, then holidays. From where I stand, the next four weeks seems like an eternity.

Did I ever mention that sometimes I feel like I'm on a treadmill and I can't get off?

I love being a mom. But I DO NOT love having to run the kids' life during school time. I know that some people love being in a routine. I guess it gives life a certain predictability. I am NOT a routine-loving person. I just do it because it's the responsible way to be when other family members are depending on you.

6.15am (early wakeup, on Band rehearsal days)

7am Wake up (normal get up time)

7.05 listen to monologue from H. the teenage early-bird

7.15 make oatmeal

7.30 make sure J is up (my little late-bird)

7.35 clean up cat spew off the carpet

7.45 have coffee with husband

7.50 remind kids to get dressed/do their chores/have breakfast/brush teeth

8am Make lunches, including 2 pieces of fruit per person and large salad for husband

8.20 Sign permission notes for school/find $2 contribution for this and that

8.30 Kiss everyone good bye

8.35 Have another cup of coffee

8.40 Run the washing machine

8.45 Go around the house turning off appliances and heaters that have been left on

I should just make a recording which comes on at about 8am, with randomized phrases. "Brush your teeth, little man." "I'm sure you have some jobs to do, right?" "If I have to ask for your lunchbox, there will be trouble." "If you left it to the last minute, don't expect me to do it for you now."

When they were smaller I actually used to stand at the front door saying (in a robot voice), "Get your shoes on. Get your shoes on. Get your shoes on. Get your shoes on."

"Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car."

They hated it, but it made them laugh. And scurry to do what they were asked, so 'robot-mom' would stop the terrible voice.

In the evenings, the routine is:

3-6pm I teach music students. (Some of them are so young they can hardly keep still on their chair. But somehow they manage to learn.) In the breaks I hang out with the family and make sure everyone's doing their chores or homework. Solve any problems.

6pm I start dinner. Turn on the oven, prep the veges. Brown the meat. Whatever.

7pm Serve up dinner. It's always: hot, tasty, nutritious, and has 5 veges which in my house are NOT optional. (The ones you dont like, you eat first just to get it over with.)

Sometimes I love cooking. I get inspired, I throw together some ingredients, a few herbs which may be stolen from other people's hedges, and Bingo! A masterpiece is born.

But on any pedestrian night of the week? I am bored. I plod. I could cut myself by accident because I fell asleep while prepping dinner.

But the family have NO CLUE. When they are eating, I can tell by the appreciative silence and the occasional ecstatic moan that my dinners are the absolute high point of their day.

"What kind of monster have I created here?"

7.30 Everyone cleans up

7.32 Robot Announcement, "Do not wrestle after dinner. Do not wrestle after dinner. Do not wrestle after dinner. Do not wrestle after dinner."

7.33 Robot Announcement, "Do those dishes. Do those dishes. Do those dishes."

8.01 I go downstairs and play my trumpet, which is my way of saying "I am off duty. Do your chores, or else there will be trouble."

8.45 I announce Bedtime. Check that all screens are turned off.

9 to 9.30pm Snuggle various people into their beds. Hear any last-minute stories/announcements/grumbles/anxieties.

9.35 Throw laundry into the dryer

9.36 Press GO on the dishwasher

9.37 Feed the cats. Repeatedly chase possums out the cat door.

9.38 Snuggle with my Hubby on the couch and wonder why I'm so exhausted.

Sometimes my life (which I, a consenting adult, chose for myself of my own free will) makes me feel like a steam-roller is going over me in slow motion.

You guys out there, do you ever feel like this???

I wanted a home. I wanted kids. I wanted a great Husband. I'm the one who made all this stuff happen.

But sometimes I want a break from it. Does that make sense in any way?

Where would I like to be? Anywhere but suburban Australia, and preferably in motion. Like, in a RV or long-distance train. Preferably somewhere scenic. With bucket-loads of fresh air.

What would I be eating? Anything but my own cooking

Who would I be with? My family, but maybe with a soundproof glass booth so the Hubby and I could see the kids and wave to them, but not hear them, while I sip an exotic cocktail

What would I be doing? Anything but laundry. Preferably craft, music, or writing. Interspersed with a bit horse-riding.


  1. Sounds like you need more than just your trumpet playing time. You need to get out with girlfriends or go to the library [for quiet and if you like to read :D]

    Do any of your kids cook? Can they prepare their own breakfast? Sometimes it is worth the price of toast to skip the oatmeal and let them do it themselves - trust me on this.

    And I found if they have to do their own laundry they have a tendency to wear less. ;D - but I am sure that is a few years yet.

    They may not do it perfect or the way you want, but they will try and at least it will be done and you get a break in the process :).

    Take care, I swear it does get easier as they get older. Promise. Love you!

  2. My dad had a saying for this: "I get up, go to work, go home and go to be, get up, go to work, go home, go to bed." Over and over and over. I think we all find the daily grind to be overwhelming. Now that I have a reprieve from caring for kids, it's my work that's as demanding as any 8 year old.

    I hope you can find a way to give your routine a little spice!

  3. I didn't realize until much after college that most moms did not stay in bed while their children, the oldest in 6th grade, got themselves off to school. Part of it was that we made our lunch the night before and had cereal for breakfast and rode our bikes to school so why did we need our mom; the other part was that my mom was depressed. In the 70s, who knew about depression and the drugs to treat it?

    But I turned out fine (shrugs) so I guess it was OK.

    As far as my routine, I do a lot of your stuff but without kids, so it is easier. A lot easier. It is, however, pretty boring. I wouldn't mind doing it someplace warmer and closer to my friends.

  4. Let me say from recent personal experience, when you take the first one to college and have to drive home, realizing they're on their on, you'll dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back for the years of nagging.

    Then you'll cry like a baby and want to turn around and get them and keep them safe for another 18 years.


  5. oh golly, nice to meet you and thanks for the visit :) As for your post here, I am reminded of the Talking Heads "well, how did I get here?"

  6. and in the wink of an eye they are all grown and on their own like mine. now i have to tell sarge, put on your shoes, put on your shoes, put on your shoes, button your shirt, button your shirt, button your shirt. sigh... it's like beading a necklace with no knot on the end honey. but it's life and i think it's grand! now pull up your big girl panties and smile!!!!! big hugs to you!

    smiles, bee