Lower Expectations

My alarm went off at 6:15 this morning, but I was already awake. Lowell woke up at 5:15 when Scott got up for work, and never went back to sleep. I started today with a major sleep deficit, and that never makes for an easy time. I know this.

The night before, I swear, I tried to go to bed early, but I needed a long, hot bath. My muscles are aching constantly these days from the sheer physical act of taking care of a baby. I think all 6 week postpartum checkups should end with prescriptions for a full-body massage.

And then Lowell woke up more than he usually does, thus needing his diaper changed in the middle of the night, and all those minutes up with him added up to a night of no good sleep.

We got Kendall to school before the first bell rang at the disgustingly early time of 7:20 am. Meaning I managed to get Kendall dressed and his bag packed, then Leyna and Lowell tucked into the stroller for the brisk walk. Score one for the exhausted mother.

But then the rest of the day looked like this.

RealLifeWe were all tired and cranky. We spent much of the morning in our bed, Lowell nursing and dozing, but only happy if he was physically touching me WHILE in the laying down position. Leyna watched Lalaloopsy on repeat. I gave no fucks.

I gave up any hope I had of getting anything done today by the time 8:30 rolled around. I didn’t even bother cracking open my new planner -the one I spent so much money on it either better change my life or fold laundry for me. I spent a good 3 hours filling it in last week.

plannerFrom ErinCondren.com, in case you’re wondering.

By the time we were to leave and pick up Kendall in time for his 2:30 dismissal, Leyna was finally napping in her room, and I had sopping wet hair from the shower I managed to squeeze in while Lowell screamed at me from the bouncy seat.

Sorry, dude. The amount of oil oozing from my hair is unacceptable at this point. Have a good cry. It will be good for your lungs… or something.

I had no choice but to push that double stroller while I ran to school. I got there at 2:33. Kids were already trickling out of the building. I carefully watched the ones that passed me to be sure Kendall wasn’t among them.

I stood in the place I always do when I pick him up, and looked around me. My eyes were squinting in the sunlight, my head spinning, my ears listening for his familiar tone and inflection. It was probably 5 minutes. It seemed like an hour.

He wasn’t there. All the kids dissipated, and he wasn’t there.

I walked to where the other kids wait for the car line. They probably put him in the wrong group.

Except they didn’t.

My heart started pounding. Had he walked past me and I didn’t see him? He didn’t see me? Did he go home with a friend? He wouldn’t have. Surely. He would have waited. I was just a few minutes late. Dammit, I shouldn’t have been late. I should have never taken that fucking shower.

I grabbed a teacher and asked her to help. She quickly disappeared inside the school. I kept scanning the sidewalk that lead back to our street. Maybe I should run that way and see if he’s walking home by himself. I had to have missed him. I think he knows his way home.

God, please let him find his way home.

Just as I was about to take off, the teacher came back through the doors. No sense of urgency. I was a little annoyed at how casually she walked back to me. Had she found him? Was he in the nurse’s office? Did he have to go to the principal’s office?

“Your son’s teacher said you sent a note saying he was to go to the after school football program today. He’s out back. He gets out at 3:40,” she said with a gentle smile. The kind of smile that, if it had arms, would reach out and pat me on the head and say, “There, there, you obviously delirious poor thing.”

“OH! Right! That is a thing he is doing now. You are right,” I nodded, while the visions of the carefully filled in week in my fancy new planner flashed before me. Had I bothered to open the damn thing at any point before picking him up, I would have known that.

Before you all start commenting about how this and that app and digital calendar work for you, let me just stop and say that NONE OF IT WORKS FOR ME. I have tried it all. I can push ignore on an iPhone alert so fast, I never even realize it came through. Or I can see it, and then forget it a second later. I do have hopes of the paper planner eventually working (again, because this is the only system that has ever worked for me in my life). I just have to get in the habit of using it. And taking it everywhere with me and treating it like a small toddler, never taking my eyes off of it.

It has to work. THIS has to work because this whole having a kid in for-real-school 5 days a week is kicking my ass so hard, you guys. But that is an entirely different blog post that I can’t even begin to get into if I ever want to get sleep tonight.

At 10:45 pm tonight, I managed to escape. Lowell finally fell asleep at 10:30, and Scott wrapped up a home-repair that was apparently so urgent it couldn’t wait until tomorrow so I could have some time to work tonight. Something about a broken water line and do I want to be able to flush the toilets for the next 24 hours?

I hoped into the car, cranked the radio, blasted Eminem’s Berzerk, and treated myself to Sonic.


And it was good.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’m going to bed with my planner by my side, and a mighty dose of self-forgiveness. And lower expectations. Much, much lower expectations.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. I was just hoping that you didn’t say in this post that you collapsed to the ground and burst into tears. I don’t even have kids and I’m sure that’s what I would have done. You are far stronger than I. Good thing though today is a new day! 🙂

  2. OK I have to admit I read about the teacher nonchalantly coming back out and was all Bitch, hurry up! WHERE IS HE? for you and then football. Oh. And then I giggled because yeah. It happens. I hope the planner works for you and I agree — paper is the only thing that works for me. My iPhone apps/calendar/alerts/reminders/allthatshit I can check AFTER the fact but it doesn’t help like a good tangible one does. I just have to get back into the habit of using it (but then I only have a $10 one from Target so if it doesn’t get used I won’t feel as bad as your Erin Condren cover screaming at you).

  3. I feel your pain, have done the two kids at home and one in school thing and it kicked my ass. Keep those expectations low for a couple of years and it will all be fine.

  4. Those days happen. But really my EC planner is awesome (if overpriced). My kids are afraid to even touch it because they know Mommy goes crazy at the thought of them destroying it.

  5. I am officially scared out of my mind for #3 due in December. But thanks for always keeping it real! I do love that about you! Also I hope it gets better soon! Very soon!

  6. Oh no! We are expecting our second in less than 2 weeks and I will also have a toddler at home. 2 under 2, sounds like a lot of fun. Really looking forward to it!?!

    Hope today goes much better.

  7. I just want to say thank you! I’m in my third trimester with #2 and I feel like the worst mom ever. (My mood swings are insane!) it’s nice to know I’m not the only one losing my mind, it grounds me and helps me remember this too shall pass 🙂

  8. Jill, I watch from afar as you have gone through the transition from 2 kids to 3 and although some of it downright scares me, I’m glad you’re being honest. It is reminding me that although I have so many plans I want to make and things I want to do. I had better lower my expectations because this baby is about to rock our world.

    Also, if I lived anywhere near you I would drive there and take care of the baby and Leyna while you are able to sleep or eat or work or whatever you need to do! All new moms should get a free nanny 😉

  9. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY love you for this post. Big, fat internet hug and I’ll raise a Blast in your name the next time I escape to Sonic, kid free and at the end of my rope.

  10. Been there, done that. Multiple times in one way or another! I have 5 kids and no matter how many things I have on my phone, the best way for me is an actual physical calendar that I have to look at multiple times to remember things. Good news is your son was accounted for, he wasn’t wandering the streets looking for you! Bad news is that teacher needs a smack because she was a bit too condescending, and that’s just waayyy too early to have school start! Hang in there!

  11. The one thing I despised the most was napping babies and pick up time from school. It seemed every time I got the twins napping it was time to pick up mi daughter from kindergarten I didn’t even want her to attend. She wanted nothing to do with homeschooling. Six months of torture before she realized school was teaching her things she learned and mastered at four. I feel your pain and hope the paper planner works for you. Thankfully we are all at home, and learning on our time not the public schools time!! It saved my sanity!

  12. This was me on Friday. I went straight for the wine when i walked through the door Friday night after a hell-atious 12 hour day. My oldest is in Kindergarten and it’s kicking my ass majorly too. Is there an insane amount of paper/forms/things that need to be returned/dates remembered etc that go home the beginning of the year or is this the way it is for school age kids all the time?!? How am I going to keep track when all three are in school…..
    Hang in there!

  13. I also have a kid in for-real school for the first time this fall and it’s kicking my ass really hard too, and i don’t have a newborn.

  14. For realz about the paper planner. Like I need YET ANOTHER person suggesting I use this app or that google calendar. Whatevs. I do what I want. May I suggest putting your planner IN Lowell’s swaddle that he’s wearing so it’s wherever he is??? TA-DA!!! Planner is EVERYWHERE!!

  15. I did that yesterday — forgot that my oldest started his one day of afterschool (the only thing left was yoga). Needless to say, I had already been to the school to get my Kindergartener about 10 minutes before. I had to run home and get his brand new yoga mat, apologize to the poor neighbor I had sent to pick him up because he gets out of second grade the same exact time my three year old comes off the bus. It will get better.

  16. Catherine Lloyd-Evans on

    I’m laughing in a totally empathetic way, you know, like – with you, not at you?! And I’m reaching over the ocean and giving you a massage. There you go. Ok?
    Ah tiny babies and toddlers and kids. Man alive they’re hard work.

  17. Brandee Brown Barker on

    You don’t NEED advice on this and your planner looks lovely but maybe just maybe for a month or 2, an extra paper calendar taped to the fridge with “HEY MONDAY IS FOOTBALL DELIRIOUS LADY” on it or something? Just a month view with key things like when you don’t have to wake Leyna and sprint to school?

    Or eff it, just keep on keeping on, it’s bound to get easier….right?

  18. Kerri Katusin Brogan on

    Having 3 kids I can tell you that the paper planner is THE WAY TO GO! Mine were at one point 4, 23 mos and newborn. I also do the paper calendar when we have a busy month. It really does get better, my youngest is now 4 and I finally am starting to get things back in order.

  19. I’ve been there 🙂 I have for girls two of which are in school this year but last year I only had one in second grade who awesomely made her AR (accelerated reader) goal and got a trip to Dollywood. I pick them up most of the time but some days they want to ride the bus. That day I drove to the school to pick her up and she wasn’t there so I hurried home thinking she took the bus but she didn’t get off the bus stop I hurried back to the school that seemed completely empty. Luckily there was another mother there who told me the girls trip children wouldn’t get back until 6:30. But trust me I felt your panic!

  20. I just want to say “Bless your heart,” but I know that’s horribly cliche. I can’t imagine how hectic your days must be with those 2 little ones. I’m a calendar/planner ignorer too. I JUST dismissed an alert on mine reminding me of early release tomorrow. God I hope I remember to pick them up.

  21. Paper is always best for me but, unless it is on a wall that I can see on a regular basis even the paper doesn’t work!

  22. April David Anderson on

    Good grief. Those are my sentiments every flippin’ day, lady. Mind you, my 12 year old daughter helps out some when she gets home from school and Mommy needs to pee by herself for 5 minutes. The 4 year old daughter has preschool 3 days a week for a couple hours each day, and our 7 month old son goes through so many burp rags due to his Reflux, we’ve taken to calling him Wild Urp. Going out in public is loud and often messy as we leave a trail behind us that I liken to a snail’s slime trail. At least that’s what it feels like. Lol

  23. this is why i write things on my hand. and then have to explain to my 3 year old why mommy gets to write on her hand, but she does not.

  24. Jenny Gillespie Karlovetz on

    I love everything about this! I mean I don’t love it because it suck I just have never related to something so well in my life!!!! Thank you for making me feel like a normal person again. I’m not alone 🙂

  25. Right there with you. Just wolfed down a bowl of freakin’ Cocoa Puffs for dinner at 8 pm, b/c I KNOW the three kids ages 5 and under who are currently in their beds won’t be for long. One has a bloody fat lip, one has a cold, and the other just needs me all.the.time. Oh, and husband is out of town. Good times. So needed to read this tonight.

  26. Annette Harvey Young on

    Girl, the year after I had my 3rd child, I forgot everything. Seriously. I would start talking to someone and trail off mid-sentence because I had already forgotten what I was talking about. Lucky for me (or not) my other 2 were still babies/toddlers so I got to keep my insanity at home rather than taking it on the road. This too shall pass, my friend!

  27. I just bought one of those planners and OMG I LOVE IT. It totally works. But then, I do look at it…a lot…like, I stare at it so much I think I have it memorized. Because it was EXPENSIVE and I will be staring at it and admiring it every day to get my money’s worth! Also, sorry about your day…but…lol?

  28. Pingback: Baby Rabies | The Only Thing Preventing You From Being The Parent You Want To Be

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