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Sometimes Basic Personal Hygiene is Hard
Posted on September 5th, 2015

I forgot deodorant today.  And also brushing my teeth.

This is unfortunate for two reasons...

Number one.  People like it when other people wear deodorant and brush their teeth.  I had to stand at least three feet away from everyone I talked with today. 

Number two.  I was winning in every other working-mom department this morning.  We were even EARLY to school.  My beds were made and I had on make-up PRE-drop off.  But forgetting basic self-care kind of kills all that.

It's been a tiring few weeks 'round these parts.  Here's a fun fact for those that don't have school-aged children or who aren't teachers:  Back-to-School Season is hazardous to your mental and physical health.  One might think of the typical to-do list...supply lists, clothes shopping, backpack getting.  There's that.  AND.

For us, Back-to-School is a full on family affair.  We are education folks, so it's not just the kiddos to get crackin', it's Momma and Daddy too.  So first of all, take that clothes shopping list and multiply by four.  (I'm going to go ahead and say you haven't lived if you haven't been elbow deep in piles of folded mens' Dockers looking for a certain size and color while keeping up with various and sundry children, purses, and shopping bags.  Seriously, mens' departments everywhere...take a clue from the ladies and HANG UP THE PANTS.) 

Secondly, because we all get a summer break, we ALL FOUR experience what I like to call Summer Detox.  This includes things like NOT staying up til 3 a.m. eating cheetos while the rest of the responsible world sleeps and does not keep the hours of vampires.  It also includes showering at normal hours and wearing actual clothes.  Living in sweats and yoga pants all summer is one of the perks of our professions.  We have to be professionally dressed 99% of our working days, so yoga pants in the summer is standard wardrobe practice.  For Momma, this wearing-real-clothing thing also means laundry that I can't just shove in the washer willy nilly, dry on whatever setting, and allow us to forage for socks and underwear straight from the dryer like a family of naked racoons.   No.  I now have to pay attention to all the laundry.  I have to sort clothing, think about stain removal, and expend the energy to actually turn the knob on the dryer setting.  It's exhausting.

Summer Detox also includes the Waking of the Vampires.  This is a job delegated to Mom.  (John is strictly on his own.  If he doesn't wake up with his alarm and is running late, it's every man for himself.)  I have to get my own tail moving and also the tails of two cute (and sleepy) little girls.  For E, this is an exciting time of day.  We are up!  We are all awake!  It is a new day!  Let's play!  And this is how Carson and I feel about mornings...
We don't Morning. 

And here's the extra kick in the pants.  In order for us to have a smooth morning, I have learned (through muy mucho trial and error) that I need to be up, showered, and dressed before waking any of the little people in this house.  It just makes for a happier morning if mom isn't running around making lunches with wet hair, half my make-up on, and no pants.  Summer Detox is not kind for this reason.  My alarm starts being rude at 5:15 a.m.  No, thank you.  I would like to take this time to publicly blame my alarm clock for the reason all four of us are in bed by 9:00 p.m. on a week night.  (I'll be back for you in May my quiet, calm night-owl sessions.  Remember me.)

Among other things, Back-to-School Summer Detox includes grocery shopping, lunch planning, lunch packing, doctor visit paloozas to fit them all in before school starts, hair cut appointments, labeling of all the things (seriously...everything), and prayer.  Lots of prayer.  I honestly did not think school was ever going to actually start in our house.  We had such a staggered start for everyone at our various schools that it felt like it was going to drag on forever.  I felt like a dog chasing its tail, only less fun than that.

But school did eventually start.  Last week (I think?  It's sort of all a blur.)  Then we need to Meet the Teacher, have a conference, sign up to volunteer, learn how to go the right direction in the parent pick-up line (ahem...Lindsey), get the routine down for what folder and papers and books need to come home, and sign this, and bring that, and pray some more, and make sure people remember to feed their children breakfast (ahem...me again), and match the pony tail holder to the outfit, and remember which days to send your child in tennis shoes for PE, and maybe cook something for dinner that isn't pizza delivery or frozen fish sticks again, and figure out the hair washing schedule, and also be sure we don't run out of milk.  It's a lot, folks. 

We are one week in and I think it's going pretty well.  We have been consistently getting to school on time, everyone is dressed, fed, and generally peaceful each morning.  We have had a few battles and have come out of those with only minor scars. (I hope.  I may or may not have yelled excessively when my brand new make-up was destroyed by a child in my house who is old enough to know better.  I've begged forgiveness and hopefully this won't come up in her therapy sessions one day.)  Then there was today when I forgot everything I was taught in Personal Hygiene 101...but other than those few hiccups, I can report that I am cautiously optimistic about our ability to continue this routine for the next nine months. 

But I do have some thoughts to summarize the last few weeks...

1) I hate making lunches.  And I know...one day I'll be sad that I don't have little people to make lunches for.  I should pray for my kids as I pack their lunch.  I should be thankful we have a pantry and fridge full of food to make the lunches.  Yes.  All of that.  But listen...in the day-to-day nitty gritty of it all...I still hate the chore.  It's the planning and the shopping and the packing and the keeping it cold and the unpacking it and the spilling of open food in the lunch box and the wiping down of the lunch box and the repacking and and and and...

...and I do not enjoy it.  I'm admitting it.  Call me horrible if you must.

2) 5:15 in the morn is too dadgum early for a human to be awake.

3) We enjoy a routine in this house.  It's good for us and as much as I can complain, I'm happy we are back in the groove of normal life.  Summer is cool and fun and chill and loosey-goosey and all, but there comes a day when you feel like there should be more in your pantry than some Ritz crackers and Little Debbies and that maybe wearing pajamas for three days in a row isn't too normal.  When you look around and your house looks like a combination of a frat house, pool house, and a play room...maybe it's time to scrape the pizza sauce off the couch and go to work and do other adult things, like wake up before 10:00 a.m. and brush your hair.

4) I am so very thankful to have wonderful schools to send our girls.  I trust both of our schools with my whole being.  I know they are safe, I know they are learning, and I know they are loved.  Academics can be taught anywhere, but having my children surrounded by those of like-minded faith is so important to us.  We know that everywhere they turn, they see the Gospel being lived out.  They are nurtured and discipled and my heart could burst at the thought of it all.

5) I enjoy some alone time.  Can I admit that and still keep my Good Momma Membership card?  Yes, I'm a working mom who is admitting that I'm a better mom when I have some time away from my kids.  That's right.  I said it.  Over the summer, I'm with all my people 24/7.  I wake up with them laying on my head, I eat with their hands in my plate, I poop with them sitting on my lap and/or blowing bubbles to entertain me while I'm doing my business.  (True story.  That one happened this evening.)  When I go places, any place, they go with me.  And HEAR ME, PEOPLE...I love them with all my soul!  But I have enjoyed being able to eat a whole meal at one time, with no one talking.  I have relished the drive to my office each day. (This is my pray aloud time every morning and I love it.)  I have enjoyed not hearing that purple dinosaur singing and jumping up and down chuckling. 

And again...I know the days are long and the years are short.  People that have done this Mom Thing like to tell this to those of us that are smack dab in the thick of it.  I know when I am done, I'll do the same and look at the Young Mommas and say Southern Things like "bless their momma hearts" and "one day you'll wish those little tater tots were running around again making you crazy".  And most days we so appreciate that reminder and it does help!  But some days...y'all just need to let a Momma say her kids are driving her crazy. :)

6) GRACE!!!!  God continues to teach me that His grace never runs out.  He has enough grace to cover me.  I never have to search for it.  I never have to wonder if maybe this was The Last Straw and He used up all my grace rations on me yesterday.  No.  His grace flows and flows and flows and flows.  Amen and amen.  I need it every moment, Lord.  Thank you for Momma Grace. 


7) I'm going to start keeping mouthwash and deodorant in my car.  I feel like this is wise.

I'm praying for you, Mommas!  You are doing an amazing job!  You take care of the world, you go to work, you take care of your home, some of you go to school, some of you do all these and more.  You are doing it right.  Your kids love you.  You have a lot to balance and you are doing just fine.   God's grace is right there.  Reach out and let it fill in your gaps.

Please let me know how I can pray for you and feel free to share the most ridiculous thing you've said or done these last couple of weeks of the back to school madness.  I'll start...I yelled at one of my children, "Just pick the orange with the least amount of hair, put it in your mouth and eat it!" 

Yep.  Top that.

(But go put on deodorant first.  I know...I forgot today, too.)

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