Time Zones

“Everybody to the car!”

Despite the regularity with which I yell this phrase, my offspring have yet to respond the way I expect. I think I picture immediate reaction, response, frenzy, and (obviously) obedience. I see myself picking up my purse and walking out to find four smiling boys all buckled and ready to go.

I do not ever call myself an optimist so why do I expect miracles for so many child-related activities, like punctuality?

A helpful fellow parent might lean over to me and advise, “Prepare your children for leaving by calmly telling each when you want to go and what you expect each to accomplish to get there.” She and her one or two child(ren) probably communicate well and skip down hallways filled with sunshine and never end up arriving late to appointments.

My application of this method begins with a patient Chelsea telling my children, one by one, that we are going to the store in ten minutes. I ask them to use the bathroom, get a drink, and apply coverings to their feet. Five minutes later, each receives a warning. One minute to go finds me back at square one. Instead of, “Everybody to the car,” though, my yelling is much like the bedtime mantra: “BATHROOM! SHOES! DRINK! CAR! I’m LEEEEEEAVING!!”

A more realistic friend of mine follows the Leave Them Behind the Way You Threatened To approach. Sure enough, her five-year-old hops to it and gets right in when she asks.

I think I drove off a few times when I had one small child as well. Now that my oldest is twelve, however, he wants to stay behind. Heck, he’ll get free access to computers and food.

I think I’m just stuck following Child Standard Time for the next twenty years. I’d consider petitioning for a specific government zone -but know that, no matter how long they’re given, my children would still be late.


Boxes on Counters and Warm Woolen Undies

Empties on counters and wrappers beneath me
Dull, crusted skillets and Wet Wipes on Wheaties
O’erflowing garbages dumping on me
These aren’t a few of my favorite things.

What is so difficult about cleaning up? Did I put the recycling bin all the way out the door that’s three feet away? Do you assume your hot cocoa mix dust will evaporate? Will dishes wash themselves?

I get it. -Especially when you tell me.

“I don’t want to.” “I didn’t do it.” “I don’t feel like it.” “I’ll do it after _____________.” “There’s no mess!”



One time I asked the other adult in the house, “Why do you leave the empty cereal boxes on the counter when you use them?”

“So you know we need to buy more,” he answered.

know when we’re out of cereal. The kids tell me. The empty pantry shelf tells me. Heck, he could simply tell me. He could also go buy more. My less-than-tactful suggestion of where he can shove the cereal box when he forgets to take it all the way to recycling doesn’t give me the result I really want.

And so, as usual, cleaning up the house is me relocating junk. Their junk. It could have been done at the time of deposit, but that would have actually required effort.


One time, the other adult in the house asked me, “Why do you keep all the dishes in the sink? They would be easier to clean if you rinsed them off and stacked them. Or, you could put them right into the dishwasher.”

“They’re there so I remember to wash them. I’ll load everything later tonight,” I lie. Later tonight will see me fighting to stay awake while telling children to get back in bed (repeatedly). Those dishes will finally get washed when (A) visitors come over, (B) we run out of even the backup utensils, or (C) he finally gets fed up with the state of the kitchen and capitulates.

It works. The poor man just doesn’t understand my system.

Good Mom, Bad Mom

Fruit Pie

One time, my neighbor stopped by to give me something. In these times of internet-everythinging, visits are not such a common occurrence. She caught us right when we’d returned from the grocery store and all the children were enjoying a fruit pie snack.

She made some comment about how I was “such a fun mom” to let them eat the sugar-glazed, berry-filled, envelope of sugar. She was surprised, thinking I was usually strict about the kids’ diets.

am strict, because I don’t want them to develop diabetes or -more likely- hyperactivity.

HOWEVER, every kid needs to try a snack pie. I also buy them weird Oreo flavors or chocolate Lucky Charms or Twinkie Weiner Sandwiches -randomly, to try once. This makes me a good mom.

Then, at bedtime, exasperation sets in. I’m sarcastic, rude, stressed, unkind, impatient, and loud about trying to get them in bed. I’m even worse when they will not STAY in bed.

At times like that, I’m bad mom.


“Let’s go to insert random location,” I say, and we pile into the car and drive to IKEA, the world’s largest Costco, the Pepperidge Farm outlet, a splash pad, a park, or a relative’s house.

The children smile and get along. They love the spontaneity and their happy maternal parent. Things are good.

But, sure enough, all good things must come to an end.

“Time to go,” I say. I say it again, and again. I threaten, snap, threaten, pick up shoes, pick up boys, deny “last times,” and ask them if they really need to go to the bathroom if they went when we first arrived.

Bad mom’s back, and she means business.

I feel a bit torn. Am I good mom, or bad? I’d really rather be firm but loving, but that fantastical plan flies out the window the instant they shoot me point-blank with a Nerf gun.

Does anyone else relate? What can we do?

Writing Gaps

A short time ago, the plumber needed to make a house call. Given that our domicile is only five years old, we’ve had (in my opinion) an inordinately large number of maintenance appointments. -And, none of the children has flushed worse than wet wipes (knock on wood).


Up until this visit, I’d had the house really clean if the plumber was coming. I knew that he would be able to see our least-cleaned areas: the master bedroom (the bathroom’s attached), and THE BASEMENT (where the plumbing-type stuff sleeps). But, we hadn’t had time to tidy up as usual for this occasion, because the problem was no hot water and that meant there were dishes all over and stinky children and I hadn’t showered so was in my excusable exercise clothes and everyone was running all over and I was a bit stressed about the whole situation.

The poor guy walked into the house after the children fought over opening the door, and undoubtedly saw all this. “I’m sorry, we …” I began.

I mentally heard myself finishing that sentence with the usual excuses. “-didn’t have time to clean.” “-haven’t washed since the hot water went out. Thank goodness you’re here!” and “-are fasting from personal hygiene for Lent.”

Instead, I said, “I’m sorry, we live here.”

(No, not, “I’m sorry we live here.” There was a pause.)


And so, I offer the same excuse for frequency of writing. I always have a goal of publishing posts in a somewhat-orderly fashion. At my main site, this is a daily routine until I hit a year. Over here, however, I was going to save them for when I felt snarky enough to pop something off.

Unfortunately, visitors, I forgot about a teensy little event called Summer Break.

Despite my bestish efforts, attempts to write anything with the children awake has been disastrous. They do that whole bother me every five two one minutes thing. I snap at the cute interrupter, only to feel like the worst, psychologically-damaging parent for telling them my writing is more important than them sharing the plot of Captain Underpants with me (again), so I apologize and listen to their story, then I pull a few children apart from MMA-type events ….and it’s bedtime.

I may have just summarized the life of a stay at home parent.

So, I’m sorry for not writing about motherhood. I’ve been mothering.

I’ll squeeze in a few late-night postings here and there, but you just might have to wait till Free Daycare (aka school) begins again ’round September. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

unsplash-logoChris Leggat
unsplash-logoSteve Johnson



C’mere a minute, Bear. I have somefin to tell you about growin up.

Firstly is food. Food is yummy. You can’t eat it ’cause Mommy says I can’t make you a mouth. Also, bears can’t eat any food even with a mouth because you are all stuffing.

I have a mouth but Mommy says to put the grapes back and that floor food isn’t food.

Nummer Two is sleeping. Mommy and Daddy want me to sleep A LOT, even when I’m still playing with you and the sun is not sleeping. I think they play when I sleep so that’s why they want me to sleep.

And then there is outside. Mommy says to play outside. Then she says I’m too dirty and why did I go in the mud. Daddy says -he says to nefer touch the hose and not get wet. I can’t touch his tool bench either or his car. Or his saw or his candy or anyfing!

Growin’ up is all about having lots of things that kids can’t touch.


Wanna go play in the mud?