Friday, January 29, 2016

When It Comes to Shoveling or Childcare, Shoveling Wins.

We had been homebound for over 48 hours.  The snow had come down for a full 24, leaving 30+ inches in its wake.  We had tried to keep up with the shoveling - going out every few inches to clear, but it got ahead of us before long.  So on Sunday afternoon, when the time came to shovel, it was daunting.

I like to think that my husband and I have an "equal" marriage, in that we share household duties. But when it comes to shoveling, we've always been old fashioned.  He does the manual labor.  I do the childcare.  And the children and I watch from the window cheering Daddy on.

But not this time.

This time was different.

It didn't start off different, mind you.  When the snow started falling on Friday, we were actually all kind of excited about it.  The boys and I bundled up and went outside as soon as the snow started coming down.  I mean, just look how happy everyone is in the cute little two inch accumulation.  I couldn't stop snapping photos of all the joy.

But then.... the whining started.  In fact, it started before our bliss in the snow.  Much like a trip to the neighborhood pool in the summer, the prep for going outside lasted twice as long as the actual excursion itself.  I was channeling A Christmas Story as I bundled the kids up, and they screamed in horror as they had to wear (gasp) snow pants!  And boots!  And something that's not a t-shirt!  Once they got outside, they enjoyed the snow for a few brief minutes until their litany of complaints were revealed - their hands were cold.  There was snow touching their pants.  The snow angel was being covered by falling snow.  One kid hit another with a snowball.  Crying ensued.  Retaliation took place.  More crying ensures.  And it was in that moment, on hour 1 of Snowzilla, that I made a conscious decision to abandon my January diet and bring back the alcohol.

I remember being snowbound during "Snowmageddon" back in 2010.  We had one child at that time - Braden was about 15 months old.  Sure, we were bored.  We were restless.  But we were calm.  We were at peace.

Such was not the case this past weekend.

The kids woke at 5:30 am on Saturday.  (Colin decided that would be the morning he would crawl out of his crib for the first time, by the way.).  I had a mild headache from the reintroduction of alcohol, and yet I had grand plans for the day.  We would break the day up into segments!  Karaoke hour!  Snow play hour!  Baking hour!  Art project hour!  Reading hour!  I'm not going to lie, I had anxiety about how we would pass the day, or most likely, days of being stuck in the house.

It was as if the kids could smell my fear.  Or perhaps the snow was giving off some weird energy - you know the kind that makes animals act all crazy when a weather front moves in?  Whatever it was, the kids were off the rails.  And while it isn't that rare that our house is engulfed by chaos, it isn't so often that we are homebound and jailed within its four walls.  With no possible escape.  For God knows how long.

Activity plans were abandoned, and the electronics were brought out.  Oh, and so were these, at 10 am 11am, ahem, noon:

Last Saturday was a long, long day.

But then, when Sunday came, it became clear that that would be another long day. And the next day too.  And the next.  Because the DC area pretty much SUCKS at clearing snow in the easiest of circumstances.  And with 30 inches of snow?  We were looking at a string of days to be homebound.

So when the time came to shovel, I was the first to volunteer.  I wouldn't even call it volunteering.  I would call it insisting.

I suited up.  I booted up.  I listened to my running mix and got myself pumped.  I brought with me a dirty martini, in a coffee thermos.  And I shoveled the shit out of that driveway.

It took me about 2 and a half hours.  During that time, my husband cooked dinner, fed the kids, and prepared them for bed.  I, on the other hand, finished said dirty martini, listened to awesome music, got in a great work out, and was one with nature.  The whole thing was incredibly relaxing. Especially given the alternative.

The Sunday night shoveling gave me a re-boot, and it's a good thing, because I needed it.  We were eventually freed from our home on Monday nights, but now, five days later, the roads are still horrific.  The public schools in our area have been closed all week.  And there is SO MUCH SNOW EVERYWHERE.

We are all looking forward to a weekend with no accumulation.  But if and when it comes again, I'll be ready with my shovel.  And my dirty martini in a thermos.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Schooling a "Seasoned" Mom

There was a week this past October that was particularly shitty for me.  First, my husband had a seizure while jogging.  A few days later, my grandmother died. Notwithstanding these events, I was holding it together surprisingly well.

Then, two days later, I got a call from my kids' school.  Casey, my 5 year old, had bitten a classmate.  And with that, I went over the edge.  The tears, the exhaustion, it all caught up with me.

I picked Casey and his big brother Braden up from school that afternoon and I was forcing myself to be calm.  Casey happily skipped into the car, finding it shockingly easy to forget the day's events, which included a talking to in the principal's office.

Once the boys had secured their seat belts, I pulled over in the school parking lot.  Casey, I said, Do you have something to tell me?  

Casey lowered his head and confessed.  I proceeded to calmly spell out his consequences - how he would be getting no dessert, no iPad privileges, no TV shows, and how he could never, ever, ever do this again, and how he needs to use his words, and blah blah blah, and all of a sudden I hear crying coming from the backseat and I look back, and it's not Casey.  It's Braden.  The 7 year old. Who has nothing to do with this incident.

Stop being mean to Casey!  Braden yelled.  You're such a mean mommy.  

Yeah, you are a mean mommy!  Casey echoed.

The insults were flung at me like a chorus - loud and with resolve.  I can't exactly recall what was said, because at a point I stopped listening.  I was about to defend myself - to put my kids back in their place, to yell at them at the preposterousness of the fact that I was the one who was the bad guy in this scenario, but I couldn't summon the energy.  I was done.  Done.  Done.  Done with my week.  Done with my kids.  Done with managing the day to day.

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