Tag Archives: Working moms

Lizards in the Bathtub

For an odd reason, I’m not too sure why, I thought that I would document my day. I must be in a mood. I’m not sure as to what kind of mood, but a mood non-the-less.

On any given week day, the alarm clock goes off at 5AM. My alarm clock is set a half hour fast as it has been for years. Do I really think I’m tricking myself? I hit the snooze button approximately three times before stumbling to the shower. Then, it’s to the coffee maker to get the party started. I had left yesterday’s half-filled cup by the coffee pot so naturally I grabbed it to pour out.

Scream.

There was a curvy, large maroonish-brown roach floating in there. Some people like to feel better about having roaches in their home by referring to them as water bugs. Water bugs my Irish arse! Being the resident woman of the house, I’ve squashed my fair share of bugs, big and large, but it rattles me every time…every single time.

Before the channel gets changed to Gracie’s morning programs, it’s my moment to get in a dose of television. You can never go wrong with Way Too Early with Willie Geist.

I mentioned snooze buttons, right? Well, I am actually Gracie’s personal snooze button. Waking up that child is like getting congress to pass a bill. Not easy! Between deciding what vintage number I will put together for the day, I’m in and out, in and out, in and out of Gracie’s room attempting to drag her to the table for breakfast. Oh yeah, did I mention that I make breakfast too? She eats. I put on make-up, get my hairstyle du jour on and then it’s to the closet to choose which heels Ms. Garrity will be struttin’ for the day.

I drop her off, switch off Mommy and turn on Ms. Garrity. I get to work and throw down with my office mates. They are all men, thankfully. My crass humor doesn’t always fan well with the female population. The bell rings and we disperse to teach our classes for the day. Research papers in one class, Catcher in the Rye in another and Lord of the Flies in the other.

At 4PM, I switch off Ms. Garrity and off I go. Today I had every intention of going to the gym. No really, I did. I stopped by D&D to get my iced coffee and was full-speed ready for a workout until I picked up Gracie. I knew right away that going to the gym was a no go.

We get home. Gracie spends 10 minutes throwing cherry blossoms in the air while I am holding my purse, my work computer and all of her art for the past few weeks. It’s windy. My 1940’s vintage floral dress is blowing up past my comfort zone.

Finally, we get into the house. The cat litter stinks. You have no idea how much I really don’t like having cats. Do you want one? How fast can I scoop litter, wash my hands and get Gracie a snack? Ha! You have no idea. What’s on the menu? Cashew chicken. While making dinner, I put together Gracie’s toy vanity, bravely give her some make-up to play with and blast some 60’s garage tunes. I paint her nails and toes. There’s no television on in the afternoons in my house. It’s all about dance and play. We eat dinner, talk about our day and then it’s time to get ready for a bath. She grabs her rubber lizard and it’s off to bath time.

And then we get to now. I get in my computer time and she gets to color, work in her activity books or watch a movie. Tonight, she’s resting next to me as I write this. She’s cranky and tired but fighting to stay awake. Her head is resting on my shoulder, her eyes heavy and her rubber lizard – he’s still in the bathtub.

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Single Working Mom Getting by on the Fumes of Making a Difference

Lately, I find myself in a clichéd Hollywood pose late at night while in bed. I’m on my back, my arms are rested behind my head, my eyes are wide and I have a dream sequence playing in my head. It’s the kind of sequence that stressed-out characters like Nancy Botwin from Weeds or Hank Moody from Californication might have. It’s as though there’s a device in my pillow that plays hyperbolic, worse case scenarios and all I can do it watch from outer space. The whole thing is really quite surreal – the day to day, battle after battle, and punch at every corner events – events so big that they more resemble an animated parody than that of actual real life events.

As a single parent, it’s tough. As a single parent that’s a high school teacher with no family within a 1000 mile radius, it’s really tough. Nine times out of ten, I’m caught on a high wire, hovering above a chaotic explosion of things I have to get done. That leaves not nearly enough time to swallow the weight of my stress. Sure, I would love to find time for yoga, hiking, going to the gym and for meditation but where and how do I fit them in? Between grading research papers and stirring the homemade chicken cacciatore?

The culprit keeping me up at night, though, is worry. I worry about the debt I accrued while a student. I borrowed, borrowed some more and then kept borrowing. That’s what everyone did back in the 90’s. If I wanted a substantial education for both personal growth and to further career opportunities, I had to dole out the cash – cash I didn’t have. “Not to worry,” they all said. “Pay it back later. Don’t worry about it now.”

Well, the “now” has arrived and I feel crushed and defeated, as though no amount of dignified hard work will even dent the debt I owe. I look at the numbers, they spin in my head and nausea permeates. It’s a black hole with no hope. As a single, working woman, I can honestly say I am doing what I should be but it’s never enough and it sure feels as though it will never be enough.

Sadly, I’ve even pondered leaving the teaching profession. However, I get up every day with a purpose, with a zest, and with moxie. I make a difference and that’s something no amount of money can make up for. But making a difference doesn’t cover day care expenses, car loans, and the devil dancing in my waking midnight visions – the student loan.

There are a few things though that I strongly feel any woman going through the same situation should have.

1. An emergency playlist of relaxing music. Miles Davis and Nina Simone are essential top music relaxants
2. A secret stash of Lindt chocolate truffles. One truffle can remedy the stress of a toddler meltdown. Two truffles can almost make you forget that there was a meltdown.
3. Get your hair done. A new cut and color will make you feel new again and somewhat refreshed.
4. Java. Without coffee, how do any of us do it?
5. A social network of Facebook friends who empathize with you. Having someone “like” your stress-ridden status can really make your day.
6. Silly times to blast 80’s pop tunes and shake your booty like your life depends on it.
7. Buddies to go out with. If you don’t go out dancing, go to dinner, go to a show or give yourself some release, you’ll go stir crazy.
8. Ask your munchkin for a kiss on the cheek. Munchkin kisses help you to remember why you do what you do.
9. Laugh. Laugh about nothing. Laugh about everything. Just remember to laugh.
10. Keep breathing. Use self talk to remind yourself that you’re doing all you can do.

Like me, you might sill find yourself awake in the middle of the night. But, after all, what’s to be expected of a single working mom who’s running on the fumes of making a difference?