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ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tackling the tantrums one drink at a time

I'm fried. There's no other way to put it. If you have children, they kick your ass; not because they're horrible but because they are little people with needs, wants and endless energy and because you are old, tired and don't feel like it.

Ok fine, I'm old.

This is Junior and Everett's last week of school. Last year at this time I was a wreck, unsure of how I would balance work while keeping three kids happy enough. I say enough because I don't think it's my job as a parent to lead a non-stop happy parade. I believe boredom is good. But hey, it's summer, there have to be some popsicles and pool time.

This year I'm not such a wreck. Cam is almost two and a half, so it should be easier to travel, unless it's during nap time, in which case it will still be hellacious. I have a new, not pregnant babysitter. Chuck has three weeks off instead of five days. There are no more lunches to pack at 6:45 a.m., no more homework, spelling tests or nightly reading quotas.

And honestly, I'm thrilled to get a break from the kids' schools. The schools in Mulletville Lite expect a daunting amount of parental involvement. A steady stream of flyers came home announcing fundraisers, rallies, poetry readings, fun days, spirit days, crazy hat days, balloon twisting days and of course, everyone wants the parents to participate, but what the hell, all the events were held at 1:30 in the afternoon. Don't forget to bring a baked good!

If you didn't see the flyer announcing the event, no worries, there were 10,000,000 other ways the school communicated with you: there was Facebook (separate accounts for each school); the PTO's Facebook page (separate accounts for each school); Twitter (again, separate accounts); Twitter for separate school departments, such as the library; a weekly digital newsletter; the school system's website; emails from the teachers; a weekly printed newsletter from the teachers; and of course, good old fashioned letters sent home via the school's mascot, an old horse named One-eyed Hank.

(Ha! Just checking to see if you're still with me.)

It felt like a full-time job, and I wasn't even on the PTO. (How do they do it?)

I asked my mother if she had felt this way when I was in school. She snorted and said, "If they couldn't reach you on the phone the only other choice they had was to mail you a letter, so no."

That sounds delightful and a lot more reasonable. Somewhere along the way, from my childhood to my children's, more of EVERYTHING became preferable. But it just doesn't feel good. So that's where I'm at right now, with summer around the corner. Less is more. Less screen time. More staring at the sky time. Less involvement. More meandering. Fewer toys. More homemade creations.

Fewer tantrums would be nice, but we're not there yet. I guess the good news is that once school is out, the tantrums can take place in the comfort of our home instead of say, in an auditorium. The even better news is that I can oversee said tantrum with the aid of a cool beverage.

Frick. It always comes back to the tantrums and the vodka, doesn't it?

I'm okay with that. I have to be. For now.