A Question for the Ages

My kids are weird. Not weird in a bad way, necessarily, just a funny, quirky, out-of-the-ordinary way.

And I find it quite charming most of the time.

They make me think about things I’ve never thought about before. And sometimes they ask me questions that literally stump me.

And yes, those questions usually involve math.

But this morning, Boy #2 asked me a question that had to do with MY world, MY subject — and it STILL stumped me!

Here was his question:

“Mom, what’s your favorite compound word?”

Okay, I wasn’t aware I was supposed to have a favorite compound word. Am I the only one that’s favoriteless in this category?

Trying to stall while I thought of some brilliant reply, I asked Boy #2 what his favorite compound word is.

And yes, he has one. Actually, he has two.

  1. cupcake
  2. eyeball

Now, I have no idea what cupcake and eyeball have to do with each other, or why cupcake rated above eyeball (except that it tastes much better), but I was impressed that he had actually given this literary question some serious thought.

However, I have to admit that I could not come up with my favorite upon request. In fact, I couldn’t even really think of many compound words since I was under so much pressure. So I told him I’d have to think about it and get back to him.

So I have. And here’s my reply to him (Feel free to read along as well).

It’s much easier for me to come up with my least favorite compound words, so I’m going to start with a few humdingers (ooh, that’s a compound word too):

  • bathroom — This word isn’t necessarily ugly, more like misleading. I don’t know about you, but I RARELY get to take a bath in my bathroom. This is not what happens in there. The same goes for “restroom” — even though the boys like to go and hang out for a while in there, to me it’s not where I go to rest. Instead of “bathroom” or “restroom,” a more accurate compound word might be “pooproom” or “stinkroom,” maybe even “peeonthetoiletseatroom” (although that might be a bit hard for kids to spell).
  • toenail — Although this compound word has kind of a harsh sound to it (the hard “t” and “n”), it’s more the image that pops in my head when I hear it that makes me detest it. Even though some people have pretty pedicured toenails, this is not the picture that automatically comes to me. Instead, it’s ugly ragged toenails, and particularly toenail fungus, that I associate with the word. I blame those late-night toenail fungicide commercials. Nasty.
  • cowlick — I was blessed with cowlicks. Plural. When I was little, I had a slight fear that a cow would come and lick my head. Although maybe that would’ve tamed my unruly locks. What a dumb word.
  • armpit — There’s really nothing pleasant about an armpit, is there? For men, it’s hairy and stinky. For tweens, it’s just stinky. And for us ladies, if you shave or wax (which I hope to God you do), there’s always that five o’clock shadow you can’t quite make go away. And on a personal note, I’ve had to use my husband’s “manly” deodorant all week because he broke MY “womanly” deodorant last week (yes, when he was using it) and I keep forgetting to buy new. So right now my armpits smell like a sporty, musky man. And I’m sure that is more than you ever wanted to know about my armpits.
  • earwig — Okay, I threw up a little bit just typing this worm. I never want to see one of these icky bugs. Honestly, does it live in the ear, or why is it called the earwig? The thought of this bug with long pincers living in my ear is enough to put me over the edge. I believe I would rather experience a tapeworm (another lovely compound word) than an earwig. *shudder*
  • shuttlecock — This word is precisely the reason that badminton will never be taken seriously in the sporting world.

And now for some compound words that don’t make me want to dump English and become fluent in Swahili:

  • dishwasher — I love this word not only for its sibilance (all those “sh” sounds) but also for what it represents. Whether in human or appliance form matters not. God bless the dishwasher.
  • flapjack — Why has pancake, flapjack’s more popular yet more boring brother, taken over our vernacular? Flapjack is such a lively and energetic word, and pancake is as dull as, well, a cake pan.
  • inkwell — This is so sophisticated-sounding. “Pardon me, but may I borrow your inkwell?” Maybe part of it’s because I have a secret wish to replace all of the ball-point pens in our house with fountain pens. With huge, white feathers. Don’t you think that would make even the mundanes of life more enjoyable? You could be writing a check to the city sanitation department and you’d still feel like John Hancock.
  • chickpea — Although I’ve never tried a chickpea, the name makes me want to. It sounds like something only cool people would eat.
  • housecoat — This word just makes me smile. I want to start a movement to bring the housecoat back (not, however, to be confused with a muumuu).

Other compound words I’m going to start weaving into my daily conversations:

  • fiddlesticks
  • claptrap
  • hoodwink
  • muckrake
  • nitwit

Ah, fiddlesticks, girl! Don’t try to hoodwink me with your claptrap! I can tell you’re trying to muckrake me. What do you take me for, a nitwit?

So what’s your favorite compound word?

Eyeball cupcake photo by Eric Staudenmaier
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iPhone Apps (I’d Like to See) for Moms of Boys

So, I’ve had my iPhone for a year, and already I’ve reverted back to old habits. Old-school habits, that is.

Yep, I pretty much use my phone just to send and receive calls. Once in a while I text or play Moxie (my current obsession word game of choice). But really, I use about 3% of my phone’s technological capacity. (I totally made up that percentage, by the way. I feel obligated to disclose that since I’m married to a math teacher.)

I was just giving my iPhone some much-needed attention, which included deleting stupid apps my kids have installed (but not SmackTalk!, which totally makes me laugh. A talking hamster in a squeaky voice? Hello?!) and completing the 26 app updates that were pending.

My poor, poor neglected iPhone.

I think part of the problem is that I get a bit overwhelmed with the sheer number of available apps for my mobile device. Some of them are really helpful. As a disorganized working mom, a few that I have found helpful are:

  • Grocery Gadget — a handy way to create, save, and share grocery or other shopping lists
  • Hazel Mail — lets you take a picture and send it as a real, old-school postcard. Super idea for vacations and for keeping in touch with grandparents.
  • Night Stand — makes me do math problems to make sure I get up in the mornings. The wonderful bastard.
  • DirecTV — If we forget to program the DVR to tape 30 Rock or Community, we can do it from wherever we are. This lovely app has saved us more than once. Because no one wants to see Mommy if she hasn’t had her Liz Lemon and Pierce fix.
  • Mover — Husband and I can literally “move” files and photos from one phone to another, or from a phone to my laptop. Works with anyone who has an iPhone and/or Mac and dowloads the app.
  • Colorama — This has been so nice to have when we’ve had unexpected waits in restaurants or doctor offices. It’s basically a virtual coloring book. The boys use it once in a while too! *smile*
  • ArcadeBowl — The boys like playing this skeeball game to pass the time. The best part? There’s no longer a reason to take them to Chuck E. Cheese’s!

But as nice as these apps are, there are some other apps that I could really use, that could really make my life easier as a mom of boys. So app developers, take note! Here are my picks:

  • Lie Catcher — You know how they have apps that allow you to use your iPhone to scan barcodes at stores and check prices at other stores? (I have RedLaser) Well, I’d like to be able to use my iPhone to scan, say, my kids’ retinas to detect if they are lying about having homework, calling their brother a name or throwing the GoGurt wrapper on the living room floor.
  • The Scold-inator 3000 — (I’m beginning to sound like Dr. Doofenshmirtz) I could also really use an automatic parental response generator that can deliver an appropriate rebuke depending on the situation, such as, “The couch is not a trampoline,” “Seriously, use a kleenex, not your finger” or “You are way too old to run around outside in your underwear!” This would save my voice and, quite possibly, my sanity.
  • The Handy-Dandy Rash Detector — Since at least one of my boys is always covered in some sort of mysterious rash, a “rash for boys” guide could really help me out. It could show pictures of poison ivy, poison sumac, impetigo,  heat rash, eczema, or ringworm so I could just hold up my phone to the affected kid until I find a match. If it could somehow squirt out the appropriate cream, maybe from the charging port, that would be the icing on the rash cake.
  • Tween Translator — Did your 6th grader just call you a “newb”? Did he just tell you you’re going to get “pwned,” and you weren’t sure whether to be worried or buy a new outfit for the occasion? Well, the Tween Translator could be the app to bridge the generational gap between you and your pre-pubescent offspring. The “premium” edition could translate text talk as well, which could come in handy when you’re logging on to your kid’s Facebook account and reading his chat history. (Not that I would know anything about that…)

So if any app developers are reading this (and why wouldn’t they be, come on!), please seriously consider my app proposals. They would really make my life easier, and, as we all know, it is all about me.

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Things I’m Wondering Today

Has it really been a week since I’ve blogged?

Why am I choosing to watch Dora the Explorer when I am the only one home?

Why have I allowed a stray puppy the size of a small grizzly to stay in my home for the past two weeks?

And is it really possible for one puppy to pee THAT much? (If you’re wondering if he’s house-trained, I think you’ve just found your answer.)

Does any other mother struggle every morning just finding clean underwear for her kids?

Does any other mother struggle every morning wrestling dirty underwear away from her dog?

Is it possible for me to lose weight while eating only M&Ms?

Could I possibly be a BIGGER procrastinator?

These are things I’m wondering today. And now I’m also wondering if I’m going to get these stories done I need to edit. Because I’ve been thinking about things I’m wondering about today instead.

More to come soon…

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Reflections on Bedtime

Or “Why Are My Kids Still Up at 10:05 on a School Night?”

Before you become a mom, you dream about how it will be. What you will do… what sweet things your kids will whisper in your ear… what words of wisdom you will pass on to your offspring.

In my pre-mom dreams, my children began yawning at 6:30, took baths with a “yes ma’am” and a smile, climbed into their L.L. Bean matching pajamas, and then drifted off into a peaceful slumber before I could finish the first storybook.

They did not, I repeat, did not repel from baths as if they were made of electricity (which, incidentally, would explain a lot), insist on sleeping in their underwear (even when it’s 10 below outside), and no matter how early I got them to crawl under their covers, manage to stay awake past 10:00.

Nor, in my pre-mom dreams, did I ever yell utter this phrase:

“Okay, boys, I mean it—NO CARD TRICKS IN BED!”

Oh, pre-mom Paula—dear, naive pre-mom Paula… if you could see me now…

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Finding Time—Without Going Cuckoo

So you’ve probably noticed that it’s now been two days since I posted anything.

Believe me, people, I’m trying. I really am.

After BlissDom, one of my takeaways was that I need to be more consistent and post EVERY DAY.

And with my (sister’s) suitcase not even unpacked yet (Yes, I realize it’s been two weeks), I have already failed. In fact, I think I’m more sporadic now than ever.

Tonight, as I fretted about not knowing what to write about and feeling pressured to produce something somewhat worthy of Google Reader, I began wondering: How in the h-e-double hockey sticks do all these other women post so consistently? And not only post, but post stuff that’s good.

Because here was my day, people. This is what I had to work with.

6:45 – Wake up to Husband’s alarm clock and curse my iPhone alarm clock app which has failed to go off at my requested time of 5:20 AGAIN. Go downstairs to try to finish a freelance proofing project that I had fallen asleep working on the night before.

7:00 – Husband asks, “Are you ready to go?” (Let me back up here. My van has been in the shop for 9 days now. Some sort of electrical short in the heater blower. Long story short, I haven’t heard from the shop since Friday, and I’m pretty sure my van has been kidnapped. But I really don’t want to rush paying the $500+ I’m going to have to shell out, so I don’t call them either. Now it’s become a battle of the wills.) Since we are a one-car family right now, I have to take Husband to work and then come home to take the boys to school. This morning, I chauffer him to work still wearing my pink sock monkey pajamas.

8:30 – Since we have a one-hour late start each Wednesday for teacher in-service, I tell Boy #2 it’s time to go to school. Since arriving home from taking Husband to school, I have managed to finish my proofing job, shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth. Boy #2 starts whining that his throat hurts because of his coughing. I don’t doubt that it does, but he’s a bit of a hypochondriac when it comes to going to school lately. However, after a bout of “the runs” (him, not me) I tell him I will take his brother to school first and make sure his stomach is better before I take him.

9:00 – Boy #1 complains that it’s not fair that Boy #2 doesn’t have to go to school right away. Yelling between brothers ensues. I push everyone into the car and drive toward the middle school.

9:05 – Boy #1 tells me to stop at the gas station to get him gum. I tell him no. Disrespectful comments follow. Then a little yelling by me. I love the middle school years.

9:15 – I call Boy #2’s school to tell them that he will be arriving late and get the answering machine. I leave a message.

9:20 – I get a slightly condescending-tone-“What’s going on?” call from Boy #2’s school secretary, who I do not think believes that Boy #2 has medical issues that cause him to miss school and arrive late at times (which unfortunately he does). I tell her that I just left a message. She says, “That’s funny; we don’t have any messages.” I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m irresponsible AND now a liar.

9:30 – I walk Boy #2 in to school. The secretaries give me the “bad parent” look. I’m used to it. Boy #2 gets his pass, on which he’s marked “tardy,” and I walk him to his locker. He then realizes that his jeans have been completely unbuttoned AND unzipped, and I discreetly help him hitch up his britches before he heads to class. On the way back by, I stop back in the office and inquire as to why Boy #2 was marked “tardy.” Explanations follow. The secretaries now hate me more than ever.

9:40 – I drop Boy #3 off at daycare and don’t make it out the door before he’s picked his nose and wiped a booger on the snack table.

9:45 – I get a call about the ETA of my freelance proofing project. I say I am driving there as we speak. I arrive at 10:00 and drop it off.

10:15 – I walk in to Husband’s school to deliver his wallet, which he had left on the dresser.

10:45 – I finally arrive at my job—you know, where they pay me. To work. I proofread the Teacher’s Edition of a grammar textbook until 2:30 and drink 3 cups of coffee to keep me awake while doing it.

2:30 – I leave work to pick up Boy #2 from school. After shopping at the book fair, we leave to go pick up Boy #3 from daycare. He’s excited because I have bought them both a Kit-Kat, which I hand to him before driving off. He immediately drops the Kit-Kat on the floor and commences to yell. I drive with one hand, the other hand feeling around on the floor behind me for the precious chocolate stick. Feeling it, I hand it back to Boy #3, trying not to think about the grit that is likely stuck to it.

4:00 – I get a text from Boy #1 (from his friend’s phone since my son’s the ONLY middle-schooler without a phone) asking if he can get off the bus at his friend’s house.

4:30 – I have been home 30 minutes when Husband calls and asks me to pick him up from a math competition at a local college. I load Boys #2 and #3 back into the car (since Boy #1 is at his friend’s house), and we make the rush-hour drive to the heart of Des Moines. Oh, and I almost forgot: the dog comes with us too. Because Boy #3 is sure he wants to. I pick up Husband (literally) alongside the road and we head home.

5:15 – I make pasta and salad for supper.

5:30 – Boy #3 asks me if he can clean the bathroom, which would be music to my ears if I didn’t know that it was just an excuse to get things wet. But I agree, and he actually works pretty hard on it. The floor is sopping wet and the mirror is a little difficult to see into now that it is covered in streaks from top to bottom, but he’s so proud of himself that I just heap on the praise.

6:15 – We wolf down the meal in 3 minutes. Well, all of us except Boy #1, who is due home at 6:30.

6:30 – Boy #1 arrives home (on time!), and I announce that I’m going to the coffee shop to try to get some work done. Begging, pleading, and guilt-inducing comments fly. Finally, I give in and say that I will stay home if I am guaranteed some peace and quiet so I can concentrate and try to write.


6:40 – Boy #3 is sitting on top of me in the recliner, asking me to put a Band-Aid on his lip. Boy #1 is arguing with his dad about geometry. Boy #2 is by my side asking if he can show me “just one more” magic trick. Boy #1 then yells at Boy #2 to be quiet. “Mom’s trying to work!!!” (If only tweens understood the extent of their irony.) I ask for headphones. Boy #1 finds me a pair, and I try to drown out the house with some Vivaldi. It doesn’t work. I go upstairs to sit in my room. Husband is there on his computer, talking to his students in an online tutoring session. After approximately 3 minutes of calcuspeak quiet, Boy #3 opens our bedroom door and comes in to “whisper a magic trick” of his own. I try to write and listen to him perform his card trick. Doesn’t work. Multitasking and creativity are not bosom buddies.

And suddenly it’s bedtime. I check homework. I read to Boy #2 while he sprawls halfway on, halfway off my bed, which in my current state of mind, drives me flippin’ crazy. (Especially after I’ve already told him twice to stay on the bed!) Boy #3 falls asleep in his underwear beside me in my bed. Boy #1 takes a shower and then proceeds to yell, “Mom! Towel!” when he’s done. Funny how they never think about the fact that they might want to dry off BEFORE they actually step into the shower. I grab a towel off the bathroom floor, give it the sniff test, and hand it to him. That’s what you get for not planning ahead! Then I wait until I am officially allowed into his room so as to not catch him in his nakedness (because apparently I’ve never seen him in his natural state), and I clear a spot on his chair so I can sit and read. I get one page read when he barks at me to turn off the light because it “makes it hard for him to breathe after he takes a shower.” Whatever in the heck that means. I inform him that it will be impossible for me to read without a light, and he actually tries to argue with me a little about that fact. (Besides being full of irony, tweens are also completely illogical.) Finally, we go into my room, where I can turn the overhead light off and my lamp on. I guess lamplight isn’t as suffocating as overhead light. I read a few pages of our current book, and Boy #1 heads to bed.

And here we are. It’s 9:30, I’m tired, and I feel about as creative as generic toilet paper.

So tell me, how do all these women do it?

And if you’re one of these women, how do you do it?

How do you find the time, the energy, and the creative spirit to produce good content every single day? You know, aside from illegal drugs or potentially prosecutable child neglect?

Image copyright carlsilver
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Monday, You’re Hanging by a Sheldon…

Well, Monday, you’ve done it again. It’s been one of “those days,” you smug little cliché. I know you’re smiling, Monday, but really, it’s not funny. You’re sooooo predictable. I mean, seriously, step out of the box once in a while, will ya? It’s getting pretty old. Sheesh.

Here was my day, Monday, just so ya know:

  • The first thing I heard upon descending the stairs this morning was “Mom, the dog pooped on the floor!” And of course, cleaning it up is in my job description.
  • As we were scrambling to get out the door (already running late), Boy #2 piped up, “Mom! Today’s the 100th day of school! I have to bring 100 of something in a bag!” So I had to shove a box of Froot Loops at him so he could count and bag them on the two-block drive, all the while whining that he’s not going to get them counted before we get to the drop-off line. (He did, just in the nick of time.)
  • Backing out of the driveway on my second trip to drop off kids, being careful not to back into the huge garbage can that couldn’t be put on the curb because, well, we have no curb right now, just 4-foot walls of rock-hard snow, I managed to miss it with the bumper but instead caught it with the side mirror. Although I didn’t hit it hard, it still managed to put a little crack in the mirror. (Yeah, sorry, Husband. I know this is the first you’re hearing of this. Whoops!)
  • On the way to drop Boy #1 off at middle school I ask him if he ate breakfast like I’d told him to. He informed me that yes, he’d had a cupcake. On a day they’re taking standardized tests. And then when I asked him if he’d brushed his teeth, I received this answer: “With my finger.” Translation: “No, no I didn’t, Mom.”
  • Before I could drop Boy #3 off at daycare, I had to sit in the parking lot and sew on the leg of a SpongeBob doll that he had gotten this weekend at our school’s “Hell Fun Night” so he could sleep with it at nap time (and so he wouldn’t cry and cling to my leg as I was trying to leave). And yeah, I don’t sew. I had to search high and low to even locate a needle. Poor SpongeBob’s leg is back on, but it’s about an inch shorter than his other one, and his shorts are kind of gathered at the bottom now, resembling bloomers.
  • When I finally got to work, I realized I had no makeup on so had to spend five minutes “putting on my face” in the car so I didn’t have to spend the day assure all of my coworkers that no, I hadn’t been punched in the eyes this weekend.
  • Sitting down at my desk, I pulled the power cord for my laptop out of my bag and realized it is now missing a prong. Excellent! It still works, fortunately, but I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of fire hazard. Either that or I’m going to experience what it’s like to get electrocuted very, very soon.
  • I had to drive home from work in—you guessed it!—snow. I’m so sick of snow. And because our minivan is still operating with no heat or defrost, I’m driving Husband’s car, which I have now maimed twice in the past month. So slipping and sliding is not high on my list of things I enjoy doing.
  • Because I have so much to do before heading to BlissDom on Wednesday, I headed to the coffee shop to work at 6 tonight. After seeing all my usual tables filled, I opted for a place in the corner. I soon realized this was not a good choice as I could see a couple practically making out on a couch to my left. Seriously, they were nearly horizontal, kissing and caressing. It wasn’t pretty. And it was a teensy bit hard to concentrate with all the fondling going on in my peripheral vision. *Shudder*
  • Fortunately, the couple soon left, presumably to head to their dorm room where they could slobber on each other without an audience of caffeine-fueled geeks (like me). However, right after they left I was joined by a group of 6 middle-aged men who set up shop right at the table right in front of me. Apparently, there is strife in the church, and they were hashing it out. Have I mentioned how much I hate conflict? Even well-constrained conflict makes me want to hide. Um, and this went on for THREE HOURS.
  • The only other person on this side of the coffee shop was a woman, who I thought wouldn’t bother me, but proved me wrong. At one point she walked up to the group of men who were heavy in discussion so she could interrupt and give them her unsolicited advice as to what they should do. Uh, yeah… Awkward silence followed. And I wanted to crawl under the table. As the icing on the cake, her cell phone later rang in what was a volume that I had never before experienced in my life. Honestly, I think my heart stopped for just a second. And it was one of the annoying default ringtones too. Funny thing is, she didn’t even look embarrassed. Not even when it rang AGAIN TWO MINUTES LATER. JUST AS LOUD! I kid you not. Wow.

So now it’s 8:40 and I still have a list of things to do that makes me want to cry. And the coffee shop closes at 9:00.

Although, maybe I should be happy about that…

Thanks a lot, Monday. If it weren’t for The Big Bang Theory, I’d be done with you for good.

But heed this warning, Monday: If CBS moves it to Tuesday nights, you and I are through.

Photo copyright CBS
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Birds, Bees, and Boys

It’s the moment moms dream of…hanging out with the family, sharing some quality time, when all of a sudden your soon-to-be 8-year-old son blurts out:

“Mom, what’s a boner?”


I wanted to run away screaming, not just because I wasn’t in the mood to have the “birds and the bees” discussion but also because the word “boner” is such a gross word, when it’s coming out of the mouth of one of the characters in Porky’s and especially when it’s coming from the mouth of your innocent second-grader.

But I tried to hide my prudish disgust surprise and attempted to quiet him down so I didn’t have to explain it to the 5-year-old too. “I’ll tell you a little later,” I assured him.

Obviously, “a little later” was not soon enough, because an hour later, booming through the living room came Boy #2’s husky voice, “I asked, what’s a boner?”

This time, I realized I really needed to have “the talk.” Partly because he had asked twice. And partly because after just hearing the term “friends with benefits” on TV, he actually defined the phrase for me—correctly—when asked.


I’d like to interject here and ask if you’ve noticed that it’s me, the MOM, who is having “the talk” with the boys. Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that either. I thought I was off the hook since I didn’t have daughters. But I told Husband he needed to tell Boy #2 what a boner was and you’d think I’d asked him to show him what one was because he got bright red and completely flustered, stuttering about not knowing what he was supposed to say.

Never mind—I got it! Sheesh.

So we discussed the birds, the bees, and boners. At least as much as I thought he needed to know right now.

“Is there anything else you want to know?” I asked Boy #2 and then held my breath.

“Yeah,” he said as he sat up from my bed where we’d been lying together.

“Okay, what is it?” I asked, bracing myself for more images from Porky’s or maybe Hardbodies.

“Will you play Scrabble Slam with me?”

(Release breath in a silent sigh of relief.)

Image copyright haloocyn
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Forget "Super Mom" . . . I’d Be Happy with "Mediocre Mom"

After Boys #1 and #2 were born, I went back to working full-time. For a year and a half, I even left my house at 5:00 am so I could drive an hour and start working at 6:00. That way I could get off at 3:00 and be home by a little after 4:00. Whew!

My middle sister watched the boys for me until they were old enough to go to school, and even then she would help me take and/or pick up her nephews. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.

Was my house always clean at the time? Definitely not. Did we always have the laundry caught up? Heck no! But at least I had an excuse (or so I thought): I work full-time away from home.

After getting pregnant with Boy #3, I had a bit of what we’ll refer to as a “freak-out” as the thought of working full-time seemed a bit too much for this mom to handle. I knew other moms did it all the time, and did it well. But I also knew I was not “that mom.”

So I worked at a more flexible job as a freelance writer for a marketing agency. I went in to the office most days, and some weeks I worked more than 40 hours, but at least I could go in the evenings or work at home if I needed to. It was better, most of the time.

Fast-forward two years and the agency I was working for decided to close up shop. Fortunately, the company I previously worked for full-time was looking to hire for the same position I had held, only part-time. Perfect. I started out committing to 32 hours a week. Less than 40 but enough to make it worth my while to drive there four days a week. I could do it, I reasoned. After all, my kids were all older now. I had officially been a parent for nearly a decade. I had it under control, right?

Uh, right . . .

I started finding it harder and harder to make 32 hours a week . . . then 20 hours . . . and now I’m struggling to show my face in the office 15 hours each week. Between sick kids, inservice days, and staggered elementary and middle school schedules, it seems that I’m always having to juggle my work schedule to be there for my kids.

Take this week, for instance. I’m on Day 2 of Operation Home With Kids after Boys #1 and #2 both sustained injuries at baseball on Sunday. (If you haven’t already, read why I feel guilty about this.)

Okay, so I’ve been home for two days, and the kids aren’t sick enough to be needing constant attention. I should be able to handle my mom duties, right? I should be able to do everything those “Super Moms” I envy do every day when they’re home with their kids.

But, alas. Weigh, if you will, the evidence: laundry is still stacked halfway to the ceiling in our bathroom, two of the boys have been in their underwear for two days (yep, the same pair), and Boy #3’s main food groups today have been “chocolate” and “peanut butter.”

I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will never be “Super Mom,” but at this point I’m thinking that “Mediocre Mom” or “Hasn’t-Gotten-Her-Children-Taken-Away-Yet Mom” is looking like a lofty goal.

So, is it me? Is it just my personality, or is it something more? Can I blame it on the fact that I’m closer to 40 than 30? Can I blame it on my dilapidated thyroid, or my self-diagnosed ADD? Or should I just quit looking for excuses, suck it up, and try harder? Does everyone else find parenting this hard, or I am just too darn tired?

And if you are one of those “Super Moms,” could you tell me how you do it? (In an effort to be nondiscriminatory, this blog will accept advice both of the legal and illegal kind.) Thank you.

Cute image courtesy of mommytrack’d