Ah, summer. It’s that time of the year again when the days are long and beautiful, families finally get to take their long-awaited vacations, and moms are running ragged trying to keep up with work and the play demands of the kids. I’m sure every such mom can relate to the hysterical email I got today from my fabulous assistant, Cathy.
Cathy went from a high-powered corporate saleswoman to a high-powered, stay-at-home mom. She began working for me part-time when her youngest son, Josh, started Kindergarten and her older son, Jake, started fifth grade. She is an amazing, efficient worker who fearlessly jumps into every task I give her. I especially love the fact that her favorite phrase when given a task is, “I’m on it.”
Cathy has found that her first summer as a working mom has been …interesting, to say the least. On top of being a working mom, her husband, Randy, recently busted his Achilles tendon, which required surgery, a cast, and an order from the doctor not to walk for weeks. Of course, that meant that suddenly Randy was unwillingly but completely dependent on her. Her very hands-on husband suddenly can’t do anything for himself – or to help her.
Cathy had planned to come over to my house today to cut paychecks for my team and tackle a few other urgent tasks that have been piling up. It was a great plan, but it wasn’t meant to be. Enter today’s email. It served as a great reminder to me to keep my cool, have a sense of humor, and keep my perspective – three things that the “working mom machine” needs to keep running smoothly. Enjoy!
Oh my gosh! I’ll say OMG to use cool texting lingo…OMG! I feel like I start 100 tasks and never finish them…
I woke up this morning determined to meet today and any of the little challenges it brought with a happy heart, a smile, and a good attitude. I would be calm and patient and loving. I would be…Supermom. Superwife. And I would do it all with joy in my heart, darn it. And yet – as is often the case, my plans somehow didn’t mesh with reality.
Sooooo…had a list of ‘must-do’ things for you today…hmmm…although I started a bunch of those things, not sure how many of them actually progressed to the status of ‘checked-off’. Don’t worry….this is mostly regarding home stuff rather than work, and yet…
The plan was to get to your house today. To be gone for only 40 minutes or so. But as I started out the door to head to your house… before I go….I start to get Randy set up with all he’ll need – and the phone rings…its someone offering to take Josh for a playdate, which would be great. Then Randy would only have Jake to deal with while I’m at your place. While talking to the friend, I realize the boys have no clean clothes for basketball tonight. So with them on the phone I rush to start laundry –
Get half way through loading the washer and one of kids screams – hang up on friend with a quick “thanks see you soon” and run downstairs and see that they’ve spilled orange Gatorade all over my carpet. I start to clean it and Randy yells for help.
I rush back down to him and remember he’s been waiting all this time for me to bring him his laptop, etc., so he can get started on an urgent work deadline. So I run back up to get that as he yells to bring his meds and a new ice pack, too. I get the meds and ice pack and run it down to him but don’t forget my laptop, he says…
I’m headed for the laptop when I see that I never got the orange Gatorade cleaned up…so start on that again and suddenly remember the laundry never got started… I run upstairs to do that so they’ll be clean in time for tonight – but then while I’m up there I realize that Josh’s ride will be here in 30 minutes but he isn’t dressed and he needs a lunch made for him…
So I lay out his clothes, yelling down for him to hurry up and get dressed. While I’m laying out the clothes I see the bloody socks that Jake had on last night and remember that I never cleaned up his busted toes this morning. So I run down with the Bactine and start on that – and see the Gatorade on the carpet.
I yell to Jake to clean it himself and rush to the kitchen to make Josh a lunch. I get halfway thru that when Randy plaintively calls, “for the love of Pete…I just need my laptop so I don’t miss this deadline!” Oh shoot. Laptop. Run that down to him. He’s annoyed. Which annoys me. Seriously?!
I stomp back up and see that Josh is, of course, not dressed. So I holler at him! I asked you to get dressed! What part of that did you not understand?! The friend now arrives at front door and has to wait while I run frantically upstairs to dress Josh.
He leaves and I’m chasing the car down the drive cuz I realize he left without the lunch I worked so hard to make. Standing in the driveway out of breath and ready to kill someone, I look up and realize that no one ever turned the sprinklers off last night. Been on all night. I realize this because I thought I could walk back up thru my front grass. So now my socks are soaked and stained. I take them off and start to bring them up to the laundry when Jake yells “I’m hungry!” Oh my @$^%! You’ve got to be kidding me! So I yell back…”how old are you anyways?! Get off your booty and figure it out!”
But now Randy has heard Jake yell for food and realizes that I never brought him any food to go with his meds. “I could use some lunch too.” This brings me back to OMG. OMG! So…I inhale deeply and force a sweet smile on my face. “Sure, dear.” But I sense that I might have put a bit too much emphasis on the “dear” and he is now noticing I’m a bit miffed.
“Cath…you ok?” Exhale. Slowly. “Oh. sure. No worries. It’s all good.” Inhale. Make lunch. Bring it down to him. He astutely notices “you seem a bit frazzled today. You sure everything’s ok?”
Inhale. Smile. “Frazzled? Me? Nah. It’s all good.”
His reply: “I thought you were headed to Shaunti’s.” Aaaugh. That’s right. I was. Breathe.
I head up to grab my briefcase, and as I do I hear a loud bump and then an “aghh.”
I run into Randy’s office and he’s grimacing in pain. He’s hit his foot on the table. Frustration is replaced with empathy. Then concern because as I look at his foot I notice that it is bruising almost as I’m looking at it. Well…you can only see the toes, but they are blue and a bruise has now formed just above the binding. I run up and call the doc. They will call back as soon as they can. So we have to wait.
While waiting…Jake has miraculously decided that he’ll finally clean out that nasty cooler that we asked him to do a week ago. He’s feeling guilty apparently. Or maybe worried, as he sees me running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Anyhow. In doing this, apparently somehow he cuts his hand…no clue how…I mean really…no clue…but there it is. It’s bleeding pretty good. OMG! Just really seems like the only thing to say right now.
So I help him get that cleaned up. We bandage it and I realize: I still haven’t made it to your house. Again…augh..
I head back to check on Randy. Still waiting to hear from nurse. Pain subsided, but bruising has increased. Why didn’t I go to nursing school? As I wait for the doc’s call, I sit down to type you this email and ask if you’ll mind if I postpone ‘til tomorrow. And instead of a quick little email…I slow down…exhale…let the Gatorade carpet, the unfinished laundry, the half cleaned stinky cooler, the bleeding child, the injured hubby…all of it…I just let it all go for a minute. Ahhh. I breathe again. So I sit down to write you a quick little email. Just a quick email to fill you in and what do you get instead? Oh just a little chatty Cathy pouring everything out instead!
Anyhow… All that to say…Don’t think I’ll make it by today.