Life, Overwhelming

by Katy on September 8, 2010 · 24 comments

Try as I might to live my life otherwise, my life can get overwhelming. Balancing parenthood, daughterhood, my job as a labor and delivery nurse, writing a daily blog and my own personal needs can get close to impossible. And as much as I think I’m on top of the details of my life, there’s always something to knock me off my high horse of competence.

School started yesterday for Portland students, but don’t think for a minute that just because my kids are now in 7th and 9th grade that parenting them is any easier than when they were in diapers. I want them to go off to school on time, well rested, fed and with all the various required paraphernalia.

Instead, both kids left at the very last minute, only one got a proper amount of sleep, both drank tea, but only one ate breakfast, (a stick of overly packaged string cheese after he decided that he didn’t really wanted Raisin Bran) and I now see that my 9th grader’s textbooks and the 7th grader’s pencils and spider (it’s for science) are sitting on the dining room table.

I just want to cry.

However, they both were dressed, teeth brushed, on time, caffeinated, (don’t judge) loved and with a packed school lunch.

I have to work tomorrow and Friday, and am feeling very overhwhelmed.

Here’s what I’m going to do.

  • Shower, (Aquatic think tank.)
  • Write a need to do/ want to do list.
  • Plug into a good audio book while I clean house. Seriously, my bathroom is F.U.N.K.Y.
  • Plan for tomorrow to be better.

Because there’s nothing I can do about the past, I can only change the future. And make sure there’s something in my day that’s just for me. Because otherwise, I might just have to take to bed.

Oy vey.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Mittelstaedt September 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

I agree! I’m still getting into the back to school thing myself. Overslept this am until 7.22, had 1 kid to get to school by 8, another by 9. Only thing that saved my cookies is that clothes were laid out, lunches were packed, and 8yo was already up and ticky-ticking on her computer. We made it on time, but I still feel like I’m rushing.


Jean Mittelstaedt September 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

And our “living creature”? Never even got one. So you did better than we did. 🙂


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl September 8, 2010 at 8:35 am

I’ve never had to get kids out the door for school, but I can imagine that it’s very stressful in it’s own way.

On the upside, you do get a day of quiet to recuperate from the morning’s rush. lol


Laura September 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

We had a crazy first day of school, too. Three kids in three different schools with three different schedule, crazy traffic around all the schools, plus after-school care for some kids, and it was a wild day. While they were at school I spent the entire time running around getting the grocery shopping done for the week. I can so empathize about the no “me time.” I thought I was going to either start screaming by the end of the day, or collapse into a puddle of tears. But it’s better today and will continue to get better as we get the school year going.

Hope today goes better for you!


Molly On Money September 8, 2010 at 9:15 am

We are into our second week of school out here. Why they decided to push the start of school into August where it’s still very hot IN THE DESERT is beyond me!
It does get better- I’m humming along right now!


Lisa September 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

Put yourself at the top of your list. Start by patting yourself on the back and telling yourself that you did your best ( and that your best is good enough). Lower your expectations. I can hear you say, “But, but….”. I’m not suggesting that you relax to the point of not caring. All I’m saying is to ask yourself, “How important is it?” whenever anything bugs you. Usually things aren’t when considered within the grand scheme of life. Enjoy your day!


Susan September 8, 2010 at 9:46 am

I totally get this. Zac’s first day of school went well. Jonathon took him to school and picked him up. Today, well, Jonathon is in Florida. I got Ruby ready, everyone fed and out the door to childcare, school and me to kettlebells. Between yesterday and today I focused on picking up the downstairs, folded all the laundry, vacuumed the stairs, cleaned the bathroom and the sink…because a friend wants to drop by for lunch. I almost said no to this friend because cleaning everything so that I don’t get grossed out that someone actually saw the stove top looking like that was overwhelming.

Is it naptime yet?!


WilliamB September 8, 2010 at 9:50 am

I think you’re doing the right thing by coming up with a plan to make it go better next time. There’s a quote in a Lois McMaster Bujold book where the protagonist, Miles Vorkosigan, says that he has occasionally achieved the blinding light of competence but it was maintaining that altitude that escaped him.


connie September 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

You are needed more as a mom (to teenagers) than you ever were when they were toddlers. Their friends need you too. Just remember they watch your every move. They don’t really listen as much as they watch.

Be kind to yourself and delegate to that cool husband of yours. You want them to “model after” their awesome dad so clearly and concretely ask for his help. 🙂
A small smile when they complain that they forgot something doesn’t hurt either. (No I told ya so’s, they won’t hear it anyway)
It’s their logical consequence -not your gray hair. 🙂


Katy September 8, 2010 at 10:50 am


Please know that my husband worked a 23 hour shift in emergency services yesterday, and is working a 12 hour shift today that started at 3:00 A.M. I give him a “get out of household duties” card on days like this.

And I did explain to my high school that I would not be driving his textbooks across town for him. He got spoiled in elementary school when we lived a block from school and I was always willing to bring stuff over if it was needed.

And the grey hair? How did you know!



Katy September 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

Um . . . “high school son.”



connie September 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm

my comment was I guess a feeble attempt at a compliment- to you and your cool husband/ awesome dad. It wasn’t a slam but an attempt to get you to be kinder to yourself.
my husband & I have an empty nest now for the first time this fall and I remember how hard I was on myself at the start of school.
enjoy the sunshine, the teenagers, the spouse.
it gets too quiet too quickly.
-warmly, connie


Katy September 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm


I understood that. 🙂


Alane September 8, 2010 at 11:39 am

Sounds like my life. My boys were two grades apart. The youngest eating breakfast was always a hassle. So I pack some poptarts or an extra sandwich everyday and leave it to him to figure out when he can scarf it down. As far as the forgotten items. As much as I hated doing it I had to adopt the ” too bad” attitude. After a few punishments from teachers they learned to make sure they always had their school stuff when they left. ( a quick ” do you have everything”) when they were heading out helps too.


Leah September 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

My kids are in college now, but how I remember it, the first day of school I was always right on top of everything! But then days 2-185 everything fell apart.

I think that is the norm, and part of the reason for that is that kids have to eventually learn that it is up to them to be well rested, well fed, have what they need, and get where they are going on time. If you always do it all for them, then they never learn this. So you are doing just great to not have everything be smooth for them every minute – that is their job not yours!


Tracy Balazy September 8, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I like your designation of the shower as the “aquatic think tank”!


Hiptobeme September 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Oh. Good to know it’s not just ’cause i am a rookie at this school thing. My son is in grade one. Oy.


Becky September 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

So happy you posted this today. Overwhelmed has been my constant state for the last few weeks and seems as though it will be hanging around for a while. I will attempt a plan similar to yours, so as to come out in one piece on the other end of this crazy time. Good for you to remember the positives – they’re dressed, teeth brushed, have lunch, etc. With my 5, 3, and 1 year old; sometimes having everyone (including me!) still be alive at the end of the day is a success.


Katy September 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Hey all,

In the end, the day was not all that bad. My older son survived without his textbooks, and it turns out that the spider experiment was due tomorrow anyway. I had both the boys double check their backpacks before going to bed, and I mailed off a package to Japan that I started to assemble in January. (As well as the last two blog giveaway books!)

I did have a point where I was so frazzled that I locked myself out of the house on my way pick up my son from high school. I was able to weasel my way back into the house, and my husband was leaving work right then anyway and thankfully grabbed the boy on his way home.

And both boys did their homework immediately after coming home, and my older son even vacuumed his room. (Pod people?)

I wrote out a lengthy to-do list, which I tackled most of. I did take a moment to lie down and read my library book, which ended up as a nap.

Tomorrow’s school lunches are made, all the laundry is washed and put away, I decluttered through a pile of old receipts, swept and vacuumed the house, ran errands, scooped the litter box, made dinner, cleaned up from dinner, went to the library and credit union, (twice) and listened to a pretty good audio book.

But . . . there was no cleaning of the bathroom. That’s just nasty.



Kim September 9, 2010 at 3:40 am

Wow you had a productive day! I love reading your blog an other mom blogs. It reminds me that I’m not alone in the back to school race. Yesterday I got the teacher husband out the door, then the Jr high kid on the bus, followed by the two elementary kids. I intended to clean but spent the day playing with the toddler instead. My only domestic task was homemade pizza, and we were all so tired we went to bed early and fell asleep quickly. Today is a new day, maybe the cleaning will get done?


Jinger September 9, 2010 at 4:47 am

From an older woman who once lived your life, I say, relax….life is very short, you will come to find out and some things rarely matter in the end…what does matter are the sweet small moments of happiness and joy that you can find in each and every day. Don’t be so hard on yourself.


Natalie September 9, 2010 at 6:28 am

Great post! I’m glad I’m not the only one with busy, busy days!


Carla September 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

Just a suggestion about cleaning in general: I do not like to try cleaning everything on one day. I’m old and my body purely aches when I try it. For me, choosing a single largish chore for each day of the week works pretty well. Today I vacuumed. Tomorrow I’ll clear and wipe down kitchen countertops and the stove. Monday will be a general pick up and dust; Tuesday, clean bathrooms; Wednesday, grocery shop. As the years have gone by I’ve found this works better for my needs than any other system I’ve tried . Yeah, the floors may need it pretty bad by Wednesday but they rarely get so awful I don’t want to step on them.

One other suggestion on those harried days when your teen cannot seem to get out of bed in timely fashion and everybody is in a screaming rush to get out the door: whizz up breakfast shakes with whatever nutritious ingredients you and they find easy and palatable. It beats a Pop Tart.


Susan September 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I think “loved” is the most important item on the list. Good for you and them.


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