Help Wanted

April 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop | 29 Comments
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It happens every day. At 2:42 p.m. Or thereabouts.

Mommy loses it.

It starts just after I pick up Lollipop from school. We pull into the driveway and tumble out of the car in various stages of undress. Because somebody couldn’t make it the three minutes home without shedding their socks. Or headband. Or pants.

Counting …

… my …

We burst into the house like the prelude to a fireworks show. Pop! … Pop! … Pop! … Only instead of smoke and color, we leave behind backpacks and sticky lunchboxes. Torn wisps of a junk-mail envelope. Acorns. Shriveled dandelions. A collection of seeds and a few slimy tissues.

Then somebody wants a snack. Goldfish. No, Cheerios. No, goldfish and Cheerios. Not the Honey Nut kind, the other kind. In the green bowl. No, in the yellow bowl. The other yellow bowl.

Then somebody else wants goldfish and Cheerios and it’s not fair that he got them fiiiiiiiiiiiirst.

Then somebody needs a bottom wiped. Or a booger extricated. Or a mosquito bite calamined.

Or a Barbie dress buttoned.

Or a marble removed from a matchbox car.

Or a marker lid fished out of the dog water.

Or a sticker unstuck from the kitchen table.

Or a pencil sharpened.

Or the yucky brown spot cut off the banana.

Or some batteries replaced.

… chaotic …

… blessings.

Or some pretend-cupcakes put in the real oven to pretend-cook.

Or a stamp for a letter that may or may not be a blank sheet of paper.

Or more goldfish and Cheerios in the yellow bowl (no, the other yellow bowl) that is now lodged under the couch. Between a giant dust bunny and the very last shred of my sanity.

And I invariably say something like, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, just go play outside!” Or “My ears can’t take it anymore!” Or “Mommy needs QUIET!” Or “Just go and watch TV and leave me ALONE for 5 minutes!”

And I think Did I really just order my children to watch television?

I hate that it comes to that. What’s more, I hate that it comes to that so often.

Tiny hands tugging on my shirt, always tugging.

Demands, some polite, yes. But some … not.

Shrill voices trying to out-shrill each other for my attention.

Tears. Fighting. Noise.


Laundry that’s fluffing. Again.

Dinner that’s half-cooked or over-cooked. Or PBJ … again.

Mommy who’s grumpy. Again.

By the time my husband walks in the door, I’m ready to lock myself in our dark closet and curl up with my son’s yellow blankie. I crave silence. Darkness. Sensory deprivation. Recharged batteries. Sanity.

Oh, sweet sanity.

Help Wanted: How do you negotiate the blessing that is a chaotic family? How do you keep a fingernail’s hold on inner peace? And how many times have you locked yourself in a dark, quiet room?


“W” is for Help Wanted … See more Ws at Jenny’s on Thursday.

Jenny Matlock



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  1. Isn’t it awesome(tongue in cheek?) It’s very much the same here, with less boogers, and diapers, but the out screeching? some days that still happens here. Sad but true. Now that they get home at different times? I can spread out the snacks a bit. I do hope you get some “you” time. Maybe go shopping alone!

  2. Most days we spend some time (15 minutes, an hour?) outside before tumbling into the house trailing demands and socks. Often, not always, the tone is less shrill after play. But I do have to plan ahead and pack a snack and too bad I brought the Cheerios but not the crackers and no yellow bowl.

    And oh my yes. The quiet closet sounds nice. Except mine are all full of the things I need to sort and fix and throw away (in dark of night).

  3. I worked outside of the home, so had a daily break from my kids. But that break was often filled with guilt for not being there, and resentment for not having a choice! But I do understand the chaos and need for “me” time to regain sanity! So I started something that became a yearly tradition. The Friday of Mother’s Day weekend, my husband too the kids and LEFT! They went away for the weekend! I spent Friday night cleaning house (because I like a clean house and knew it would stay that way), slept in on Saturday and read the paper in bed, went to dinner and a movie Saturday night with a girlfriend, slept in again on Sunday. Hubby and kids came home Sunday afternoon, and took me to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day. It was perfect. I got some much needed “me” time, and by Sunday was missing them and ready for them to come home.

    • Fluffy Bunny Daddy, are you reading this?? Hint, hint, hint.

  4. YUP, I feel you. Except you’re good, I’m more like “Just go and watch TV and leave me ALONE for 60 minutes.” Sensory deprivation sounds nice. I’m not sure how I maintain my sanity, every night I just reset with sleep and take a deep breath in the morning and do it all again. Day. After. Day.

  5. Some days are like that. Breathe. You are an amazing mom and you can do anything, breathe.

  6. oh Stacia! Im just beginning to feel this with the litlle one finally here. I always try and tell myself its “momentary” and these “moments” will be gone before we know it! It is hard in those times where we feel as if we want to scream at them at the top of our lungs! And trying to remain sane in those moments is very hard. We all struggle, you are not alone, Momma. It means we just need to make more of an effort to get out for our “me time”.

  7. You put into words how I feel so often. Sometimes it’s so hard to take that deep breath and be the mom I want to be.

  8. The kids had tennis after school so we had our own version of this scenario that played out 90 minutes later than it usually does. On our constant highlight reel: chain reaction of purposely injuring one another, begging for candy and/or popsicles, middle child yelling “I need a wipe” as I crack open a cold DC, tussles over why first grader needs to do his homework, empty threats that I will turn off the television, prayers that spring (that does not involve any more rain or flooding) will finally freaking arrive. As ever, you get all the details right, my friend!

    • Yeah, I figured my DC consumption warranted a whole other post all its own, so I didn’t even bother to mention it here. Raising my 20-ounce in solidarity, friend! ❤

      Sent from my iPhone

  9. I’m going to say this and you may hate me for it, but: It’s so temporary. It’s like pregnancy: all-encompassing without a light at the end of the tunnel and WHEN WILL IT BE OVER FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?!? And then? The baby is born and the pregnancy is over and you kinda… sorta… miss it. And you wonder “why did I wish it away when I had it and it was so temporary?” and you remember “Oh yeah. Because it sucked a lot of the time and it hurts my heart and my back and my feet and my brain” but then you remember… the tiny pushes and gentle swishes and time spent feeling so utterly connected to your unborn child…

    This is a stage. It is BRIEF. It is all-encompassing right now, because you are in the Shitty Thick of it, but it will pass, regardless of what you try to do to speed it up or slow it down. So my recommendation, as a mom who has only just recently crossed the line out of tiny kid-dom is to keep as much of a perspective on the impermanence of life as you possibly can. Do what you have to do to get through the days and remember to always take as many moments as you can to snapshot and laugh at the ridiculousness of parenting little kids. It’s INSANITY. Pure and simple. Take lots and lots of time to yourself, as much as you can, so that you can MISS THEM. It’s lovely to come home and have them run to you because you WEREN’T THERE and where were you, Mama?

    You got this.

  10. I hope you don’t mind, but I am linking to this post through Facebook today. I survived this stage of life (and you will, too, I promise), but you so eloquently put into words what most of us moms feel on a daily basis when surrounded by our children. Oh, and I love Tracey’s comment above…”the Shitty Thick of it” stage really is brief, even when it doesn’t feel like it will ever end.

  11. I literally thought of you yesterday, because I was having one of those days too (and emailed my girlfriend who has 2 little ones and said “You and I really need to do our getaway sooner rather than later), and I have just one kid and he’s 9. The endless questioning and negotiating and nagging exhaust me and what is worse is that maybe somewhere along the line I’d told myself that “8” is the magic number – 8 is when it all gets easier. (Ok, I am venting here and did not mean to discourage you! In many ways it does get a lot easier but I guess that feeling that your head is spinning will always be part of the territory.)

    I have never done a getaway but my friend and I are now planning one – just an overnighter or so. Now that my son is older it helps A LOT that he plans his own play dates, or, if I am needing time, I will just go into my room and tell him that I need my own time for about an hour or so. When he was younger I am not sure what I did…I was one of those mothers who thought she needed to be with her kids 100% of the time (looking back I would have done things differently)…my husband did help by taking our son out for an afternoon. I wonder if you can get a baby sitter or mother’s helper once in a while, just to free things up for you a little?

    Hugs, Stacia. Fantastic post. I’m glad you wrote in here.


  12. Life seems to get so uncontrolable sometimes, but it will change! I think the hardest thing is when you do not have any time for yourself. Sounds like you need a girl’s weekend. You just have to make it happen!

  13. This is the rehearshal for the grands, but it’s better then coz you can love them dearly and give them back when your beat – no need for a closet to curl up in. I love grandparenting.

  14. i enjoyed reading this. :]

  15. terrific post! Just love it! What I hate about most Mommy blogs is when they write only about the precious — the angelic in their children which is mostly fantasy and dishonest in may ways…but THIS is real, and don’t I know it. Don’t we all know it at some point, especially when the little ones are little. Yes, I have commanded television and am guiltily loving computer time — it seems to stretch out longer and longer, especially in the summer when there’s nothing to do and every other kid is in camp and it’s me facing my kids and we all start scratching at each other like made cats.:)

  16. All I can give you is a virtual ((hug)) because I am going through it myself now with my 4. I recommend that you organise an evening out by yourself. Even if it is just going and having a coffee at a bookstore. Just getting away for a few hours gives you a break… by the by I use to run away by myself and do the groceries when my girls were babies. And I would take long slow walks through the aisles. It helped try it have your hubby babysit.

  17. Ok I am now past childhood in the sense that that the kids are now 21-28 this year.
    All I can say is enjoy the chaos , enjoy the impromptu hugs and randomness of children .
    Believe me I am sat here waiting for 2nd grandchild to be born and I am only 50

  18. Oh my, I so remember those chaotic, wonderful days!

  19. When our first son was a toddler and I was home with him all day and my husband was in the Army, we had a deal. i handed him our son as soon as he walked in the door and vanished for 15 minutes of quiet time. He was not allowed to come home late.

  20. sorry. I don’t have any suggestions. But no children either. I don’t know how mommies do it! {:-Deb

  21. Those are the days!
    (which will become the days of nostalgia–Oh! when the children were young!)
    such lovely poetic dismantling, feeding, and cry for help!
    Yes, I know. Poetry is lovely. But you are asking for HELP! and NOW! if you please!
    Listen. It’s important to have time to nurture yourself–alone–no matter how many few minutes.
    If I could do it over, I’d be less frantic, less concerned about the smaller details (clean house, for example), play more, laugh more, enjoy the moments–oh those precious moments that fly away so fast in retrospect.
    sending hugs!

  22. What a great post and so well-written. I think most SAHMs have been there.


  23. Whatever you do, DON’T feel guilty. It only adds to the stress. Everyone is tired at the end of the day. Your family is normal. :))

  24. You are feeling totally normal. I’m sure bankers don’t like their jobs 24/7. Moms shouldn’t have to feel like they should love their job 24/7 either.

  25. I can totally relate to Wanting a little peace and quiet…

    It can be very overwhelming When you have a bunch of Wild ones running around and I don’t think there is anything Wrong With the Way you are feeling…

    This is a very Well-Written post for the letter W…

    Wonderful job, thanks for linking!


  26. love this post and keep coming back to it. I’ld like to use it in upcoming issue of The Woven Tale Press. You can see current issue here:

    if interested, email me at referencing this post. Nicely done.

  27. […] Raise three kind, creative, patient, helpful, empathetic children while maintaining my sanity, marriage, and hidden cache of […]

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