Brenda, are you picking the kids up?”

Shoot.  Here I thought I was doing well…
I had muffins in the oven,
 was getting ready to put the fish in the broiler…
just got home from the office and a meeting…
older boys and hubby wouldn’t be home from their practices until 7:45. 
  Plenty of time to unwind and get dinner ready.

I forgot child #4 and the 4-H event I had volunteered for carpool duty.

Score 1 for loser mom.

As I turned off the stove to incubate the half-baked muffins, 
I threw a PB & J at the little guy 
and we were off to meet the other mom before traveling to air-rifle practice.
Geez I thought.  
Just when it felt like things were slowing down, why is it I can’t keep up?

With our firstborn in college and child#2 nearly out the door 
as a -keeps-track-of-his-own-schedule-18-year-old, 
I sometimes have to remind myself I’m not an empty-nester yet. 
  I mean I still have two other kids who are in the prime of childhood craziness.
  What was I thinking?  I could rest?  Silly me.

As I drove the carpool the 12 miles to the local 4-H grounds, I mentally calculated the combined years of activities we have covered thus far:

26 years of basketball
14 years of baseball
9 years of tennis
9 years of band/choir
8 years of piano lessons
6 years of gymnastics
6 years of volleyball
5 years of 4-H
4 years of soccer
3 years of track
2 years of cross-country
And we still have 12 years combined of multiple extracurricular activities with the remaining children still at home. 
So, my muffin tops sank,
 the rice got past-y waiting for everyone to come home, 
and I snacked on too many half-priced malted Easter-eggs
Score 2 for loser mom.
I don’t know if it’s getting older, allowing myself to slow down a little, or not being game-on all the time, but three weeks of having no sports has taken me for a loop in getting “back in the swing again.”  And this is all with only three kids at home.  How did I do it with 4 kids, no drivers, working full-time where I was responsible for 170 kids? Not to mention the last three years as I went back to school full-time while traveling over 100 miles a day to and from grad school?
I know how I did it.
  Things were governed by the calendar, 
I had meals in the freezer 
and there was not a minute when I could breathe.
  Even when I sat, I was grading papers,
 reading assignments,
 or filling out some kind of school paperwork.
 I ran 2 miles a day just to have 30 minutes to myself. 
 Multitasking was my energy drink. 
Now, I actually allow myself to sit.  Just sit.  Sometimes, I even drink coffee (scandalous, I know).  I’ve forced myself to do one task at a time when needed.  I’ve been trying to teach myself to rest… .. To not have every detail planned ahead. …To be able to go with the flow even if I score #3 as loser mom because I can’t make cinnamon rolls (another story, another time).  Our cookie jar is not as full, we don’t have extra money right now, and there is no arguing over wasted minutes or miscalendar-communication.
But there is more peace, more laughter, more sanity. 
  There’s a time and a place for that.
  For us, now is that time….
As least for the moment. 

  Tomorrow night we’ll be in four different places
 and I’m not sure where child #4 will end up. 
  But he’s old enough to fix ramen noodles and be home by himself.  
In 7 short years, he’ll be out the door,
 and Ronnie and I will be left fixing ramen noodles for ourselves
 because there’s just two of us.
Until then, I’m okay with being a loser mom, 
because I’m a happier, less-stressed mom. 
Seasons come, and seasons go….
and I’m committed to living this season to the fullest.
With a cup of coffee in hand 
and a plate of half-baked muffins.

Wanna join me?

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