How am I Failing Kindergarten?
Wow. Just. Wow.
Ellie started Kindergarten this Fall and I feel as unprepared and blindsided for the torrent of information and schedule management that is now required of me as I did when I embarked on the lovely journey of exclusively breastfeeding and working in network news. I honestly thought exclusively breastfeeding Ellie would totally and absolutely negate any of the logistical interference it had in my day. And I really thought things would get easier to manage when Ellie started school. I can officially say I was categorically wrong on both counts.
WHY DIDN’T ANYONE WARN ME THAT WHEN THEY STARTED SCHOOL IT WOULD BE A LOT TO MANAGE?!?!?!
Okay…people warned me. And I dismissed them. To the people I dismissed. I apologize. You were very right. All of you.
“Come on!” I smugly thought. “How hard can this be?…I managed hundreds of elements for a live morning show and only f**ked up, like, 8% of the time. School calendars and schedules and homework? They’ve got nothing on that.”
Little did I know, when opening my daughter’s “school to home” folder, I would get the same crush of anxiety I used to get when the babysitter would text me on my way home from work telling me, “SHE’S SCREAMING. WHEN ARE YOU GETTING HOME? I DON’T THINK I CAN HOLD HER OFF MUCH LONGER TO NURSE.” And then I would walk through through the door, out of breath from sprinting down 10th Avenue with breast pump and purse in tow, to find Ellie sucking down a bottle as I looked down at my aching chest. My only option was to angrily plug the damn pump into the damn wall and beg the sitter to stay another 20 minutes so she could hold Ellie while I finished…angrily pumping.
At that time, I consistently felt like I sucked…at…oh the whole shebang.
But after that phase wore off, for a brief period of time, I felt like I had things down. A routine if you will. And, the anxious hyper-planner that I am, I also had plans A, B, C, D, E and F.
And now, well, the actions are different but the underlying emotion is the same – I was unprepared for the fact that I would get this overwhelming feeling that I wished there were two of me. (3 or 4 would be AH-MAZING) One to tend to aaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll of Ellie’s needs and one to tend to work and running my home. Each on their own is a lot. Combined and I feel like my head is going to explode.
I remember when I worked in the control room at Good Morning America and 10 people would all try to talk to me at once, some in person, some in my headset, and I would obnoxiously throw my hand up and say, “Nope. Stop. No. No. No. No. No.” And after they’d tell me to f**k off in their heads, they would be quiet for just long enough so that I could catch my breath, collect my thoughts and get a grasp on what actually needed to be done. Just enough time for me to come up with a plan.
I need that moment. That moment to collect myself, get some system in place, find a way to organize the information and to make sure that Ellie isn’t the one reminding me that the nature walk is today and that she needs to wear long sleeves and pants she can tuck into her socks (that was this morning). I need find a way not worry that while I am way on my business trip(s) there won’t be some activity/permission slip/colored shirt event/Daisy activity that I forget to pass along to my sister (who will be watching her while I’m away).
And I need to remind myself of some of the wisest words Ellie’s former sitter said to me when I moved on from ABC News and Ellie was starting to go to daycare, “Ya know, children aren’t the only one’s who have a hard time with transition. It can be very hard for adults too.”
So…here’s to hoping that I find a system. That I get used to the new normal. And that there is a settled-into routine right around the corner. Or I just need to learn to love the chaos. I am not entirely sure which one is more likely.