School starts again for me tomorrow, so this week my boys started back to full-time daycare.  When I dropped them off yesterday, as we got out of the car I commented on the fact that daycare’s summer session ended last Friday and all the older kids weren’t there anymore. The new preschool session hasn’t started yet, so the only kids in attendance are the small group of kids that attend daycare in addition to preschool.

“Summer’s gone.” I said.

“Summer all gone?” asked Goose.  “We lost Summer?”

“Yep,” I said.  “Summer’s all gone.”

“Oh,” he replied, a thoughtful look crossing his face. “Den we need to get more Summer.”

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If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory, or Dharma & Greg (or any of his other shows), you’ve seen Chuck Lorre’s vanity cards at the end of each show.  On my 40th birthday, one of my favorite ones comes to mind:

Dead is the new unambiguous. Bipolar is the new undecided. Heavily armed is the new born again. Bald is the new head… and the new crotch. Hairy is the new face. Sheepishly admitting to having an STD is the new flirting. Purell is the new face of fear. Finding the time that’s right for you is the new impotence. The smiley-face emoticon is the new “sincerely yours.” Smoking is the new outdoorsy lifestyle. Looking forward to insanely expensive private schooling, thousand dollar a week nannies and soccer is the new yuppie birth control. Misinformed is the new patriotic. Veganism is the new “tastes like chicken.” Serotonin uptake inhibiting is the new crowd control. Texting is the new talking. Talking is the new singing. Singing is the new hubris. Gay marriage is the new “be careful what you wish for.” And finally, and only because I really need this to catch on, fifty-seven years old is the new forty-five.

Here’s hoping this decade will be a great one.

(This one is also a favorite of mine.)

[Set to autopost because I'm at the beach!]

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There’s an expression that shows up on a lot of little tchotchkes* meant for teachers that says “The 3 best things about teaching: June, July and August.”

I hate it. I hate the idea that the reason people teach is to get three months off a year. It diminishes the education I earned and the effort I put forth. All that being said, I admit I like having three months off, that staying home with my kids each summer is one perk of being a teacher. I get to metaphorically catch my breath and literally get caught up on all the things I did not get done during the previous nine months.

And that’s the thing. The three months of “summer break” come with a trade off:  nine months of the year I am generally so swamped that my other job — as a mother — takes a back seat. A back-of-the-bus seat.  By the end of the school year my house has arrived at a level of disorder just short of a visit from a TV news camera crew. I would like to stab every person who each summer asks me “Soooo… enjoying your summer off?” with a tone that implies teachers are shiftless good-for-nothings, lounging around drawing a paycheck, while hardworking tax-payers slave to fund them. It seriously takes me the entire summer to get my house and home to a base level of organization  and cleanliness, just so that we can spend the next nine months tearing it all back down again.

And  — ok, fine, whatever – I’ll be honest and admit that summers off is actually one of the reasons I chose teaching: to have time for my family, while still being able to have a career.  I enjoy the extra time I spend with my kids over the summer, but I have to come clean about something else.  As a stay-at-home mom, I kinda suck. A lot.  And by “kinda,” I mean I do. And by “a lot,” I mean a-frickin-lot-to-the-nth-degree.

I’m not an all-around terrible mother.  As a making-sure-your-kids-are-learning mom, I do better than average. As a traveling-with-your-kids mom, I’m a rock star.  As a spending-time-with-your-kids mom, a putting-your-kids-first-most-but-not-all-of-the-time-because-that’s-actually-called-a-martyr mom, I could set the gold fucking standard.

But the stay-at-home, cooking-balanced-meals-served-at-actual-dinner-time, time-for-your-nap, laundry-folded-and-actually-put-away-in-drawers kind of mom?  Yeah, not so much. Even during summer break, while I’m not working outside the home, my kids go to daycare two days a week. And I still can barely get my household management shit together.

I hate the term “mommy wars” like I hate the term “man cave,” with the burning hatred of a thousand… oh, I don’t know, something really hot and flamey… but I have to make the disclaimer “not to start another mommy war,” before saying: how do people do it? I could not stay home every day, I don’t think.  But I also don’t think I could work year-round.  Seriously, how do people do it? Whichever one they do.  Stay at home full-time without letting their house, or children… mostly children, drive them insane or work full-time year-round without living in disorder and filth ad infinitum?

As I type, every clean article of clothing in my household is in a laundry basket.  Oh, go ahead… ask me about my laundry basket collection.  I have about two per person, plus a few extras for things like towels.  Because I basically use them as our dressers during the school year; we live out of them. But school ended two months ago and I still can’t get every single clean article all put away at once.

There are three weeks left  of summer break, one of which will be spent at the beach.  So I have two weeks to finish what I haven’t already accomplished in the last two months before I succumb (willingly) to working mom denial syndrome again.

But one last thing I forgot to mention…  The when-the-going-gets-tough-the-tough-get-going kind of mom?  Look her up in the dictionary.  There’s a picture of me.

*OMG.  I can’t believe I just spelled tchotchke correctly off the top of my head, but I did.  For real.

**I also have to add that the Hubster does a full 50% share of the cooking and cleaning during the school year, so it’s not a case of someone not pulling his weight.

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So… July, huh?

July 29, 2010
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Well, how about that?  It’s July.  And a July that’s almost over at that. Short recap of the last several months: It was a busy hell of a school year and then with only two days to go, I fried the hard drive in my laptop.  (ThoughtIshutitdown x butjustputittosleep + tuckeditsnuglyintomybag = BAD).  Even when  […]

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I’m taking this as proof that I definitely need to get back to writing

July 15, 2010
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Or that I should start an underground fighting club set on subverting the dominant paradigm and creating a new world order.  Not really sure which one.

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Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

July 6, 2010

An actual post.  No joke.  I promise.

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February Made Me Shiver

March 14, 2010
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Just the other day, I tweeted this: I am so over winter. Seriously. I  mean, we bought a snow plow. We. Bought. A. Snow. Plow. Everyone I know is so cabin-feverish that we’re like zombies.  I feel like I’ve lost the will to do anything.  Ugh. I am so burned out. Not just from the […]

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