Mother’s Little Helper

Carla: Caryn and I spent an incredible weekend at Christianity 21 and I for one am still so overwhelmed by it all I’m not sure I can write about it yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to connect some dots in the coming days and put words around this amazing experience.

For now, however, I am trying to re-enter my daily life. Today was particularly hard. I am exhausted–in a good way–from the weekend and just want to lay on the couch and process and imagine and nap. But of course that’s not happening–far from it. Precious child #3 woke up at 5:30 ready to eat breakfast. I convinced her to climb in bed and snuggle instead, but that lasted about 15 minutes. She began to get rather vocal about her hunger so we got up in the dark, she ate, I tried not to be bitter, and we got back in bed for a few minutes before the rest of the household woke up and began the day in earnest. Now I’m extra tired and there’s no respite in sight.

We’ve all had days like this, days that for whatever reason start too early, end too late, are too full, are too dull, are soul-sucking or mind-blowing or crazy-making. So what I want to know is, what’s your secret for moving through days that seem endless? Whether it’s something that helps you stay calm, something that perks you up, something that maintains your sanity, or something that brightens the dark corners of motherhood, I want to know what it is.

My list includes–but is not limited to–the following: Diet Coke (although I have given it up for the most part, today was a DC day if ever there was one), a new magazine (I might only get to read it in snippets in the bathroom, but it makes me happy just the same), a plan for dinner, chai tea, peanut butter M&Ms (seriously, these are coated in crack), and my daily dose of wellbutrin. A glass of wine helps, too, but I try to keep the bottle closed until at least 5 p.m..

What’s on your list?

Caryn: Since kicking the DC habit last Lent, I still won’t buy it for the house (though I do drink it socially—you know the drill). So now my vices are confined to my newly acquired coffee addiction, my afternoon tea (don’t think anything elegant here), and the occasional glass of wine (which I used to drink out on the front porch until 1.] I realized I looked like the neighborhood drunk and 2.] It started to get cold).

But, honestly, the things that really keeps me from losing my mind are baby carrots and a good book. Seriously. This is what a dork I am. I go through a bag of the carrots at least every couple days. I crave the crunch like you wouldn’t believe. When I run out, I just about lose my mind. It’s weird.

And the book thing—well—that’s how I escape my life. If I’m not in the middle of a good one, again, that mind-losing thing happens. (Right now I’m trying to get into Anne Tyler’s Accidental Tourist. So far it’s my least favorite of her books. If you must know.)

But I must say—I’m in a better place motherhood-wise right now (Lord knows how long it will last!) than I was, say, a few months ago. So, it’s easier for me to sort of rely on the carrots and books to get me through the craziest days. But when I read an article in this weekend’s Chicago Tribune on the upswing of alcoholism among mothers like us, let’s just say I totally understood why. It ain’t easy.

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