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My poor husband.

I tend to get a normal amount of things done most days, and then something randomly possesses me and I go crazy, doing an insane amount of work in a short amount of time. Sometimes it is cleaning – I will decide I have had enough, and clean my house from top to bottom, even using a toothbrush to get in the corners, alphabetizing my cookbooks and colour-coding the closets. I won’t eat or stop for 12 hours until the work is done.

Last month I decided our house was cluttered, and went through our house in a 48 hour period, throwing things away and selling them in an online garage sale. We got rid of three truck loads worth of things. Truck loads. When my husband came home and I was throwing things out, there were bags at the curb of all the things I had decided to toss. His drawers were emptier, and he asked, “What did you throw away from there?” (Which, I might add, I agree is perfectly understandable that he know.) “Nothing you’ll even notice is missing!” I snapped. Perhaps having stopped to take a break and eat during the day may put me in a better mood. Then he was nervous for a few days. “What else did you sell or throw away today?” he’d ask, trying to make it sound casual.

So yes, I’ll admit I’m a bit crazy. When I am on one of these… well let’s call them “rampages,” I do feel bad for my husband. There’s no warning that it’s coming – usually it hits me that I am annoyed about something, and then I require a full day where I cannot talk or function until I get whatever done I am working on. Something little sets me off, like not being able to get into a closet, or noticing some dirty blinds.

This last time, my husband came home and I had four boxes of chicken breasts out, and and 20 packages of ground moose, ready to cook. There were pots and pans everywhere, I had an apron on and hadn’t sat down since before 5 am that morning, thirteen hours previous. I saw the look on his face. What the hell is she doing? Dare I ask? She might be in one of her moods… “So, how was your day?” he asked, with a concerned smile on his face. “It was fine. ” I said, continuing to race around the kitchen, measuring spices into the four frying pans I had going, and chopping stacks of bell peppers. What had happened was that I had been thinking about how if I did most of my monthly shopping on the first Tuesday of the month (10% off groceries at Sobey’s) then I would save us a lot of money, and save me time to work on my schoolwork in the evening, instead of preparing meals. I thought it that morning. Then did 2 massive shops (it wouldn’t fit in the cart) before coming home to cook like hell.

At the end of the night, when I sat down to have a drink with my husband, I had completed 56 meals. 56 meals are now in my freezer! (I used The Big Cook cookbook – what an amazing concept for crazy busy moms like me! I don’t have to cook for months if I don’t want to!)

Then it’s done, my goal is achieved, and Mike is left thankful to have his pleasant wife back, but worried for what tomorrow will bring. I did notice things were a bit crowded in the garage, so I may have to tackle that…

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“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
Phyllis Diller

I have made it through my Financial and Managerial Accounting course for my MBA. For me, it was a doozy! Let’s just say that numbers don’t come naturally to me! Now that it is completed, I have another week off before I start my next course. Time to catch up on all the things I haven’t done while I was studying instead.

I had grand ideas of cleaning my house top to bottom, cleaning and organizing closets, preparing for upcoming garage sales, filling my freezer with healthy meals, planting the garden and doing yard work.

(Typical of me, my to-do list was too long, and did not allow for any real life, like sick kids, calls from the school, volunteering, chairing meetings, soccer and ball games etc.)

How did it go? I did the basics: bathrooms, laundry, vacuuming… but the major overhaul? A pipe dream.

My son actually said to me the other day “Well, we know our house won’t be clean!” Really? I always thought of myself as someone with a fairly clean house. I will admit I am not one of those people who don’t care if it’s clean or not. I really admire that way of thinking, and wish I could care less. I believe most guests are more comfortable in a house that is not perfect, but I still rush to clean before guests arrive. I think it is more important to play with the kids than to have a sparkling home, but I still feel more relaxed when things are clean.

I was at a friend’s perfect (and spotless) house for lunch this week, and she asked me: “How do you manage kids and working on your MBA and work?” This was my realization: I can’t do it all! I manage it by focussing on things other than keeping my house spotless. I could definitely keep my house cleaner, but then something else would have to give. So I choose to play with my kids, and do well in school rather than have a perfect house. Though when I’m done my Master’s, I do look forward to a cleaner home…

There is just not enough time in the day!

A goal I have yet to work on? Relaxation. Might be time to give that one a try….!

My mom and I when I was a baby.

My mom has always been a great friend to me. We have shared great camping trips, heart-to-heart chats, dances and hugs. Now as I see her with my kids and that special relationship they have, I love her even more.

She doesn’t mind getting dirty in the backyard with Braeden while planning their latest “clubhouse,” they spend time painting pictures and telling stories about messenger pigeons that could send messages back and forth between them, and it’s great when she spends the night at our house and eagerly waits for him to wake up so he can see the note she left in front of his door that tells him “Come wake me up!” so they can share some special quiet time before the rest of the house wakes.

Jordyn and mom spend time chatting on the phone, watching movies and having special “paw-corns” (popcorn) and getting messy with paints and yes, even makeup. They play dolls and tea parties, and make-believe.

My kids think my mom is amazing. And they’re right.

Of course, this love and admiration I feel for my mom went through several stages.

My earliest memories of my mom are of times when she made me feel better: bandaids and kisses after falling off my bike and hitting my head yet again, peanut butter on saltine crackers while laying on the couch when home sick from school. My mom made me feel safe.

I remember being so proud when my mom came into school to bring a forgotten lunch or permission slip. She would always look so put together: matching purse, suit and nailpolish, her makeup perfect, smelling like perfume. She is so beautiful! She would walk away, her heels clicking down the hallway, and I’d think: someday, that will be me. I want to be just like her.

Then of course, there were the stages that switched daily (or hourly) from positive to negative: having deep heart-to-heart discussions over a drink and hugs for a heartbreak, then regular teenage arguments and thoughts that now ashame me of how I could do better when I was a mom.

Well I’ve learned that I cannot do better. My mom had three kids, was a professional, and there was no husband at home to support her. Sometimes our house was messy, but there was NEVER a moment when I felt unloved. How did you manage it Mom?! I have the most supportive marriage, more income and only two kids, yet there are days when I feel life is out of control. I can only hope that when my kids are grown they have as much love and admiration for me as I feel for you.

My mom and I have had our ups and downs (mostly ups!) and I know we all have our struggles, but nobody could replace my mom. Thanks for loving me, even during the times when I wasn’t all that lovable. And thanks for now being a best friend, a wonderful grandma and still my mom.

As a mom, I get it now. I know the intense love and fear you have for your children. I understand the moments when you struggle to find the right words to answer difficult questions and give good advice. I get that there are moments as parents where we lose control and things don’t always go as we had hoped. I get it now, and all I can say about the job my mom has done is “wow.” Wow, and of course, thank you.

I love you mom.

Mom and I after my marriage reception.

Do you ever have that realization that you are now Mommy, instead of a professional? Spilled on and stained, rather than pulled together? I am all for doing it all, but sometimes your disguise as someone who has their shit together is rudely removed!

All the moms out there – you know what I’m talking about. The dried spit up on your suit jacket that you notice after a meeting. The moment when your work phone call is interrupted by screaming kids. The mornings after nights of no sleep, where no amount of coffee is going to bring you back to your witty, composed self for your important work meeting.

This week has been a little reminder of this for me. My house: a disaster of tea sets, babies and empty sippy cups. My laundry: piles of clothes with spills of juice, food, times when we didn’t make the potty in time. And during my meeting? I reached into my purse and pulled out a teddy bear, a bag of goldfish crackers, and a red Crayola. Can you repeat that? I’ll just use my crayon to take note. Yes, it’s been very obvious this week that I am a Mommy first, and professional when it fits with my first and most important role.

But let me tell you what this role of Mommy has done for me: I can handle a crisis better than anyone. Multitasking: watch me do laundry, fill out agendas, clean up from dinner, bath kids and answer work emails at once! Doctor (nothing fixes owies like Mom’s kiss), cleaner (I can make our house presentable for company as they walk up the driveway. Trust me, in this house, that’s amazing!), Haircutter, teacher and more. My experiences with my crazy kids have made me strong and able to handle any boardroom situation! And if I am ever in a meeting where people play one of those games where you have to find something in your purse starting with each letter of the alphabet, I would so totally win! So what if I stumble over words before the caffeine kicks in, and have stickmen drawn on my guidelines at the meeting?!

For the record: I am happy being the mom that gets hugged before going out the door, even at the risk of being covered in crumbs. And the mom that gets fingerpaint and dirt stains on things because I play with my kids.

Yup, I’m mommy. Don’t make me use my Mom voice, because I will. 🙂