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This week we are moving. The countdown is on. Just three days to go.  Rather than packing and organizing and preparing for our new life in a new home, I’m at a conference in Chicago as the clock ticks down our last days in our first home.  Crazy, right?

Well, in fairness, this is business travel, not a frivolous getaway and, Marketing to Moms is a really good conference.  Although the notion of moving has me totally FREAKED OUT, I have convinced myself that getting away for a few days will help me be better prepared to enter the fray when I return.  Even though my days here are long and filled with working and networking, it’s still a break from the chaos, stress and pressure of juggling a job, five kids and a pending move.  I’ve decided that there are some distinct advantages to this admittedly untimely trip…

I feel appreciated.  In the 8 hours since I’ve left home, I’ve fielded texts and calls seeking the whereabouts of:

  • CCD homework (my oldest son)
  • Thank you notes (my daughter)
  • Dinner (my husband! Even though I left food in the fridge and a message on the white board in the kitchen!)

I feel accomplished.  Not only did I advise (accurately!) on the whereabouts of the aforementioned items but I also found a few minutes to make a few calls that are mission critical to our move…

  • The movers (no doubt we need them!)
  • The mortgage company (one of the more important details for a closing, I now understand!)
  • The school bus company (which will be a key requirement for my grammar schoolers on Monday morning at 7:30!)

I’ve had a few opportunities I rarely get at home…

  • The chance to have dinner with a great friend who lives in Chicago and I haven’t seen in far too long – as evidenced by her greeting: “Wow!  Look how much lighter your hair is!”  By “lighter”, she meant “grey.”  Note to self: must see her more often and/or do a better job with hair color!
  • Shopping! My 7 year old has been walking around in pants that suggest he has either A. Survived or is B. Anticipating the great flood.  This kid’s pants are so short, he’s at risk for frostbite on his ankles.  And shins. The boy needs pants.  And, since I had the good fortune of walking by Old Navy (which would never happen at home!), now he has them.  And can look forward to warm ankles. And shins. Amen.
  • Sleep! No middle of the night visitors — no one who has to pee, feels compelled to tell me they peed in the potty or alert me to the unfortunate fact that their bed is wet.  And, though I love him, there is no furry four-legged friend trying to jump on the bed in the middle of the night… his own way of telling me that he has to pee!

Before signing off to indulge in some of that rare and elusive shut-eye, I have to mention one other benefit of this trip – and of business travel in general.  It is a chance to mix and mingle and be motivated and inspired by other working moms.  You know who you are.  You too have left sweet, needy children and husbands who can’t find their dinner at home.  You too have struggled with the juggle, the pressure, the quest for balance.  And, from what I’ve seen, you have succeeded.  And, given me the confidence that I will too!  Now, sweet dreams – this mama needs to get some rest so I return home ready for this move!

It’s hard to believe it’s already October.  Summer is over, school is in full swing and the busiest month of the year is upon us.  Why is October the busiest month of the year? Well, four of our five children were born in October.  And it’s our anniversary.  And then, just when you think it’s over, there’s Halloween!  All of these things require thoughtfulness and planning above and beyond the already challenging task of juggling an active family of seven and a full-time job.

Oh, and just to spice things up a bit, this October, we’re MOVING… which means that in addition to everything else, there is packing and cleaning and phone calls and planning to add to my daily routine.  Lest I should forget, there is also a 3-day conference in Chicago that will take me away from that routine just two days before our move.  Are you stressed out yet?  I sure am!

As I look at the calendar, I am reminded that our triplets turn four on Wednesday (tomorrow!) and our 10th Anniversary is on Friday.  The triplets are in pretty good shape; there is no party planned (yet!) but there are gifts to be wrapped and a cake to be baked.  My husband, on the other hand, is not so lucky; there is a card to be written but thus far, no gifts to be had.  Which leads me to the point.

As I look at the calendar, I am completely overwhelmed.  Completely and utterly overwhelmed.  How will I get it all done?!  There aren’t enough hours in the day!  So, to avoid a total mental meltdown (my family and friends might say that a partial meltdown is already progress), I have decided to take it just one day at a time and so far, it’s working pretty well.   Take a look at last weekend as an example…

Our daughter turned six on Saturday so, we made cupcakes Friday night and Saturday truly was “all about her” – she had her first big party, complete with dancing and goodie bags.  She had her first sleepover, complete with popcorn and a movie.  And we went to bed that night delighted that our only little lady had “the best birthday ever.”

On Sunday, we were up at the crack of dawn, lugging out our wares for our neighborhood’s multi-family tag sale.  We set up toys, books, housewares and the relics of our baby days on the curb, displaying it just so to maximize the appeal for would-be buyers.  Then the rain started.  So we lugged it all on the porch.  Then the hours passed.  And no one came.  So finally, we loaded our gently used items and memorabilia into the minivan… and had a big glass of wine.

The moral of the story?  Take it one day at a time.  If you’d asked me last Friday how I was going to bake cupcakes, wrap gifts, throw a birthday party, have a slumber party and organize a yard sale over the weekend, I would have told you that I had no clue, that it was too overwhelming to even consider! But now it’s Tuesday and despite the rain, our missions were accomplished and we somehow pulled it all off.  One day at a time.  That’s really the only way.

So, when I look at the month of October on the calendar, there is no denying that it is daunting.  But, we made it through the first nine days and will surely survive the next 22 – birthdays, anniversary, work, move and all!   Before I know it, it will be November.  Before I know it, my three year olds will be four, my husband and I will have celebrated a decade together and our family will be in a new house.  And then I’ll be wondering how to juggle unpacking and settling us in, planning our oldest son’s 8th birthday and preparing for the holidays.  When I start to feel overwhelmed (that’s assuming I ever stop!), I think I’ll reread this and remind myself: one day at a time. Everything is possible if you take it just one day at a time.  And have that occasional glass of wine!

Filling out school forms: painful!

As you know if you are a regular reader, I typically write a “Tuesday Tip.”  People tend to marvel at the way we seemingly breeze through life with our brood of five children and have asked that I share the things that work for us – snack ideas, vacation spots, general discipline tips, etc. – and so I do.  Here’s the thing though – it’s not always a breeze.  In fact, it rarely is.

When the clock struck midnight last night, I was still filling out school forms and realized that I’d literally timed myself out of my typical Tuesday tip.  I thought perhaps I’d share a nugget of “Wednesday wisdom”  but, I fear what you’re going to get here instead is a massive dose of “Wednesday whining.”

At the moment, I’m tapped out of tips. I’m tired. Exhausted, in fact. Ever since summer came to an abrupt close and the school year started, I’ve felt like a rat on a wheel.  Everything in our life seems to be stuck in high gear, in the fast lane.  My job, always fast-paced and challenging, has picked up in intensity.  Our two older kids, now officially first and third graders, are adjusting to a busy school year as we all struggle to get in the groove of wake up/school bus/ homework/ CCD/soccer /wash/rinse/repeat. It’s a never-ending circuit with backpacks, folders and soccer cleats constantly caught in the spin cycle.

Then there are the triplets. Almost four (how did that ever happen so fast?!), they are gearing up for preschool.  Hence the forms I was filling out late last night.  When did they first walk/talk/sit/stand/crawl?  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I was going to make it up but didn’t have the energy.  So, I simply entered “at the normal age of development” on all three forms.  Then I had to explain how our trio of tots differ – after all, they are identical and the school needs a few hints for telling them apart.  Think about that for a minute – I have to create copious notes for anyone who interacts with our three little fellas… teachers, babysitters, heck, even my own parents can’t tell them apart.  It’s not a breeze.

Perhaps most challenging for me the past few weeks has been writing our address on each of the zillion forms that have crossed the threshold – forms for Girl Scouts and soccer, for emergency contacts and basic medical information.  Each and every form requires our address. And each and every time I write it down I want to cry.  Why?  Because we are moving.  In just about six weeks.  Where? Once again, I honestly haven’t a clue.

We sold our house, which was the right thing to do.  We’ve outgrown it.  It has been the perfect “my first house” and now it’s time for the next one.  But where is it? I don’t know. And I’m worried. And scared. And totally freaked out.  I’ve tried to pack but I just can’t do it.  How can I pack if I don’t know where we are going? Will we find a house to rent and need to stick some stuff in storage? Will we find a house to buy and only live in limbo for a few weeks between close dates? Will we be flopping on the floors of friends and therefore only need our clothes? I don’t know. I just don’t know.  And that is why if I need to fill out one more freakin’ form with our current address – our home sweet home — I will, well, I suppose I will keep on keepin’ on. What other choice is there?  I will grin and bear it.  I will hope for the best.  I will try to have faith that it will all work out in the end.  And when it does, I just might share how it did in Tuesday Tip of the future.  Until then, stick with me and forgive me for the Wednesday Whine!