I left my parents’ house about 10 pm on Easter, and I was back there at 10 am this morning to drop off my girls so I could head in to work and tackle the mountain of essays and annotated bibliography drafts that my students are expecting me to return this week.
I had every intention of whipping out a cute little post yesterday about celebrating Easter with fancy dresses and Peeps, maybe laced with a little complexity about what it means for my kids to grow up not knowing or understanding very many Biblical traditions and whether I ought to be worried about that.
Here’s how I thought my morning was going to go:
Wake up, drink coffee, make sticky buns from Pinterest recipe, chill out while girls play with Easter basket goodies and eat jellybeans.
Write a quick post about Easter while T assembles girls’ new bunk beds.
Turn on music, pack the diaper bag and the supplies for D’s birthday party. Figure out how to get the candy and tattoos and headbands into the princess piñata. (Yesterday’s holiday gathering was a combo Easter/birthday celebration.)
Make the Pinterest pasta recipe I offered to bring to my mom’s for dinner. Feed the girls something relatively healthy to offset the jellybeans.
Put on fancy dresses, go to my mom’s. Arrive 2 pm for appetizers, followed by birthday gifts, piñata, dinner, cake, maybe a kids’ movie while the adults clean up and pack the cars.
Note that this is not an ambitious plan. I did not plan to write a novel, or run a marathon, or sew the Easter dresses by hand. Nothing about this should have been beyond our reach.
Here’s how my day actually went:
Wake up with headache. Drink coffee. Take more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen.
Attempt to make sticky buns. While sticky buns are in the oven, clean dusty pile of books, stuffed animals, ancient fruit snacks, polly pocket heads, and underpants out from under toddler bed.
Take sticky buns out of oven. Sticky buns stick to bundt pan. Shake the pan violently until sticky buns tumble out in an unattractive pile still attached to pan by thick, stringy caramel-like substance. Scrape goo out of pan and use it to make large, birds’ nest-esque sculpture on top of sticky bun mountain. This is not what the pictures looked like on Pinterest. Offer unattractive sticky bun bird nest mountain to T and his brother, who are assembling the bunk beds.
Head still hurts. Sticky buns taste ok, in a chewy way. Bunk beds look awesome. Finally, a success!
Then comes the part where in everybody (okay, mostly just me) runs around frantically becoming increasingly cranky because even though there absolutely should be more than enough time, there is NEVER ENOUGH TIME. T and I spend 2 hours attempting to get children bathed, dressed, fed, supplies and bags and car packed. He keeps turning on music and I get irritated and turn it off. I hand out frozen GoGurt and chocolate granola bars for “healthy” lunch. Decide to bake the pasta at my mom’s. Arrive late anyway, with enough food and clothing to stay for a week.
Fast forward to this morning for the workday version of the same scenario, and substitute battle over brushing hair for battle with sticky buns.
I am still trying to figure out how to stop the madness. End of semester papers are piling up, my garden is desperate for attention, the sink is full of dishes, the My Little Ponies all have snarly hair, we only have enough clean underpants to get through till tomorrow, everything that I think will take 15 minutes takes an hour and everything that I think will take an hour takes 3 hours and I cannot seem to get anywhere on time ever and the stress builds until I am completely unable to differentiate between necessary tasks and tasks like brushing the My Little Ponies’ hair.
I have tried all the parenting advice tips about laying out the clothes the night before and repacking the bags when you come home instead of when you’re leaving and eating the same foods for breakfast every morning (because choosing breakfast is what slows me down?) and empowering them with chore charts and cute illustrated reminders about brushing their teeth. None of those things work in my house.
If I have done everything perfectly and we are on track to leave 15 minutes early, someone will start a fistfight about who gets to sit in the brown car seat and we will arrive late and bloody. Or the van will unexpectedly be out of gas. Or the dog will escape. It’s always something.
I know other parents do this and the stakes are much higher: I can show up at my mom’s with girls in pajamas, hair uncombed, clamoring for pancakes. Clearly this is not an option for those of you who have to get kids to school or a more legit day care scenario. So I’m dying to know: how do you do it?
Also, the only thing my kids know about Easter is that there’s a bunny. Should I be worried about that?