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The best-laid plans of a mom usually go awry

As my youngest was about to start kindergarten, I started getting the question: “What are you going to do with the house to yourself all day?” I would smile politely, joking that I’d just sit around eating bonbons and watching soap operas all day, because that’s what stay-at-home moms do, right?  

The truth is, while I was pretty emotional about “my baby” going to school, I thought the silver lining would be that I could do what I needed to do without interruption. I’d be able to schedule interviews for my writing assignments more freely and maybe even take on some more. I’d have more available time slots for cheerleading practices. I’d get into a rhythm with the everyday chores and even tackle those looming projects I’d put off. 

I hear you veteran empty-house moms laughing. 

We’re starting week five of the school year and there’s no rhythm here. To be fair, there have been more interruptions than usual. There were two flexible instruction days right off the bat in week two thanks to Ida, then they went back for a day and had a long weekend for Labor Day.  

And let me tell you about last week… 

I knew in advance it would be busy. Both girls had their first soccer practices (but they practice at the same time, thank goodness!) and then their first games Saturday. I had cheerleading tryouts scheduled for the weekend, with open gyms the three days leading up to that. I took on another freelance assignment, due Wednesday. And, since Mont Alto doesn’t have a sports information director at the moment, I’ve been filling in where I can, and my AD asked if I could take photos at the golf team’s lone home invitational Wednesday so we’d have action photos for senior gifts. My husband had a meeting Tuesday night and I had one Thursday night. 

No problem. I had a plan, I had a schedule, it would be tight and a bit crazy but I could get it done. 

You know where this is going, right? 

The person I needed to interview for my freelance assignment didn’t get back to me right away, so I had to squeeze in an interview the day before deadline. Oh, and I found out mid-week that a different assignment’s deadline got bumped up by five days, so I needed to get a jump on it sooner than planned. An extra team showed up at the golf tournament unexpectedly, which meant I had to take as many pictures as I could get in in 30 minutes, run back to campus for an hour of open gym, then run back to the golf course to get everyone else’s photo. 

And then it REALLY got crazy. 

I admit I forgot there was an early dismissal on Wednesday until I got a reminder Tuesday afternoon. So, I scrambled and lined up my dad to pick the girls up because that fell smack in the middle of my golf-cheerleading-golf dance. (I don’t know how I would manage to get some of this stuff done if I didn’t have my family as backup. Shoutout to all of you who get your kids everywhere without any nearby family support.) 

When I finally went to pick the girls up, Sophie was not well. She was complaining of a sore throat, headache and congestion, and warm but not quite over the line of feverish. Worst of all, it was about 5 p.m. and she was ready to drop. I kept her home from school Thursday, fretting all the while about whether I should get her tested for COVID. By mid-afternoon, we’d decided it was best – but couldn’t find any place with openings for a rapid test, so we’d have to wait 3-5 days for results. 

As much as I hated to, we erred on the side of caution and started shifting for the weekend. I made my tryouts virtual. Sophie had to miss her soccer game – which she hated, but even if we’d had her test results back in time, she was definitely not up to playing in the heat. 

Did we come out of it on the other side? Sure. Sophie’s test was negative and she’s pretty much recovered. Everyone’s back in school, just in time for picture day. Did my mom come in to pick my girls up this morning as I was losing my patience over BOTH girls deciding they didn’t want to wear the shoes we’d picked out last night? Yep.  

I’m not as disorganized as I seem, honest. But you know what they say about making plans. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I earned a box of bonbons. No, wait, there’s laundry to do… 

Jen Deinlein
Jen Deinlein is a self-professed “Jen of all trades and master of none.” She’s a SAHM to 8- and 5-year-old daughters, a freelance writer (you can also see her work in CPBJ) and head cheerleading coach at Penn State Mont Alto. She and her family live in Guilford Township, Franklin County, with a golf course in the backyard where they frequently rescue lost golf balls. You can reach Jen on Instagram: @groovypq; Twitter: @jlbd77 or by email: [email protected].

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