Signs you may have PSAD (Parental Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Hey.  I’ve been gone for a while now, and while I do have a few valid excuses – traveling, busy with work, with the kids‘ schoolwork, up to my eyeballs as I actually danced in a town-wide fundraising event (more on that another time) – that wasn’t it.  This winter has sucked the spirit right out of me and I know I’m not alone.   Fellow parents, have you found yourself in tears when the call comes in that another snow day is in your future?  Have you fed your kids enough soup to sink a ship…not because it’s warm but because it’s easy and saves you a trip to the store?  Do you and your children sorta hate the sight of each other these days?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you may have PSAD, or Parental Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Take heed, though; there is only one cure and that’s Spring.  If you or any other Mom or Dad is showing signs of PSAD, grab something to drink, give the kids carte blanche on Netflix (no judging) and ride out the (literal and figurative) storm.  Remember that you’re not alone.

Signs You May Have PSAD

  1. You have seriously considered cashing in your child’s 529 Plan to take a weekend trip south.  Like, EQUATOR south.
  2. You’ve let your hair color go so long because the mere thought of getting into a cold car to go buy a box of 5G-Golden Chestnut is simply too much to bear.  It takes noticing the Jay Leno white patch that has sprouted in the middle of your forehead and your child pointing to the squirrel stripe along your part to finally bite the bullet and head to the store.  But by the time you’ve prepared to brave the elements and put on the various layers of outerwear, you realize that as long as you’ll be keeping that winter hat on then really, can’t this wait until spring?
  3. 20140311-221804.jpgBinge-watching has become your lifeline to the outside world.  You start with great shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad” but as the wind blows against the windows, you spiral quickly downward to Season Three of “Dance Moms.”
  4. It was your daughter who turned you onto “Dance Moms.”  She’s 8.
  5. You don’t object when your kids start playing dangerous indoor sports like “Stair Basketball.”  As your 4-year old teeters at the top stair and hurls a pair of rolled up socks down into the hoop on the bottom step that his sibling is holding, you don’t picture him falling; instead you relish in the five minute break from Cabin Fever until a fight (or injury) inevitably breaks out.
  6. You’ve found yourself picking fights with your children over the dumbest things.  “Are you SERIOUSLY still listening to the song from “Frozen?”  Good LORD, find something new to obsess over.”
  7. You despise the TV meteorologists with a fervor normally reserved for adulterers or Oprah Winfrey and would punch Al Roker squarely in the face if only you could get close enough.
  8. Your anger level has reached DEFCON 7; upon giving up swearing for Lent (terrible idea, I know), you find yourself dropping the F-Bomb to a friend and then repeating it three more times to emphasize just how &*#!ed you really are.  You quickly realize that you owe $4 to the swear jar for just one sentence.  &*#!
  9. You are quietly rooting against your child’s basketball team because if they lose this game then they DON’T have to play again at 8am Sunday morning.  And just as you are feeling really guilty, you realize all of the other Moms and Dads on the bleachers are doing the exact same thing.
  10. You don’t argue with the kids to wear hats, mittens or even winter jackets anymore because you just don’t have the fight left in you.  Your thinking is, “Fine, get frostbite, you toad…but so help me if it gets so bad that I have to go back out in the cold and drive you to the doctor, I will end you.”
  11. As you clean up the third round of projectile vomiting in a week, you think to yourself, “Well, at least he ate his carrots last night.”
  12. It’s taken you two months to write a &*#!ing blog post.

Think spring, folks.  Think spring.

The Parenting Trade-off

I have big news. We have a new baby in our family!

20130604-172648.jpgLet me clarify…not the family of five that lives in my house (thankfully) but a new cousin for the kids. My younger sister Jocelyn and her husband David had their third baby girl, Elise Corinne, and she is 7 pounds of pure little baby love. Meeting my niece got me thinking about how different life was when we were new parents with just one baby. Life was simpler then; not necessarily easier, but definitely more simple. The way I see it, there have been numerous things that I have traded as each little Shumway entered my life. Take for instance…

The Calendar – with one child, I had a pretty wall calendar with different pictures of Boston for each month; it was filled with birthdays, anniversaries and other various appointments. 20130604-172719.jpgI would spend a few minutes every morning checking the day’s activities while sipping my morning coffee, admiring how pretty the Public Garden looked and making sure to send a birthday card to my friend Erika in LA so that it got to her on time. With three kids, however, it’s much different. We now rely on a nasty white board near the back door that’s either halfway filled in or at least a week behind (I can never find the bloody eraser), an iPhone calendar that is constantly bing-bonging at me because I’m late for school pickup again and Facebook for birthdays. This year’s birthday card for Erika? Sent two days after I posted “Happy Birthday my friend, mwah mwah!!” on her wall.  Luckily, she’s another frazzled working mother of three and totally gets it (we tend to travel in packs).  Solidarity, sister.

The Gym – when Ben was a baby, I had a gym membership. Now I hold Platinum Status at Dedham House of Pizza and a consider Marty, the manager of the wine section at Whole Foods, a dear friend.

The Weekends – Ah yes, I do miss these. The weekends of yesteryear involved waking up around 7am and snuggling with the baby in our bed as he watched Elmo. We’d then have coffee, play with him on the floor a little, take a walk and talk to each other while Ben napped.  Weekends these days consist of waking up at 7am with a three year old’s sharp toenail in my back, pouring scalding hot coffee down my throat because I’m late to get Georgia to her soccer game (see out-of-date whiteboard above) and negotiating with Andy as to whether Quinn comes with me as I coach Georgia’s soccer or with him as he coaches Ben’s baseball. We then go our separate ways with different kids headed to different fields and try to text each other in hopes of making sure that no child is left alone on a field. Sometimes there’s a birthday party (major monkey wrench) or food shopping to be done (if Quinn is with me and there are no race car shopping carts then it’s The Seventh Circle of Hell) but eventually, around 10pm, we have a drink and get to talk. Or just drink because we’re too tired to talk. Don’t judge.

The Wardrobe – With one child I did laundry, folded it and put it away. My nice clothes for work were brought to the dry cleaners weekly and hung back in the closet. I’d shop at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic because I had a nice little disposable income after paying my small mortgage and one daycare payment. 20130604-172806.jpgThese days? Sometimes my clothes are clean. We do laundry 27 times a week and occasionally it gets folded, but often it sits in the dryer for days. Dry cleaning is a thing of the past because all of my work clothes are machine washable (Old Navy is good that way). I shop now only when I have to and usually it’s for size 12 boys, 8 girls or 3T and if there is a cheap sweater within reach of the cash register – and I have a coupon – will I buy it for myself.

Despite all that I have “given up,” I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, sure, life may have had more order and less chaos back then but these little comedians I live with definitely keep me laughing. Insane…but laughing.


What Not to Say to Working Mothers (via HuffPost)

Oh how I do so love this article…it’s funny and real and pretty much describes the way that all parents – working moms/dads and stay at home moms/dads feel all the time.  And nice to know that I’m not the only one to make sure that the bar is always stocked.