I know you are familiar with that word.  I have never met another mama who hasn’t been overwhelmed at one time or another.  And if you come across a mama who says she has never been overwhelmed, she is either A) lying or B) has hired help or C) taking Adderall.

This last week has been overwhelmingly overwhelming for me. And yet it has also been one of the most exhilarating weeks in recent memory.

First, my almost two-year-old son started “school.”  I wasn’t very anxious about his first day as I know this is for the best.  He needs to spend time with other kids and since we are new to the hood, we don’t have many playmates for him yet.  About a week before school started, so many emails started gushing from the school about so many minute details that I lost my ability to keep any facts straight (wait? what time does school start?).  Then came the big day.  I dressed Aiven in a very grown-up polo shirt and brushed his hair.  I walked through the halls caught between pride and getting choked up.  When we entered his classroom, it only took a second until he found the train table more interesting than his mama.  I wanted to bask in the moment (parting is such sweet sorrow), but I knew that it would be better if he did not notice me leaving the room.  I slipped quietly out the back door.

The first two weeks of school are shortened to help the kids transition.  Since it is such a brief amount of time the first week, they set up coffee and muffins for the parents in a waiting room so they can mingle and be on hand in case their child goes ballistic.  So, I mingled with other moms, the head of the PTO, and support faculty while trying to sneak peeks at my darling son in between mouthfuls of pastry.

And for the first time in almost two years, I truly felt like an adult.  I have to be on schedule and plan for lunches. I have to pick up papers, fill out forms, and make sure Aiven arrives at school well-rested, well-fed, and looking presentable.  I guess until now if I didn’t feel like dressing Aiven up for the day he could spend it in his PJ’s or diaper.  But now, there are teachers and other parents to impress (or at least not embarrass ourselves in front of).  That’s another frightening thought.  I have to learn to be friends with my son’s classmates’ mamas.  We may be in this together for years to come, so I really want the other moms to like me.

And just to make the week even more overwhelming, I am also starting school! I am going back to college to finish the degree I never completed.  Oh, and I am a week behind in my training to run a 5K.  And my business is launching its first product in about 4 weeks.  And let’s not forget, I’m trying to get pregnant again, too — and if you chart, you know how charting can take up a good portion of mental space that I just don’t have right now.

This is where the elation and exhilaration comes in.  My son did great at school today and greeted me with smiles, hugs, and kisses.  I am making friends with some really great women at school.  Our calendar is filling up with birthday parties, community events, and play-dates.  I haven’t figured out where my homework, conception sex, cooking, and bathing fall into the schedule yet, but I am working on it.  If you pass me in the street, I won’t be offended if you swerve to the other side. I am sorry I smell and my hair is a mess and my clothes are on inside out.  But I am smiling on the inside and the outside and embracing being overwhelmed.

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