Author: Anissa Berasi

Everyday I’m Shuffling

I don’t remember where I first heard the phrase “Afterschool Shuffle”. It was somewhere along the play date/Mommy and Me event circuits. The Afterschool Shuffle is what I like to refer to as the time between day care/school pick up and dinner. This phrase has always stuck with me as a perfect description of the time of day when a mom is most consistently in a constant head spinning, side stepping routine from one backpack to the next. When my oldest entered a full time pre-school program 30 minutes outside of town that followed an actual school district calendar complete with aftercare and snow days I was frankly in shock. Like, is this real life?!?! The commuting to multiple locations, the car ride snack requirements, the WHINING….. That was three years ago. Now, I have grown to know and understand The Afterschool Shuffle. We are not friends, but we are no longer enemies. I have come to respect that although it seems like it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves during this 2-4 hour span, in reality, we are all working towards the same goal of getting the hell home and in our comfy clothes! Everyone’s Afternoon Shuffle may look a little different, but I would argue that they all feel the same. What do you mean? , you ask. How does the Afternoon Shuffle feel?, you ask....

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Stuck in the Middle with You

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to take each of my kids on a one on one “date” every month.  A date doesn’t have to be planned or elaborate, just time enough to reconnect and rebalance letting each other know that:  I am here and I love you. Life was happening so fast and it was apparent to me how important it was to make time and space for our individual relationships to develop.  Not only for them, but for me.  I know that soon enough my babies will be grown up and have grown out of my arms. Their schedules and social lives will trump my desire to spend time with them. The urgency is even further compounded now that the two oldest are in school five days a week. The onus is on me to create the alone time. This past month I was two thirds successful.  My oldest and I have been spending most Thursday evenings together as part of my responsibility to chauffeur him to his art class.  I read or write in the adjacent studio while he draws and paints.  It’s a rare open window into how he interacts with his peers and the feedback he gives the instructor.  (Technically it’s a “drop off” class, but he hasn’t quite embraced that concept yet. And if you insist on being even more technical,...

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Progress, not Perfection

I used to be really good at creating an illusion of perfection. For example, when I hosted play dates, my house could easily be mistaken for a model home. Shining, clutter free counter tops with a seasonal Yankee Candle burning for ambience. Swept floors. Organized play room. Craft station set up with toddler sized smocks (Pumpkin painting, I’m talking about YOU!) Festive snacks prepared and presented on a wicker tray. Sweet little boys with matching outfits. Reputation management at its finest. Kind of obnoxious, right? I would bet I made my guests feel more uncomfortable than welcome. If I’m being completely honest, I made myself frenetic with all the beforehand straightening, arranging, and ordering, but in a lot of ways, having everything picture-perfect felt so normal. So necessary. Almost immediately after I had my daughter, I felt the Earth shift a bit too quickly under my feet. I completely lost my footing and with every tortured effort to keep up, to keep moving forward, reality as I knew it slipped further and further away. I was filled to the brim with feelings of excitement and anxiousness, joy and sadness. I was eager to participate in life and at the same time wanting to retreat under my covers. Forget perfection. I was learning how to breathe again. It was at that point I forced myself to reevaluate how I was...

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Order Up!

I recently came to the realization that I am constantly giving my kids instructions – an endless, 24 hour a day, run on sentence providing them with an order of operations for all of life’s minutia. I tell them to: go to the bathroom, get dressed, eat breakfast, and that’s only in the first 30 minutes that they are awake. I am often giving these directions at an escalated level of volume. (Some may refer to that tone as yelling. It’s a possibility, ahem.) By the time I make it to the end of the day, I am frustrated and scrambling for some throat lozenges and tea. My unscientific calculations indicate that this approach is 17% effective – – on a good day. I tried to switch things up a bit in hopes of consistently getting better results and part of that strategy was to eliminate the constant instruction monologue. I decided to let go and let my older two children be more independent and take more accountability for the tasks they are responsible for completing and their stuff (Good grief, the STUFF). After all, if I ever expect them to be productive adults I have to shut up long enough for them to actually be able to think for themselves. Fast forward to a Saturday morning a few weeks ago when it was closing in on 8:00am and my husband...

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Bloom

I love flowers. I still have not figured out how to keep them alive, but I’m trying. Every summer, I invest in a vast array of potted treasures at the beginning of the season and year round, I consistently have at least one vase filled with a supermarket bouquet. They make me smile despite the clutter that often surrounds them on the kitchen island. My hope when I make a flower purchase of the potted variety is to be able to watch them bloom and thrive for weeks until I eventually plant them in the yard so that I can enjoy them the following year. The reality is most often not in line with my intention. I probably water them too much or maybe too little. They don’t get enough sun or maybe too much. Frankly, I have no idea what I am doing wrong so I often go to my Dad and master horticulturist for advice. These consultations often begin with: Me – “My plant is dying.” Dad – “Are you talking to it?” Me – “To who??” Dad – “The plant. You have to talk to it.” Ok, then. Moving on. After I promise to “try” that strategy, we work to identify any other potential issues. This year my vibrantly red geraniums have thrived on the front stoop. I was riding high on this triumph and asked...

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