My Formerly Glamorous Life

Since we left the city for the suburbs last April, people seem to be shocked that I don’t miss it more.

It goes like this:

“You must miss the city so much!”  (head craned in sympathy)

“Nah.  I mean, there are days.  But, surprisingly, I’m really happy with the move.”

“Oh.  So, you like, uh, New Jersey?  How’s that…going?”

The truth is that I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would.  But, now and then, I do get wistful about my old life in Manhattan. 

But not always.  And not today.  Not when it’s bone cold outside.  Because it reminds me of a very stressful period in my life last winter when the morning ritual of getting two small kids to daycare in this weather pushed me to the brink of insanity. 

At that time, my husband had a new job that required him to leave before the kids woke up and to come home too late to pick them up at daycare.  And I also have a full-time job — one that expects me to be generally on time and pretty much mentally together.  So these were character-building days, folks.  If you had flashed back a year ago, this would have been my morning in Manhattan.

  • 6:15 — Tiptoe out of bed into the shower so the kids don’t wake up.  Promise God a new soup kitchen for the needy if the  baby would just sleep through the night.  Check Blackberry for work-related fires/crises that transpired overnight.
  • 6:20 — Attempt to have five minutes of peace in shower before the chaos begins.
  • 6:22:30 — Have shower interrupted by 1) two year-old announcing his arrival in the bathroom and opening shower curtain for morning conversation about Elmo, 2) six month-old crying in crib and 3) ringing Blackberry.
  • 6:30 — Retrieve Blackberry voice mail.  Check email again.  Respond to three colleagues in Japan before they go to sleep for the night.
  • 6:35 — Feed kids.  Dress them, perhaps more than once if someone spills/vomits/spits up.
  • 6:55 — Dress self, forgetting belt, jewelry or other random accessory.  Attempt to dry hair and look presentable.  Conclude this look is overrated.  Fantasize about breakfast that will surely not materialize.
  • 7:15 — Ignore red flashing light on Blackberry out of corner of eye.
  • 7:17 — Assemble the following items to cart to day care:  Bottles, diapers, jars of baby food, extra clothes (baby); lunch (toddler); various permission slips, medical forms that are long overdue.
  • 7:30 — Pack breast pump and all related accessories for work.
  • 7:35 — Wrestle toothbrush into mouth of two year-old.  Oh and self also — must brush own teeth.
  • 7:40 — Begin excruciating process of convincing two year-old to put on jacket, hat and gloves.  Bargain.  Plead. 
  • 7:50 — Ignore Blackberry. 
  • 7:55 — Strap toddler into double stroller in front of TV while wrestling baby into full bunting.
  • 8:00 — Place writhing baby into double stroller, strap everyone in.  Ensure that all day care items are stowed in bottom of stroller, breast pump on one shoulder and briefcase on the other.  Put on coat, hat and gloves even though apartment is sweltering because 1) heat is not controlled by tenants and 2) body temperature is at 101 degrees from wrestling children into stroller.
  • 8:05 — Dog!  Feed dog!  Sorry!  Keep kids in stroller, wedged against open apartment door.
  • 8:07 — Pine for coffee.  Fear looking at clock.
  • 8:10Negotiate double wide stroller into packed apartment building elevator, eliciting eye rolling and audible sighs from fellow tenants.
  • 8:15 — Stop on every floor on the way down (13 in total).  Sweat through winter coat.  Beg two year-old to stop crying about being strapped in stroller.
  • 8:17 — Arrive in lobby to find it is sleeting outside.  Again.  Find rain/snow cover thingy for the stroller buried under daycare supplies and attach it around entire perimeter of stroller while both children cry.  Consider selling soul to Satan for coffee.
  • 8:25 — Navigate snow/ice piles pushing 40 lbs of child weight in stroller.  Resent feeling of numbing ice pellets hitting face.  Panic briefly over possibility of a 9:00 conference call that may or may not have been confirmed.  Will never make it.
  • 8:30 — Realize, when strong wind comes along, that stroller cover is not properly secured and is now flapping about in the wind like a tarp.  Stop on sidewalk.  Drop all bags from shoulder and resecure stroller cover.  Answer questions about trucks, buses and police cars from two year-old.
  • 8:35 — Begin to display signs of pathological need for coffee.  Food would be nice, too.
  • 8:35:30 — Realize [any item — insert here] was left at home and decide that there is no going back. 
  • 8:35:37 — Curse out husband’s new job.  Repeat.
  • 8:40 — Manipulate double stroller through day care entryway and begin the unloading process.  First, the baby and her supplies.  Then, the toddler and his stuff.  They are in separate rooms, of course.  Chat with caregivers about necessary instructions for the day and kiss kids goodbye. 
  • 8:52 — Catch glimpse of clock.  Feel early warning signs of stroke.

  • 8:53 — Trade cursory niceties with other parents, who don’t seem to be experiencing the same type of morning.  Ponder why this is the case.
  • 8:55 — Break into sprint, carefully (watch the ice!), for the subway station.  Check Blackberry with one hand while running.  Assess just how late work arrival will be.  Pray for expeditious subway experience.
  • 9:00 — Curse out the MTA for delayed and overcrowded subway.  Repeatedly.  Question if Mayor Bloomberg *really* rides the subway every day or if his PR people are, in fact, that good.
  • 9:35 — Arrive at desk in full sweat and without coffee. 
  • 9:37 — Begin the day.  Repeat at 5pm for day care pick up.

Isn’t city life glamorous?  My life in the burbs isn’t so bad on days like today.

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  1. the mrs says:

    Just. so. funny! Glad to hear things are calming down. I just left a big city for the burbs. Good to know there’s life after blackberry 😉

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Unfortunately, I do still have the ferocious, blinking Blackberry that taunts me from across the room. But giving up the outdoor stroller battle against the elements helped a ton.

  2. I think I need to go back to bed after reading that. That sounds truly horrible. And I just love the eye-rolling, sighing neighbors in the elevator. Obviously, they don’t have kids or they would understand how difficult it is and give you a hand…or even a kind word.

    When I used to take my son to Pre-K many moons ago, I’d marvel at the women who had more than one child. In the worst of weather, they’d have to get their Pre-K kid out of the car, and then go through the trouble of getting a baby out of a car seat, lugging them into the building, and then getting them strapped back in the car seat again. I was always tempted to volunteer to sit with the baby while they brought their other child inside, but if I didn’t know the person, I feared they’d think I was some crazed kidnapper.

  3. NYCPatty says:

    Oh wow! So glad you have a different morning routine now 🙂

    Seriously WOW!

  4. I’m exhausted just reading that!! lol

  5. There is no attribute of city life that can be worth the hectic morning you describe. That stress will burn you out and drain your immune system creating all kinds of health problems. Just inhaling that polluted air is like smoking two packs a day.

    • fordeville says:

      The good news is that I remain healthy and fortified with immunity — but I hear what you’re saying. I stilll believe there are many, many things about living in Manhattan that are fabulous and made it all worthwhile. Our time on the fine island, though, had run its course — at least as residents. Now we’re just second-class citizens — The Commuters.

  6. Ed says:

    Have I mentioned I’m not having kids? This is yet another of many reasons why. I am bookmarking this in case future Ed thinks wistfully of little Edlets.

  7. anna says:

    this is hilarious. i used to do the manhattan-solo-daycare-shuffle too. meanwhile my husband was sailing off to work in spotless clothes, totally oblivous to what was going on.

    then one day i had to go into work early so he was going to take our daughter to daycre, he didn’t even get 1/2 way through the preperations when he decided it would be easier just to work from home then try and take her in! men!

    our mornings sound a lot like yours, except momma doesnt have to go to work which obviously is a big help. if this will make you feel better about your mornings:

    • fordeville says:

      You’re a saint for getting through the whole post. It was cathartic to type it all out, but I figured most people would glaze over and abandon me mid-page. Having been in the trenches, you understand 🙂
      Just read your post about leaving the baby home! This is among my worst (and most realistic) fears.

  8. Pat Locke says:

    Brilliant. I laughed, I cried, I reached for a chocolate bar. We all can see ourselves in this. Ever think of writing a book?

  9. Luisa Megale says:

    And from the other side of the world (Sydney) – I find myself laughing and nodding – and this is without the snow. A tribute to working mums everywhere.

  10. Viv says:

    I love the part about leaving the city!!! Your blog is great Kim – keep writing:)

  11. Ninja Mom says:

    You’re too funny, momma! I’m s glad you put this in Finding the Funny. It’s a gem!

  12. Kelley says:

    I’m totally stressed out!!! Wow. That is insane, but I totally have had days like that. Well, maybe not JUST like that. You made me laugh about the looking for early signs of stroke! I also felt better when you said your medical forms were way overdue. Mine always are… So glad you linked up with us again over at #findingthefunny!

  13. What a great post! 🙂 I can definitely relate to the toddler/baby getting out the door juggle, especially the sweating through winter coat/cursing husband’s job part. Lol! Stopping by from Finding the Funny, love your blog!


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