I was once really good at time management. I wrote stuff down.
There were Excel spreadsheets and charts. Nothing was overlooked,
forgotten, or misplaced. I made Martha Stewart look like an
Not so much. I think things started going downhill when my sons
began all-day school. I figured I just didn't need to be as
organized. After all, I would have endless amounts of time to get
Yet after eyeing a large load of dirty laundry the other day,
People Magazine called to me instead. It was just like Superman's
Fortress of Solitude crystal, except the magazine really wanted me
to know what Princess Kate was having. Later, I went upstairs to
locate a tax form, but got distracted by the bed. Naps are awesome,
by the way. Next up, I intended to adjust every clock in the house
to reflect the new Daylight Savings time. It was only after several
hours that I realized I had adjusted them all the wrong way. I
thought it was "Spring BACK, Fall AHEAD." I need to pay better
Annoyed, I turned on the television to confirm the correct time.
That was when I became aware of the whole "sinkhole" epidemic. Have
you heard about this? Sinkholes are apparently taking over the
country. An entire block of Washington, D.C., was
closed off because of a sinkhole. Some golfer in Illinois was just
about eaten alive by yet another monster sinkhole. In my Cocoa
Puffs-induced paranoia, I became convinced that the next sinkhole
was after me. And it had TEETH.
Plagued by sinkhole fever, I headed out to collect my oldest
son, Daniel, from his after-school chess program. This is normally
my most time-sensitive portion of the day. There is a very tight
window to grab Dan and turn around to retrieve my middle son, Jack,
from his school. There is also a strong incentive for not being
late. Nobody wants to be the mom with the sobbing kid in the
principal's office telling everyone how their mother forgot to pick
them up because she was reading People Magazine and obsessing about
With time of the essence, I defied the normal time-space
continuum of what is actually possible in nine and a half minutes.
Have I mentioned my minivan is a six-cylinder? That bad-boy is kick
Upon arriving at Dan's school, I hurriedly ushered my oldest son
out the door with a gaggle of other children trailing behind. There
was a boy following me who did not look up from his gadget. He
exited the building without reaching for the door handle or even
acknowledging my presence. This was followed by several other kids
who fully expected me to continue holding the door. With faces
buried in books and electronics, these kids trusted I was a kind
and patient mom who had all the time in the world to stand there
and aid in their departure.
They had grossly misjudged me:
"LISTEN KIDS. I am not here so you can advance to Level 3 in
whatever game you're playing. You need to pay attention. Look UP.
You are not the center of the universe. You need to hold the door
open for yourselves and the kids behind you."
Nobody looked up. So I tried a different approach. It was a
technique my parents had once used, a practice so revered and
respected, its roots precede recorded history:
The Cautionary Tale.
"Hey guys, do know what IS the center of the universe?
SINKHOLES. And they will eat you ALIVE."
I began embellishing the "true" story of poor Marty O'Brien who
made the tragic mistake of not looking where he was going. Just as
Marty headed out one morning to play in the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
for….er….CHESS, the boy disappeared under the venomous moving
earth. It was speculated that Marty sank all the way to China where
he was immediately imprisoned for being an international spy.
Naturally a parent walked by as I was detailing the unsavory
facts of what happens to sinkhole spies in Communist prisons.
Busted. And for the second time in a year, my name has been
permanently removed from a CPS field trip volunteer list.
More naps for me, I guess.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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