Imagine this: You’ve had the most wonderful weekend, with a great balance of running errands, spending quality time with friends and family, complete with an escape to spa-town! Sunday evening rolls around and you find yourself, on a time cliff staring down at Monday morning, imagining the drive down muddled Mopac. Oh, the butterflies in the tummy, a sense of exhaustion even before the week begins and then, the adrenaline rush signaling to your body that all will be fine.

I have these emotions, these overwhelming emotions on Sunday nights. I fill in the week ahead on my paper calendar, with activities and appointments. Feeling organized, I head to bed.

 Cut to, it’s the dawn of a new day and I’m up at 5:30am. Sleepily dragging myself to change into work out clothes. 20 minutes with Jillian Michaels gets me going for the day! Cheerfully yet quietly, I wake up my 8-year-old with a little nudge, careful not to so much as whisper lest my little 3-year-old tornado wakes up and runs circles around me. No words are exchanged till we reach the dining table. We eat breakfast and discuss our dreams from the night before. Yes, our dreams. I believe dreams can tell us so much about where our mind is at or has been. Like me, my son has very interesting yet weird dreams. Most recently, he has been dreaming of Pikachu and his comrades.

Each of us gets ready for the day and we head out at 7:08am on the dot. My son has his planner, folder, and lunch, all packed and ready to go. It’s uncanny how our schedules have aligned to the demands of Austin traffic = unpredictable MoPac. I drop him off at school – always the drop off line –  huge thank you to whoever came up with the concept! Then, spend 40+ minutes on my commute to work, with an audiobook.

I just described the ideal work+school morning. Do I get this every day? No. But I count myself lucky on the days that I do.

A typical day has me packing lunches, signing planners and getting breakfast ready at an unearthly hour, with my 3-year-old waking up just as I am about to sit down with my cuppa – having a toddler tantrum, expecting to be attended to and banging on the bathroom door because why would mommy ever need any privacy? My heart is constantly racing on such mornings because I know I have to go through the motions to get to work on time. I wake up my 8-year-old, only to constantly remind him to finish breakfast on time.  30 minutes of rushing through getting ready for work, trotting downstairs to find my daughter on her kiddie tablet, and son with his half-eaten breakfast! If this was eight years and two kids ago, I’d judge me hard but now, if this arrangement gives me a peaceful shower, so be it. Some more cajoling and we’re out the door for the day.

As crazy and fast-paced as my mornings can be, it’s MY organized chaos and I secretly love it. I imagine I am a participant in a show called ‘The Mom Race,’ and I must accomplish my tasks to win each morning. My victory is getting to work on time at 8am. Oddly enough, once I’m on my way to work, the long commute is calming! Somehow, horrid, cold MoPac turns into a strangely comforting traffic hug on some mornings. I’ll admit I have my best ideas while driving on it!  

I’m still figuring out my relationship with MoPac. For the time being, we are frenemies.

Note: For non-Austinites, MoPac is one of three main highways that connects North and South Austin. We can’t live with it and we can’t live without it.

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