Contest Time!

Most of the time, when I talk to moms with fewer than five kids, they follow up their stories of feeling overwhelmed with a statement like, “and I only have two children.”

I’ve never felt, though, like five kids gives me a corner on the overwhelmedness market.  (For those of you who think I made that word up, I did.  It’s pronounced overwhelm-ed-ness.)

My hand to God, I was overwhelmed when we had one child.  I was overwhelmed when we had three.  And I’m overwhelmed now.

Here’s a universal truth: any number of children is overwhelming.  (Well, unless your names are Dave and Judy and you had my husband, Greg, as your first child.  Then you weren’t overwhelmed because he was easy-peasy.  But you were a touch overconfident about how good you were at raising him.  So God gave you Jeff.  And then you weren’t quite so self-congratulatory.  Let that be a lesson to any of you who’re currently thinking that parenting is cake.  God will get you.)

As I was saying, any number of children is overwhelming.

If you couple children with Things You Have To Do, then you’re sunk.  Overwhelming is knocking on your door, and, frankly, he’s not waiting for you to answer; he’s kicking it down.  The good news is, you can laugh in Overwhelming’s face.

In the span of 4 hours on Saturday morning, Greg and I took 3 kids to Nutcracker rehearsal, 2 kids to Christmas program rehearsal, 3 kids to a Christmas open house, 2 kids to a birthday party, and brought 3 extra kids home for a playdate. That’s, like, 13 kids, and I only have 5 so I’m not totally sure how we accomplished that.  I’m almost positive some of the kids overlapped in there, but don’t make me tell you who or when, OK?

That’s my overwhelmedness story from this weekend.

I thought it would be fun if we played a game on this blog.  I haven’t done this before, and it could be a total flop, but bear with me.  (I almost typed “bare with me.”  That would’ve been embarrassing.)

My friend Sally mentioned recently that she likes my blog.  Well, I like Sally!  But she also said I don’t post often.  That’s true.  I’d like to fix that, and I’d also thoroughly enjoy interacting more with you, my seven readers.

A contest of sorts is the perfect solution, yes?  Yes!

Today, we’re going to play “I’m more overwhelmed than you are.” All participants are welcome. Please do not think you need to have 5 or more children to play.  You simply have to feel as though overwhelmedness is part and parcel with your life and to have the desire to laugh in its face.

As you may or may not know, I cleaned out my purse recently.  I emerged a wealthier woman, having found several gift cards with balances still on them.  Prizes!

You’re playing for coffee.  I feel like that’s appropriate since caffeine is one of only five known antidotes for overwhelmedness.  (I made that up, too.  There probably aren’t four other antidotes.)

Anyway, you’re playing for coffee.  That’s right, coffee!  And not just for the Starbucks gift card I found that has $1.55 left on it.  Oh no.  You’re playing for the $20.00 Starbucks gift card I found AND for the $1.55 gift card.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, that’s $21.55 in Starbucks coffee just in time to use them as Christmas gifts.

This contest will be judged by my fabulous sister-in-law, Kim, and by my friend, Sally… the one who likes my blog… if they’ll have me.  As two of my seven readers, I feel it’s important to include them.  I didn’t actually ask them to be judges, and I don’t have any idea what criteria they’ll use.  That just makes this all the more fun for me!

The winner will be selected from comments to this post and announced on this blog no later than Monday.  Comments submission deadline is this Saturday.

Good luck!

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
51 comments
  1. oh wow, I had a great time reading all this! Thanks to everyone for sharing and making me feel a lot less overwhelmed and ready for the weekend! yay!

  2. […] sincere thanks for your entries in the Overwhelmedness Contest last week.  You made my first contest an overwhelming success, and I’m grateful for your […]

  3. Wow! These are some amazing tales of overwhelmedness I sat down and read them all and Kim and I will soon discuss!

    In case you want to hear about my week:
    I have 3 boys, aged 7, 4 & 2.
    In our house this week we have had
    1 sinus infection
    1 bout of pink eye
    1 bout of strep throat
    2 small boys with incessant coughs

    It’s been a delightful week.

    I had 30 minutes of solace in which I chose to read your entries. Which were *awesome* by the way.

    While I read the entries 2 of my boys decided to go pee in the toilet (thankfully). At the same time. One penis peed on the other penis. On purpose.

    Which is why I am qualified to judge this very prestigious contest. 😉

  4. My mother recently admitted, when I called her for advice about Leigh, that when my father was on the road when we were little (2-3 days a week) that she would lie to us about the time and serve us dinner an hour early and send us to bed an hour early. If she’d told me this earlier in my life, I would have thought she was evil, but now I realized she was a genius.

    1. Webb, I love this sentence about your mom… “If she’d told me this earlier in my life, I would have thought she was evil, but now I realized she was a genius.” How parenting changes us!

  5. I am too overwhelmed to read the other responses but here it goes:
    Overwhelmedness

    My hubby has been gone since May
    I remember the day he said, “Hey,
    I have to go for a year
    but I will always be near
    via Skype, mail or telephone
    I will make sure you’re not alone

    Well, dear, it is now December
    and I don’t quite remember
    you cleaning up puke in the middle
    of the night, not from 1 but 6 kids…
    that’s right, not via Skype

    Our 4 kids, plus my sister’s two
    means that I have less time to
    shave my legs, wash my hair, or
    put on my face,
    yes, I go outside
    looking a mess!

    My socks don’t match,
    the milk and bread is always gone
    I am now having adult conversations with my dog!

    But, alas, I remember
    it is now December
    You will be home for the holiday’s
    and I will be able to wash away
    the grime, gook, and Fruit Loops
    from my hair while you….

    Take the kids to karate and school….
    wait, I’m a fool!
    School’s out for winter break, you won’t
    have to fuss and ache but maybe
    just maybe, you can make some of
    your famous pancakes
    that always puts a smile on my face!

    1. Jasmin, I’m so very impressed that you channeled your overwhelmedness into a poem! Amazing! Here’s wishing you a well-deserved holiday with your husband.

  6. Greatest Contest ever! I’m loving all the posts. No one could make this stuff up if they tried. So do I qualify as most overwhelmed by trying to keep up with the Old Marine for 45 years?

    So do you make any contest compensation for age, said Marine, four children, and (almost) eight grandchildren? I can’t keep up with any of them but I try to give them a run for their money. So going forward I have two single car garages of junk that must be condensed into one garage by Dec 31 (only fair to admit I have the Old Marine helping), Christmas to shop and wrap for said family by Dec 23, gifts to mail by Dec 17, house to prepare for a photo shoot by Dec 20, hoping for grandchild overnight by Dec 20, grandchildren s’ program, gifts to finish making, and a small surgery before Dec 31. But a coffee lover really needs to win, because I hate the stuff. Wondering if Jeff’s solution might be an option? Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, despite our overwhelmedness. (Like your word, Beth). Thanks for the fun.

    1. Old Marine’s Wife — I had thought of competing with a single sentence. “I was married to Old Marine’s brother.” I think you and I both should get a special award. 😉

  7. I have a 4 kids…had 4 under 3, now they’ve grown to 4 under 5 (I have a 5 year old boy, 4 year old girl and 2 year olds boy twins). Here is something I wrote just a month ago because I was determined to capture in writing at least one day of this “season” of life. I should have written the other 603 day down…they’ve ALL been just as entertaining…to say the least!

    Day 604 with the twins:

    Hunter is home from school, for the second day, with a bad concussion he got 2 days ago from falling out of a tree in the backyard, onto cement.

    Twins woke up at 7:45am. I did their diapers and duct-taped them on. To prevent them from not only removing the diapers and pooping on the ground..but also from playing in it. Today, I didn’t want that battle and with how well the duct tape is working out…this will be the plan for quite a while.

    Friend calls to confirm she is coming over for a play date. “Of course, we’re still on!”

    I did the breakfast dishes and while doing so the babies played with Comet powder and poured some on the floor in the garage. I removed the babies from the scene and ran to answer the phone.

    My neighbor called to borrow some cake mix.

    Neighbor arrives and we are chatting. As we chat I smell Comet wafting through the house. Shoot…I neglected to clean up the earlier spill and close the garage. Babies have now returned to the scene of the crime dumped the entire can of Comet and are dancing around in it. Most certainly breathing in the fumes.

    I pull out the vacuum to clean up the poisonous mess.

    During that time, the babies have teamed up (once again) to climb on the kitchen counter and do art with an entire stick of butter.

    Take babies down, clean up butter.

    Frantic cleaning commences so house is presentable for play date.

    As I vacuum the family room, so my friend’s precious newborn can safely roll around…friend arrives…I am still in my pajamas. Perfect.

    While we visit…the big kids lock her daughter out of their room and say they want to play alone. Visit interrupted for training a child. Kids say they are hungry, cut up apple to share. Don’t want to share. Interrupt visit for training a child.

    Kids begin jumping off the couch. Guest says “it’s time to go.” Scared guest away.

    So, guest is gone and it is time to feed kids lunch. Of course they don’t want anything.

    Duct-taped second round of diapers.

    Sit Drew on the potty…he pees for the first time.

    Put twins in cribs for nap.

    Twins out of bed. Put twins back. Twins out of bed. Put twins back. Twins out of bed. Put twins back. Twins playing in crib…pounding their sippy cups against side of the crib. Well, at least they’re still in their cribs.

    Sounds change from up in the twins room, time to go check on them AGAIN!

    Twins weren’t banging their sippy cups after all. They were banging a toy against the light socket and cracking it and the wall surrounding it into a thousand pieces.

    It’s only 2:30pm.

    Naps are over.

    I think I’ll change my goal to an early bedtime.

    1. Oh, Cindy, you killed me with this entry. I was twitching on the couch with post-traumatic stress flashbacks from my twin boys. It was fabulous.

      Kim, my sister-in-law and judge of this contest, may be particularly stricken with your duct tape reasoning. I’m not saying that her 2-year-old has ever played in her diaper mess, but only because that’s not my place to say. 🙂

      1. And the best part is that it is only 1 day of 700+ (of having 4 toddlers)…but they all sound the same. I guess that is what makes it overwhelming…it is all day, every day…but it is also what makes it funny…sort of…and mind-numbing. 🙂

    2. I wish you could’ve overhears the number of times this week I’ve told people your story, Cindy. Too bad we don’t have a “word count” option in real life… my counts for duct tape, comet and butter are WAY up.

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