T.S. Eliot nailed it.
April is most definitely the cruelest month.
While Eliot's reasons were masked in metaphor and symbolism (and perhaps guided by a hint of depression), I am going to be a bit more straightforward. Chicago moms are pushed to the edge every April. New seasonal stressors all seem to align at the same time to wreak complete havoc on our carpool heroes.
First up is the weather. With summer clothes carefully packed away in boxes, under beds, and in those plastic bags where you suck the air out with a vacuum, dropping the occasional 80 degree day on a mom is just plain mean. Good luck finding shorts that fit or a t-shirt that isn't wrinkled beyond all recognition. And just when I do finally locate the sandals and sunblock, in comes one final Chicago blizzard for good measure.
Next up is summer camp registration. The Chicago Park District launched a new site this month that was supposed to simplify a process that has long exasperated area mothers. In the past, it was nearly impossible to get a spot online as all openings were depleted within the first three minutes of the site going live. If you had more than one kid, you resigned yourself to the in-person registration a few weeks later. This is where folks would line up outside park district field houses at 5 a.m. in a desperate attempt to put siblings together at the same camp. While I miraculously had no problems with the site this year, I heard countless complaints about the screen freezing up during payment and parents being charged multiple times for the same registration.
I will definitely be checking the Visa bill next month just in case.
Then there are taxes. Trying to dig up all documentation and financial records to file my family's taxes in between coloring Easter eggs and registering for summer camp has never been a shining moment around my house. My choice of words is somewhat legendary, and I am sure it will be recounted in painstaking detail during my kids' future therapy sessions. Some mothers are quite orderly and this task is handled adeptly and without stress. Unfortunately, my organizational system resembles the one described in the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Then there is baseball practice. And report card pick-ups. And a ridiculous number of days off of school courtesy of April. With a First Communion also right around the corner, the impossible task of trying to find a suit to fit my very tall 7-year-old has confounded me. I've called 10 different stores looking for his size, and the only thing salespeople agree on is that Easter and Passover have sucked inventory dry.
I know, I know. A lot of this is my own fault. I'm a procrastinator. I should have planned ahead. I should have seen this all coming.
But it all just kind of "sprung" up on me.
And somewhere out there in the great expanse of time and perpetuity, T.S. Eliot is groaning.
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.