5:00 On A Friday Night

Yesterday I had a significant freakout about the arrival of summer. I was panicking. And I wasn’t at all physically or emotionally prepared for the transition.

I was so exhausted that as soon as I got Number 6 and 7 into bed, I crashed on my own bed before 9 pm.

My husband was working down in the basement.

Number 4 was  at a carnival with a friend. I texted her mom and told her I was sorry, but I was too tired to stay awake until Number 4 got home, I couldn’t stay up another minute, and that she could just let Number 4 run inside when she dropped her off.

I  like to go out to the car to say thank you whenever someone drops the kids off, but last night I just couldn’t do it.

I left Number 3 and 5 out on the couch watching television, and I passed out.

Number 5 woke me up at 3 a.m. because she was thirsty, so I got her a water bottle and got back into bed.

At 3:30, I was still wide awake.

I had gotten six hours of sleep already, and my alarm usually goes off at 4:30 a.m. I knew sleep would not return anytime soon.

So I got up.

I made some coffee, did some laundry, got a little bit of work done, worked out on the elliptical for 40 minutes while I watched another episode of Scandal (holy shnikes I love that show), and then took a shower.

I took Number 3 and 4 to swim practice, coached this morning, and taught a bunch of swim lessons this afternoon. By 3:30, I was done for the day.

The kids were pretty good today. There were one or two episodes where a couple of them tried to beat the crap out of each other, but for the most part, they were great.

And today is the first Friday in a very long time where I don’t have swim practice at night.

That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. Like since last September.

It’s the first Friday night, in nine months, where I am home, all the kids are home, and we just have a regular, non-scheduled, semi-relaxed night.

I was so overwhelmed and freaked out yesterday I didn’t even realize that while my daytime schedule might become a little more challenging, my nighttime schedule has become much more manageable. Especially tonight! And not just tonight.

Every Friday night for the rest of the summer!


So once I was done with my lessons, I told the kids I was going to take a shower.

I was interrupted twice. Once because someone broke a bowl and once because someone clogged a toilet, but other than that, I was able to shower in relative peace.

By 4:30 I was clean and dressed in my pajamas, and able to get dinner started without having to throw all the kids in the car and rush off anywhere.

It was foreign. It was weird.

And it was awesome.

Two of the kids were outside playing badminton. Three of the kids were swimming in the pool. One kid was up in bed reading.

It was, as far as I’m concerned, the perfect summer night.

Everyone was having fun doing what they wanted to do.

And so, at 5:00 on a Friday night, in my pajamas and after having enough time to just pause and exhale, I noticed how gross the floor was.

I took out the vacuum, feeling oddly grateful to have this opportunity to leisurely clean my floor. And as I was vacuuming in my pajamas during happy hour time on a Friday night, I thought about what I might have been doing fifteen years ago at this time on a Friday night.

I certainly wouldn’t have been doing housework. In my pajamas.

I definitely would have been celebrating happy hour in the traditional manner with my (childless) coworkers.

And immediately after that thought, as if the Universe felt the need to slap me in the face, I very vividly recalled a conversation I had with one of my fellow teachers about sixteen years ago.

I remember  exactly where I was, sitting at one of the student’s desks in her empty classroom after all the kids had gone home, telling her how I looked forward to the day that I had kids and a family. And how I hoped I’d be able to stop teaching so I could stay home with them.

And for a couple hours this afternoon and tonight, my life was exactly how I envisioned it back then.

I couldn’t see that this past week. Because it was a shit show.

In fact the past couple of weeks have been kind of a disaster. I fucked up multiple times. Among other things, I completely missed a class party, a dentist appointment, a baseball practice, and a swim practice.

I almost forgot Number 3’s birthday. And if it weren’t for my parents, he wouldn’t have had any birthday presents or a cake.

I’ve been feeling like a failure. Like I’ve let my kids down.

And then, tonight happened.

We did nothing spectacular, but my kids had a great day.

I kind of did, too.

I’m not doing things perfectly.

But I’m not doing them all that badly, either.

So I’m not nearly as freaked out as I was yesterday. And I’m easing into summer.

It’s funny how when you calm down, relax and stop putting unreasonable expectations and demands on  yourself that things just kind of fall into place, isn’t it?

Nothing ever really goes exactly the way we hope it will and the Shitshow episodes air more often than we’d all like sometimes.

But there are also lots of  awesome moments (some spectacular and some more mundane) sprinkled in between.

Tonight as I vacuumed my dirty floor in my pajamas at 5:00 on a Friday night, I was given a gift. A reminder. A gentle slap in the face.

Not all parts of my life are as I pictured them years ago.

But a lot of them are.

And life really isn’t all that bad.

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Today’s “You’re Not The Only One Who F*cked Up Today” Moment Is Brought To You By Me

I fucked up last night.

So I thought I’d share this with you just in case you are beating yourself up over your own fuck  up.

First of all, let me remind you of this:

Whether you have one kid or ten kids, whether this is your first kid or your last kid, whether you are a young mom or an old mom, whether you are single or married or divorced, whether you are fat or thin or tall or short or organized or disorganized…


Okay. Back to my story.

Every night I coach the swim team. I coach three different practice groups from 5:00 – 8:00. Number 4, 5, 6, and 7 are in two of those groups.

Number 3 swims in a whole other group that practices at a different pool. He’s done at 6:30. Sometimes when his practice is finished, if he doesn’t have a lot of homework, he comes to where I am and plays basketball until I’m done coaching at 8:00 and then I bring him home with me.

On those nights when he wants to play basketball, I text my friend whose son swims with Number 3 and who is also his BFF, and she gives him a ride to the Y.

So last night Number 3 wanted to come play basketball after his practice.

I dropped him off at the pool and told him I’d see him later.

Then I totally forgot about him.

And I also totally forgot to text my friend.

I went to the pool and coached my practices.

Two-and-a-half hours later, Number 3 came walking onto the pool deck at 7:45.

As soon as I saw him, I realized what I had done. Or what I hadn’t done.

“Oh My God. I totally forgot about you. I’m so sorry,” I said to him.

He was actually very understanding about it.

He had called me a bunch of times, but I don’t take my phone out on deck with me when I’m coaching, so I didn’t see the calls.

Number 3 waited until the practice after his was done, and he got a ride to the Y then.

He was super bored and a little bummed that he missed out on playing basketball, but he was fine.

So we learned a couple things from this latest fuck up.

I was reminded that although Number 3 had to sit at the pool for over an hour and wait for someone to give him a ride, he survived. He’s not traumatized. Boredom never killed a kid.

I’m reminded to make sure I don’t wait until 5:00 to make sure driving arrangements are put in place.

I’m reminded to go easy on my kids and my husband when they mess up because it happens to all of us.

And I’m reminded that when I don’t point fingers, blame and get defensive, when I sincerely apologize (without adding a “but…” after), and when I take complete responsibility for my fuck up, my kids are pretty good about it.

Hopefully I’m teaching them a thing or two from this.

I know they are definitely teaching me.

When all is said and done, we are all a little bit wiser for having experienced this latest fuck up.

And in the end, it didn’t end up being such bad thing after all.

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If you want to start swimming or complete your first triathlon in 2017 but are intimidated by the pool, read this!

My Pinterest account is completely neglected.

I don’t really know what I’m doing with it, and I know I need to devote some serious time to it.

It’s on my list of goals for 2017.

Even being a total joke, I have one pin that gets repinned multiple times a day.

Especially now that it’s the new year and people are motivated to turn over a new leaf.

It’s a one mile swim workout.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. If there’s something I know a lot about, it’s swimming.

Yet I rarely write about it.

So I thought I’d share a couple words of wisdom and give you a quick swimming tutorial.

Because I believe that swimming is one of the best workouts you can give your body.

It’s a great cardio workout, but it’s also much gentler on your body than running is, and it gives your entire body a workout, as opposed to a spin class that really just works your legs.

I know if you aren’t a swimmer, getting in the pool for the first time can be a pretty intimidating thing.

Forget the fact that you may not feel totally comfortable in a bathing suit.

There is also the fact that you might not know how things work once you step on the pool deck, you are convinced everyone else in the pool will be a former Olympic swimmer, you are afraid the people who do know what is going on won’t be very nice to you, and you are wondering if you are going to make a fool out of yourself.

I can tell you that this has been my experience with cyclists.

They can be pretty brutal.

They are intimidating and they will tell you to get the fuck out of their way and they will definitely tell you what you are doing wrong.

I know part of it is because riding on the road with cars zooming by is dangerous.

But still.

Cyclists, in my experience, can be pretty nasty.

This is not the case with swimmers.

In fact, experienced swimmers are the coolest people in the pool.

They will share a lane with you and if they are fifty times faster than you, they will just swim around you.

You don’t need to worry about them at all.


So in most pools when there is lap swimming, if there is one person already in a lane, you ask them if you can share the lane with them. They will move over and swim on one side while you swim on the other side.

When there are more than two people in a lane, you are supposed to do what is called circle swimming.

This is what people on the swim team do.

You swim down on the right side of the lane and back on the left side.  So you are swimming in a circle (really a super big oblong oval) in your lane. It’s just like you are driving on the road.

Experienced swimmers are used to circle swimming. They will swim with multiple people in a lane without hesitation. If they are much fast than you, they will swim around you when they catch up to you and they will alter their workout or speed to make things work. They don’t mind.

It’s the non-experienced swimmers who are much more likely to give you a hard time. They don’t like to circle swim because they have never done it that way, and they want to go along at whatever pace they feel comfortable with without having to worry about anyone else bothering them.

Some pools are good about enforcing circle swimming when there are a lot of people who want to swim.

Other pools, not so much.  And swimmers will end up standing at the end of the pool, waiting for someone else to finish swimming, and jump in as soon as they see an open spot.

So my first suggestion for novice swimmers and triathletes is to go to the pool before you swim and talk to the lifeguards. Ask them when the least busy times of day are at the pool and try to go then if you can.

Next, if you know someone who is a good swimmer, ask them to go with you to the pool. They will show you the ropes, and they will not care how slow you are or how you look in a bathing suit. They will just be happy to help you out!

Once you get your butt in a lane, here is the next thing.

Swimming cane be pretty fucking boring.

Your face is in the water. You can’t talk to anyone, and you can’t even breathe whenever the hell you want to.

While they do make some sort of iPod or something that is waterproof, nobody ever really uses those. So you can’t listen to music or anything to distract you like you do when you run or when you are in a spin class.

So if you get past the intimidation factor, then you have to deal with the boredom factor.

This is where swimming with a buddy is helpful if you can swing it.

You may not be able to talk to each other like you would if you were going for a walk or a run, but at least you are getting through the workout together!

For me, when I’m swimming alone though, the quiet is nice. It’s sort of like a meditation in water.

Even still, there is only so long you can go back and forth in a pool with your face in the water.

And I see a lot of people get in the pool and just swim non-stop for thirty minutes or an hour.


Now that is boring.

People on the swim team don’t get into the pool and just swim non-stop for two hours.

Practice is broken up into sets.

Swim practices are similar to a Tabata class or a HIIT workout where you do a certain number of reps of a particular exercise for a certain amount of time.

Next thing.

Most pools are 25 yards long.

1 length of the pool = 25 yards

2 lengths = 50 yards

4 lengths = 100 yards


On the swim team, if I want my swimmers to swim one length of backstroke, I tell them to swim a 25 back.

If I want them to swim 4 lengths of butterfly, I’d tell them to swim a 100 fly.

If I want them to swim twenty lengths of freestyle, I tell them to swim a 500 free.

You catch my drift.

So most swim practices are broken up into several sets of different distances, where you have a certain amount of time (an interval) in which to swim that distance.

That’s way more fun to get through than swimming non-stop for a half hour or an hour!

Plus, when you break up your swim workout into different reps of different distances, you can increase the intensity of those reps, and you get more out of your workout than swimming back and forth for  thirty minutes at a moderate pace.

Okay. So all that being said, below is a half mile swim workout for you.

Oh yeah. One more thing.

Technically a mile is 1760 yards.

This does not translate to an exact number of lengths of a 25 yard pool. And I don’t have the energy or desire to explain it specifically, so I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you that in competitive swimming, the “mile” event in swimming is 1650 yards. That’s 66 lengths of the pool.

It’s not technically a mile.

But that’s what we’ll call it.

The workout I have here for you today is 8oo yards, and it’s a great place to start if you are new to swimming:


Give it a try!

For a new swimmer, this will probably take you around twenty – thirty minutes to complete, depending on your speed.

The total distance is 800 yards, which is the same distance you swim in a sprint triathlon.

Stay tuned for more swim workouts! I’m hoping to post a new one each week where we will build up the distances you swim at once.

Now go pack your swim bag. Because you are ready to get your butt in the pool!



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