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What am I doing all this for?

There’s nothing like a cathartic breakdown in the Starbucks drive-thru to help a mom gain some perspective.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. [ Courtesy of Lynn Cristina ]
Published Jan. 22, 2020

I had a rough morning recently, the kind of morning that makes you question your existence. It started out as the usual chaos you’ll find in our home on any given day. Then it just spiraled out of control.

I was up late the night before writing my column, as I often do, and I overslept.

I overslept just a smidge, but it was enough to throw us way off schedule. To make it worse, my husband was out of town, so I had nobody to tag in.

I made the girls breakfast and went upstairs to get ready. Just when you think they are old enough to eat, brush their teeth and get dressed on their own — they are not.

Related: Getting my divas dressed in the morning

While I was upstairs, the little one drenched the dog with water, purposely cracked three eggs on the kitchen floor and attempted her first Picasso on the hardwood floors using black Sharpie.

I lost it — like, in a Mommie Dearest kind of way. Why can’t they follow directions? Why do they get so off track?

Then I wondered: is this normal? Are my kids normal? Am I a terrible mother? Are they acting out because they need more from me? Why are we in this constant state of feeling like I am pulling myself out of quicksand?

Related: The parenting challenges of Mom Solo

Ella barely made it to school on time, and I put Adriana in the car with her hair all crazy and no shoes or socks. Of course, I cleaned her up at school, but when I tried to leave the classroom she just wouldn’t let go. In that moment I was annoyed. I needed to get to work; I could not deal with this because I have other responsibilities. So I left her with her teacher as she called out for me.

I got into the car and my heart was just breaking. But life must go on, so I headed to Starbucks for the fuel that keeps me moving forward. As I waited in line to order my usual $7.00 drink, a new mommy blog popped up in my Facebook feed. The title was, Laying with your kids at night is NOT a bad habit. As I read it, I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks.

You see, the night before, my older daughter asked me to lay with her and I told her no. She is 7.

It was 9:30 and I simply said, “No baby. Daddy isn’t home, and I need to clean up, make your lunch, finish the laundry, take the dogs out and write my column.” I told her I loved her and walked out of her room.

Related: Dinnertime is a circus and I am the ringmaster

As I read this mom blog I was just sobbing to the point that I had to take off my glasses and put on my shades so the Starbucks guy wouldn’t see me crying.

As I took my muffin and my Venti Peppermint Mocha with an extra shot, I realized how dependent I am on this stuff. I wiped away my tears and took a sip of the caffeine concoction that keeps me going — to my next meeting, to the next blog post, through my after-hour commitments, or to my side hustle or the next activity with the kids.

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I kept thinking about the message the Soccer Mom Blog had for me: they are only little for so long. They are only going to ask you for one more hug or to lay with them at night for a little while. Then, God willing, they grow into the independent successful people you are trying so hard to create, and they don’t need you anymore.

So, why am I rushing through life? Why am I so overcommitted? Everything I do is for them, but in the meantime, I feel like I am missing out on really being there for them in the way they need me to be. Which makes me question: what am I doing all of this for?

Nothing like a cathartic breakdown in the Starbucks drive through and the words of another mother to help you gain some perspective on life.

Lynn Cristina is a mother of two who works full time as a marketing manager. Contact her at lcristina@tampabay.com or on Instagram @lynncristinablogs.