A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NY MOM
You read about it in novels and magazines and such. . .”Midwest artist moves to New York City,” but what happens after the last chapter of the novel where she marries the Excentric Artist that is her Soul Mate? What happens next? This is the first chapter of that second book. That sequel that isn’t a novel, or a dry biography with lists of accomplishments, or a poem with dark hidden meanings, but more like prose. Prose = A poem with its own unique and changing meter. Because anytime the word “mom” is in a sentence, you know that there can’t be a set meter–it is bound to change and then change again. Prose that is rooted in reality and real warmth–not the fluffy romantic-novel-kind, but the real kind that runs kids to Art Camp, cooks supper, pays bills, strokes the cat, and yet still manages to sit on the front stoop with that Excentric Soul Mate and share the day. Meet Bethany–a NY Mom and follow her for A Day in the Life of a NY Mom.
But before we begin, let me clarify. Bethany was always smarter than me. You may not need to look up the words “gentrified” or “diatomaceous”, but I had to.
gentrified = renovate aging neighborhood: to transform a run-down or aging neighborhood into a more prosperous one, e.g. through investment in remodeling buildings or houses
diatomaceous earth= Diatomaceous earth ( /ˌdaɪ.ətəˌmeɪʃəs ˈɜrθ/) also known as D.E., diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder
There is just something about New York City. . . .
Friday, August 10
This might not be a typical day, but it’s a day and that’s all that counts. I live in Brooklyn, which is NOT called the City if you live here, only Manhattan earns that coveted designation, so I’m just making it clear :). I have two boys, Douglas (10) and Fynn (6), and my husband Michael is an artist and freelance art handler/installer, and we live on the first floor of a Brownstone in the Fort Greene section of town.
It’s known for it’s historic homes, and is rapidly getting gentrified. As we’ve been rent-poor for 9 years, and have rented out our living room to various folks for 8 of those years, we’re moving in 7 weeks to something much much cheaper and out of the city … but that’s a tale for another day!
Of the two boys in residence on this particular day, only one of them is mine, and the other is a visiting cousin. Douglas is away at camp in NH for 3.5 weeks, thanks to a scholarship, at the coolest place you can ever imagine (www.beamcamp.org) for kids who like to make things. My boys make things all day long, and then some. Out of Lego, mud, sticks, anything cool they can find on the street or in the trash … they like to create STUFF. So while he was away, we imported a cousin to keep Fynn company for awhile, and they’ve been going to an Art Camp together this week. I do web/graphic design at night, or during lulls in homeschooling, and bartered my web services for a week of camp for Fynn … I love bartering!
So Friday I woke at 7:30, when the boys got up. I’m rarely up before they are, as I’m usually up many hours past them at night. I managed to wave, and rolled over for another 30 minutes. Then I bolted out of bed, threw together smoothies to tide them over while I guiltily checked FB, made real breakfast, packed lunches and towels and water bottles, fed the cats, and herded the boys out the door by 8:55.
It was “dress like an alien or robot or anything Mars related” day, so we’d recycled a custom-made hat for Fynn from last year (dad’s a whiz with foam and a glue gun) and modified an unfinished costume of Douglas’s for the cousin the night before.
It’s about a 3/4 mile walk to the camp, which takes place in a backyard, and as we’d actually left with a few minutes to spare (a rarity), we wandered our way over. I steered them past the spot where a movie crew had taken up 2 blocks with their equipment the day before, but there were just a few crates of stuff left to be packed up so we kept going.
I dropped them off at 9:35 and then ambled my own way back home, reveling in the end of a week of days to myself, something that only happens once a year and boy is it delightful!
I stopped at the fruit truck and treated myself to cherries and nectarines, then came home and dug in to paperwork, client work, and lots of computer backup/cleanup stuff from 10-12.
I grabbed some leftovers for lunch and returned to my desk.
12:30 to 1 was spent combing craiglist.org for housing rentals upstate, our intended residence for the winter. It started to rain, making me glad I wasn’t entertaining 15 kids in a backyard. The next half hour was spent ransacking the house for a receipt, as I wanted to file it with a copy of an invoice, and it was nowhere to be found. I did manage to sort the piles while hunting, at least into deductable/nondeductable groups.
As the rain tapered off I went out on the porch to battle the aphids and ants that seem bent on destroying the little maple tree that a squirrel helpfully planted in one of my pots years ago. Diatomaceous earth to the rescue!
At 2pm I had to do a little more purging of stuff in prep for a move, so I tidied the reading loft, pitched two big armloads of books into the stoop sale pile, answered a few more emails, and ran out the door at 2:30 to pick up the boys.
The kids had set up a lemonade stand, which all the parents were to buy from of course, and so we cheerfully forked over money for green lemonade and gathered up the myriad of projects that they were to bring home.
Thankfully none were too large … the coolest one I thought was that they’d made their own slate chalkboards, complete with home-made erasers and chalk. Not fun to stuff in a 6-year-old’s backpack, but nice to have :).
We walked most of the way home with friends, arriving at 3:30 to snacks and leftover lunch bits. Then I planned dinner and the boys dove into the Lego.
At 4:30 I convinced them to take on a Lego-sorting project that had been lurking in my mind for a few days, in exchange for some cold hard cash. Since the collection has grown thanks to ebay and birthdays and such, it’s been stored in a 10-gallon tote that gets regularly dumped on the floor of their small bedroom. They’re always digging in the bottom for special pieces, losing them, and then I vacuum them up by accident after the cats have batted them into dark corners. I armed them with the project bins from their homeschooling shelf, helped them decide how best to split them up, and worked with them on it till 6:15, when my husband came home from work and I realized that I’d gotten lost in Lego and never started supper!
Halfway through cooking I found I was missing an ingredient or two (that big can of tomatoes turned out to be tomato sauce) and ran around the corner to Mr. Coco, my constant dinner rescuer. It’s a tiny 24/7/365 grocery store that stocks organic and gluten free stuff along with a little bit of everything else.
By 7:20 I put dinner on the table, and then Michael took care of the boys while I took a phone call.
At 8:40 we were back at Lego stuff, and by the time that was done and stories and teeth and prayers were had, the boys finally got to bed at 10:30! Late bedtimes are pretty normal around here, as our mornings are flexible thanks to homeschooling and freelancing.
At 11:15 I had my nightly hang-out-on-the-stoop-and-talk-about-the-day with my husband.
By 12:15 I was back on the computer for a bit, and finally hit my pillow at 12:45.
So there you have it. A Day in the Life of a NY Mom. We enjoyed the rhythm of her day, smiled at the Lego “clean-up”, touched the sun-warmed fur of her cat, drank some green “lemnad”, and followed her around the apartment looking for that lost receipt!! And after hearing about her day we realize that we aren’t the only mom that battles Lego messes, starts supper with missing ingredients, ramsancks the house for a lost receipt, or grins while drinking green lemnad. We understand about enjoying a few moments home alone, and we enjoyed sharing them with her. Thanks for sharing your day.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you have a NY tourist question, or want to know more about bartering services, or if you just want to shout hello to a fellow mom across cyberspace, write it in the Comments section. Bethany will be able to see them and answer. Bethany also has a blog called Sane Moms.com where she not only chronicles her life, but also hosts discussions on how to stay sane as a mom.
She sells this T-shirt with the cool design on the front, but check out what the back says.
I LOVE IT!!
And remember, any typos and misspelled words are holy my fault.
And stay tuned for the next post in the series of “A Day in the Life of a Missionary in Colombia.” (I know, I already promised this post two months ago, but maybe this time I will get it all finished up.)
If you liked this post, you may also enjoy
A Day in the Life of Ms. Dot–Soup Kitchen Volunteer
A Day in the Life of a Down Under Mum
A Day in The Life of a Canadian Farm Wife
A Day in the Life of a Newly Wed
A Day in The Life of a Mom of Seven
Thanks for stopping by,
I enjoyed reading about your day. I have vacuumed up many an important piece of Lego myself over the years. It was a pleasure to catch up with your parents a few months ago when they visited Melbourne. Your mom filled me in on your life in Brooklyn, and I have looked at your blog a few times. All the best with your upcoming move. Christie
Thanks Christie! I caught up a bit on your life via your blog awhile back, but failed to comment … good to hear from you :). Glad to know I have company in the world of lego, it’s rather daunting at times!
Lovely street scenes – if I squint at the pic with the blue bin in the middle it reminds me of where I lived in Liverpool when I was at college there – a lot of big old merchant houses converted to flats and very broad streets with the trees starting to push the paving slabs up – oh dear I’m getting all nostalgic.
It is a beautiful area, wide street and trees were a big draw to Brooklyn vs Manhattan. Not to mention prices :).
Thx much Reba, and for the record I don’t agree with that smarter bit in the least! So not true :). You know I’ve always been jealous/admiring of so many things you do. Glad we’re going on 40 years of friendship … some day I want to sit down and reminisce about the Peru/El Salvador years, the memories are some of my best :). xo.
I disagree about the smarter part, but agree about the Peru/El Salvador part. I still wish I had made the trip up to NY to see you before you moved, but such is my crazy life. Maybe when you build a strawbale house we can come up!
Agreed to disagree then :). Please do come visit whenever you can! If things go through as expected we’ll be right on the Delaware starting Oct 1, and have tubing and kayaking from our front yard … it’s a beautiful spot. Then on to cob building in a year or so … our kids do really need to meet before they’re teenagers, don’t you think?!
Boy I wish I knew this last week —- when I was right next door to Fort Greene (almost) in Sunset Park! Nick would have loved it too. Legomaniacs unite! Also, a fun link about lego in Brooklyn is here…..http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nyc-man-builds-incredibly-detailed-replica-of-brooklyn-out-of-hundreds-of-thousands-of-legos/
perhaps you’ve seen it.
And I think that you both (plus kids) would have all gotten along!
Good to hear someone else vacuums up legos! Only, I do it on purpose. It’s so much easier than bending over, picking it up, and making sure it gets put away. So much bother. Besides, isn’t there ALWAYS MORE where that came from??