Don’t Panic

I thought that by this time in my life, I’d have a few more answers. Oh, not to the big questions like how to cure cancer or how to bring about world peace. I’m not even talking about questions like “how do I find a way to live on Toblerone, cheap wine, and mass quantities of coffee while still maintaining a perfect figure?”

That question would, of course, have to come after answering the question of “how do I actually get a perfect figure in the first place?”

I could even go my entire life without knowing the answers to “How many roads must a man walk down?” or “What do you get if you multiply six by nine?”

I just want the answers to the small things. I want to understand how other people seem to be able to get through their days without everything swirling into chaos of dirty dishes, unfinished projects, wrinkled clothes and adolescent zits at the age of forty-nine.

I want to know how other people manage to go through life without looking like Pigpen from “The Peanuts” by ten a.m. I don’t get it. I shower in the morning, do my hair and make-up, put on clean clothes. Just like everyone else, right? I even iron my clothes when necessary.

Oh, look, a Selfie

Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t even know where my iron is.

I’m not even sure I own an iron.

But still, I look normal and put-together for the first ten minutes or so, before all hell breaks loose. Dirt, stains, spills, wrinkles, and random dog hairs just seem to leap onto my body somewhere between the front door and my car. My hairspray fails, my mascara smudges, and my earring back drops into my bra, where I just might find it again later along with tidbits of breakfast and random bits of broccoli from lunch. By the time I get to wherever it is that I’m going, I look like I’ve slept in my clothes.

Sometimes, I look like I’ve been buried and brought back to life as a zombie in them.

I also want to know how other people always seem to be able to manage their money. I never have any. Okay, so I’m not exactly a highly-paid New York Times Bestselling author or a super-successful . . . well, anything. But still, I get a paycheck every other week. I try to pay my bills. I never splurge on luxuries for myself, other than the occasional Toblerone or bottle of $2.99 Boone’s Farm.

So why don’t I ever have any money? Where does it go?  How do other people do this?

I’m sure I spent some of that money on an iron at some point. It’s not like those things cost much, which is a good thing since it looks like I’m probably going to have to buy another one in the near future.

Another thing I want to know is how to be the kind of mom who’s got a handle of everything going on in her kids’ lives. I always seem to be missing some vital information about a band concert or a school party or a science project until the very last minute, at which point one of my children is guaranteed to tell me that I’ve known about it for weeks but simply chose to forget about it on purpose because I don’t love said child as much as I love the other two.

I kind of wish I knew how to be as good at laying on the passive-aggressive guilt trips as my children are. They must have learned it somewhere, but obviously not from me.

I’ve tried the dry-erase calendars and the Cozi family app on my phone. I’ve tried the Google calendar. I’ve tried everything.  I really  have. I simply have to face the fact that I have zero organizational skills and the attention span of a squirrel on crack.

The sad truth is that I’ve never even managed to keep a houseplant alive for more than a few weeks, and yet I’m responsible for three people that I helped bring into this world. It’s a minor miracle that all three are functioning human beings who manage to make it out the door every morning with food in their bellies and clothes on their bodies. If homework is done and no one is crying, it’s like winning the lottery.

I want answers because I’m turning fifty next month and I always thought I’d have things figured out by now. I really thought I’d have my shit together by this point. You know, be a good example. Have my poop in a group and know where my towel is and all that jazz.

I thought I’d have this adult thing all figured out.

At the very least, I thought I’d know where my iron is.


This post has been part of Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted this week by Kristi at Finding Ninee. This week’s sentence starter was “I thought by this time in life I’d  . . .”

Follow the link to see what some of the other bloggers have done with it!

And yes, in case anyone caught it, there are several references to Doug Adams in this week’s post. I don’t know why, but his work has been on my mind a lot lately. 

Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

16 thoughts on “Don’t Panic”

  1. So I tell myself it’s all smoke and mirrors:). Most of what we see from others tends to be a public face on things, I think. And here’s to us non-ironers! My youngest pointed to one in Target about about age 5, asking what is was. I told him what it was used for. The elderly woman in the aisle looked at me as if I had three heads–I’m sure appalled that he was clueless on the domestic front . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to know I’m not the only one! The sad thing is that I’m a quilter. I actually USE an iron a lot when I’m making a quilt top. So how, exactly, did I manage to lose the darn thing?! How does one lose an iron?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, you can blame it on your subconscious :-). But I think you should thank it. It knows what’s good for you. Less time ironing equals more time kicking back and relaxing!


  2. Ok to the iron. We had TWO when we moved in together (late life marriage – both married before) and now we either have none or I don’t know where they are. I do remember donating my ironing board when I moved across the country because I figured I hadn’t used it in three years because the stuff that needed ironing could be dry cleaned (money gone there too). I love this. And also um, I thought I’d be WAY more organized by now. For real. Thanks for linking up and your site – you’re making the changes, huh? I like so far 🙂


    1. Thanks for noticing! Yeah, I didn’t like the old theme because it made people work too hard to read the entire post. I’m experimenting with different colors and themes to make it easier to navigate.


  3. With you on the cleanliness front! I was asked by a pal to go to her relatives’ farm and we found ourselves feeding days old calves. She was wearing a white handknit sweater. I suggested perhaps she would like to change but no. Within minutes I was covered with milk and cow shit and she remained pristine. Spotless.
    As for an iron, I have one but I tend to use the steamer my daughter bought to keep her grad dress pristine!


    1. Kelly, your friend sounds like both of my sisters. I swear, those women could roll down a mountainside in the rain and land in a cow pasture and STILL look like they just stepped out of the pages of a catalog. They never look frumpy. Their clothes never get wrinkles or stains. Apparently, that gene skipped me.


  4. Oh my gosh I love this! I, too, have no idea where my iron is although I’m fairly certain that I do own one because I used it once or twice.
    I often wonder about those little questions. I have one child and can barely keep my shit together. How in the WORLD do people with two or three or five for heaven’s sake keep from losing their minds? This and many other questions also plague my restless mind at night.
    Love love love your post.


    1. Thank you, Lisa! What’s really sad for me is that one of my children has left for college and the chaos here has only gotten worse. I hate to admit it, but I think that means my kid has better organizational skills than I do.

      I have a friend who is a single mom with five kids who all play sports, and she somehow manages to do it all — and do it well! It’s a lucky thing she’s my friend, or I’d really hate her. 🙂


  5. Well I wish I had an answer for you about what kind of current house plant that I have that has more than nine lives. The only time I notice it is when it’s all drooped over the pot. I put water in it and voilá it comes back to life! If only everything else were that simple.

    I might have to up my taste in chocolate but I can’t go back to Boone’s Farm. LOL!


    1. Kenya, I’ve killed every plant but my pothos. I even killed the air fern. You know what an air fern needs to survive? AIR.

      As far as wines go, I really prefer a nice German Spatlese or Auslese. But $2.99 for a bottle of Boone’s Farm Snow Creek Berry is about all I can swing right now, and not often. It’s basically Kool-Aid for grown-ups.


  6. You’re my new hero 🙂 I have NEVER bought an iron. When I was 15 and finished my exams, mum turned to me and said “You can do your own ironing now” and I think I’ve ironed about three garments since then.

    When I was married, it was HIS iron, which followed us into the relationship, stayed unused, and then left with him afterwards.

    I still don’t iron. I hang things carefully to dry and the creases ‘hang’ themselves out 🙂

    I like the way you write 🙂 It’s fun.


    1. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever been anyone’s hero before! Such a responsibility . . . a cape, a mask, and a spray bottle of Wrinkle Releaser!

      Seriously, though, thank you for saying that you like the way I write. You made my day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have grandchildren, so I’ll take the chance that you’ve seen The Incredibles and say “NO CAPE!” in my very best Edna Mode voice 😉

        Glad I made your day. Reading your piece certainly brightened mine 🙂


      2. Okay, no cape — and no grandkids either, actually. I’m an older mommy . . . .had my first baby in my thirties and my last when I was 42. Everybody thinks I’m their grandma, but nope. Just a late bloomer, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

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