I used to say things like, “I’m not good at math”, “My brain can’t process abstract math” and “Can you run through that one more time?” all through my education. Like most kids, I figured everyone either good at math or I wasn’t. Then I discovered different KINDS of math. Geometry was awful, Algebra was easier!

Thanks to Saved By The Bell, I understood the dangers of high pressure math tests.

“Jessie, those pills are dangerous!” “Well, so is geometry!”

( DO NOT take caffeine pills, even if you are so excited and just can’t hide it.)

When it came to math, I was NOT so excited. Then two math teachers helped it ‘click’ for me. Thanks, Mrs. Abusabi for making me not want to shove a log (xy) in my eye every day. Then Mrs. Bixler brought us to “Pretty Princess” land where math text books were stored next to pink feather boas and suddenly putting letters in equations made perfect sense. Above her chalkboard was a poster (and it is still there) that reads, “When will I use this?” with an explanation.

I knew that one day I’d have to use lots and lots of math. Some of it is typical usage, like calculating after-sale prices, taxes, and family budgeting. One day when I turned 22, all of it clicked and made sense. I want to tell my younger self that it will all be okay.

I realize there is an entirely new kind of math– MOM MATH.

After birth you start counting seconds, minutes, hours, and days differently. Your mind starts automatically calculating how many hours of sleep you can get or have had as soon as your eyes meet a clock. If Child A goes to sleep at 8pm and wakes at 5 am, Mom can get ideally get 9 hours of sleep. Subtract the two hours it takes to finish housework and prepare for the next day and ideally Mom can receive 6-7 hours of sleep. Excellent! You’re doing great.

Once this is accomplished, you can graduate to algebra level math and add variables. For example, Child B goes to sleep at 8pm and will wake at 5 am, subtracting 2 hours for night routine= 7 hours of ‘imaginary-not-going-to-happen’ sleep remain. Child A goes down for sleep at 8 pm as well. Variant x: it is Friday night during the summer. The teenager next door with wake the children with a loud car at 10 pm. Subtract 1 hour. Randomly, because Mom lives near a military instillation, artillery will fire for 15 minutes at 11:30 pm without warning. * A cannon for a victorious football team celebration can also be substituted. Child A will wake. Child B will sleep but fall out of bed when the wall shakes. Get both children comfortable and subtract 30 minutes. Mom now has an ideal sleep hour total of 7 hours- 1 hour-.5 hour (the same as 1/2. Remember your fractions!)= 5.5 hours. Not bad! Mom should be rested and doing well by dawn, right?

That is when abstract art is added. Mom hasn’t actually gone to bed through these interruptions. It is now past midnight. The baby will likely wake before 5 am. Add in cover-theft, surprise bouts of illness, a 3 am knock on the bedroom door and a whispered, “Elsa! Wanna build a snowman?” and Mom likely gets 3 hours of sleep. This is Mom-Math.

After sleep comes good calculations. None of it matters; the kids will always be hungry until you pay $9 for a restaurant kid meal they won’t eat. Then Mom touches something delicious.

If a Mom has a chocolate bar with 6 pieces and has 2 children, how many pieces should she eat? Answer: ALL of them. How many will she really eat? Answer: NONE. If discovered the children with somehow get the whole thing even when she has evenly divided the bar up between three people. Add the dashed hopes and somehow Mom is in a negative chocolate ratio. A mother’s chances of eating an entire treat without hiding from her children is less than the chance of winning Oregon trail in the 30 minute time your class got to play. Even sports math can’t make that one work.

I am encountering a new area of the Mom-Math discipline: Medicines. I’ll admit, I’ve had to go back to school on this one. My youngest son is amazingly healthy considering the potential for medical problems often associated with Trisomy 21, but after a surgery we are in a bit of a new world. There are many medications that can’t be taken within a certain time of another.

Back to the clock. Child B will be able to take medications between the hours of 7am-7pm. The thyroid medicine should not be taken within an hour of calcium. For weight gain, he must supplement his food with a calcium-rich formula my G-tube.

4 times a day a stomach coating medicaiton (think Pepto-Bismol) must be taken. This coating will make other medications ineffective. Twice a day another antibiotic must be taken for the surgery site due to a tiny nick and bleeding that is showing beginning signs of infection. At some point a pro-biotic and vitamin should be taken, but not within one of the 4 times the stomach coater is taken. Vitamins should be taken 12 hours apart from thyroid medication. Acid reflux should be taken 30 minutes before evening feeding.

Get the clock out and a Pink Pearl eraser. Here we go.

12 hours/ 4 times a day… take the Pepto every 3 hours.

Feed at 7:00, 12:00 and 5:00. Add vitamins.

Calcium pushes thyroid medicine to 7pm, before bed.

Antibiotics taken at breakfast and dinner, 7:00 and 5:00.

Remaining hours are 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00.

Does it fit?

7:00: Food, vitamin, calcium. 9:00: Tummy med 11: Tummy med 12:00 Food and calcium 1:00 Tummy med 3:00 Tummy 4:30 Acid reflux meds 5:00 Food, calcium and antibiotic 7:00 Thyroid

YES!

We do use math every day. It may not be pretty but when you sit down and work the numbers, the awesomeness of a mom really adds up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hide in a closet to eat a chocolate granola bar.