I’ll admit it; I am absolutely obsessed with coffee.

The addiction did not begin in college as most would assume. In fact, I hated the very smell of espresso brewing until after graduation.

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The first cup of coffee that I actually enjoyed came from my first BS-holding job. If I wanted to take a break from the mounds of editing work on my desk I really had only two choices: smoking or coffee. (Well, no, that’s a lie. I could have also gone “to lunch” with my pervert of a boss, but as a newlywed that greasy old man did not seem like the best option for a young woman looking for a break from work.) Watching my grandfather die of cancer with a cigarette between his lips and an oxygen tube in his nose kind of took the thrill of tobacco out of me early too so my love affair with coffee was born from necessity.

That first job offered the best kind of coffee I had ever heard of—free. My folks always drank it black and I knew no better, so I sucked it up and took a swig trying to act cool in front of my older co-workers.

And that is where it all began. I quickly learned that the best gossip was gathered over a steamy cup of joe. I knew who was sleeping with the boss, the receptionist, and the night custodian. I heard about the layoff two hours before pink slips arrived, and I knew what the average bonus was despite the managerial demand not to share financial information. (And I knew I had hit the jackpot! WooHoo!)

What started as a once-a-day gossip-laden caffeine kick soon grew to twice a day. Within a few months I brought home my very first coffee maker (a half-price returned Mr. Coffee from the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart).

Then it hit… kids. The first child moved my two-a-day drink habit to three. My second bumped me a bit higher, and then that unplanned blessing of a third child topped me off. Now I love my latte morning, noon, and night. An espresso IV would probably be easier.

I knew I was hooked when I caught myself with a baby sling around my chest, a 4-year-old coloring on the floor next to me, and an 23 month old pulling at my shirt tail as I bent backwards in an effort to get the froth just right on top of my steamed milk while not scorching my offspring. Social services had enough to worry about without my addiction burdening them.

“Just a minute, Baby, just 3 minutes and 28 seconds,” I would say.

Then I would carry my hot concoction around above my right shoulder—an arm’s length from the slinged newborn, a jump away from the 4-year-old acrobat, and a temper tantrum away from the almost 2-year-old. I was a master latte mama.

Not much has changed in the last three years except that now I get to enjoy my sinfully delicious homemade coffee masterpieces in silence thanks to the best gift a stay-at-home mom can ever receive: public school.