Today started like any other day.
I tried to sneak out of bed quietly and limit the number of chit’lins I was up against – failed miserably.
Picked up the baby, went to the girls’ room and told them to get dressed and come downstairs. Pretended the 3 year old was still asleep and went downstairs myself (baby in tow, of course – myself is actually a synonym now meaning me+baby).
I prepared an awesome home lunch for the kindergartner (I included a Ziploc of blueberries to round out the Lunchable) and thought we would make it out the door in plenty of time, but was thwarted by a 10 year old who insisted it was okay to wear flip flops to school, despite having been specifically instructed otherwise just yesterday morning. The girls disembarked from the minivan 2 minutes AFTER the last bell – for the 2nd time this week (and it’s only Wed.)
Needing stress relief, I came home and indulged in 2 bowls of cocoa puffs which I keep hidden on the top shelf behind some bags of dried soup in the pantry. I felt a twinge of guilt as I left my 3 year old watching cartoons on Netflix while I went upstairs to put the baby down for a nap, but did it anyway. Tried to make up for it by snuggling with him on the couch when I got back downstairs, but was torn by the feeling I should be using that time to handle a few of the to-do’s I never get around to when the baby is up. The rest of the day went on like that – feeling torn between the things I wanted to do, the things I needed to do, and the things they wanted.
I’ve come to realize I can really only do TWO things adequately at any given time. I can 1) take care of my family, and 2) maintain my home, or I can 1) take care of my family, and 2) do my job*. Like any mother, I am usually worrying about whether or not the way I ‘take care of my family’ is good enough; shouldn’t the kids be in extracurricular activities for enrichment? Shouldn’t they be given more freedom and independence and time outside? Shouldn’t they be more closely supervised? Shouldn’t they be doing more around the house? Shouldn’t they be on an organic diet/getting more exercise/reading more/having less screen time, etc…? And where is my husband in all of this? Shouldn’t he be getting some play (literally and figuratively!)? And in addition to my three major responsibilities (family, home, work), there are eleventy billion other demands chiming in (why the hell am I wearing yoga pants if I haven’t ever done yoga?).
Where does that leave us (see, I speak in plural sometimes because I am never alone – and I hope, I beg, and I pray that you can relate so the “us” is even more applicable)? Being a mother has given meaning to my life, but it is coming at a very serious cost.
Have you figured out how to budget your time?
*my “job” is a beautifully flexible part-time arrangement of working from home as a writer/social media marketer