Last week I wrote a post about time and motherhood. It was a frank discussion about the amount of leisure time I enjoy to do the things that bring me pleasure. Today though, I take a step back, and wonder who was that deluded person who wrote that post? Obviously not a woman who has been back to work for any length of time. I probably should have waited a bit so that I wouldn’t have to eat my words today. After fewer than two weeks back at work, already I feel my wheels spinning.
A friend on Twitter (@coffeewithjulie) described it best, it feels I’m taking “two steps forward, one step back.” That’s it exactly! My mind is never at rest because now I have so much more to think about. Just as I accomplish one goal (be it at work or at home) I am reminded of the countless others there are still to achieve. It’s like an abyss that I can’t crawl out of and I’m only 5 days in!
Here’s how my day shapes up:
- Up at 5:15 a.m., showered, nursed the baby and out the door by 6:00.
- Drive to work, my commute is an hour long, depending on the weather. If it’s snowing, plan for longer.
- Start work at 7:00 a.m. Busy workday. No busier than anyone else I’m sure, but busy and full nonetheless.
- Work until 3:00 p.m.
- Drive home, another hour lost to the commute.
- Pick up boys at 4:15 p.m. Most days it takes at least 15 minutes to get my oldest to agree to come home.
- Home by 4:45 p.m. Nurse the baby. He’s desperate for the love and cuddles, as am I.
- Cook dinner, and serve by 5:15. This is early yes, but read on and you’ll understand why.
- Argue with my oldest to get him to eat said dinner. Many nights the battle wages in various different forms for 20-30 minutes.
- By the time dinner is done, the baby is usually beside himself with fatigue. So we rush him into the tub, enjoy a quick bath. Once out, it’s full on war to get him dressed for bed. He’s usually overwhelmed with fatigue by this point and crying in frustration. It’s not even 6:00 p.m.
- Nurse baby and tuck him into bed just after 6. There is little time, sometimes no time for play or books. He’s just too tired. Without a doubt, this breaks my heart.
- Spend some time with oldest. Tonight he helped us clean up the dinner mess. He’s a great helper and it gives us the opportunity to be productive and together as a family. This is one small success I’m grateful for.
- The oldest is an early-to-bed child as well. Stories happen at 6:45 p.m. My husband and I have always done this together. We read a story each, talk about our favourite parts of the day, give hugs and kisses and tuck him in.
- By 7:15 both my children are in bed and sleeping.
- Once this is done, the rest of my evening is filled with making lunches for the morning, tidying and organizing around the house, putting out the kids and my clothes for the morning, throwing in a load of laundry. You know it as well as I do.
- Most nights this is when I can find an hour to myself. I’ll blog, read, take a bath, just decompress. This is a priority and the one hour in the day when I feel I can stop and breathe.
- I’m in bed by 9:30 because my day starts early and the boys are still up several times through the night.
- Repeat again the next day.
I am not naive enough to think that this routine is any more hectic than that of any other mother or family. Some would probably argue it’s less hectic. I am well aware that we all struggle with crazy schedules. But tonight I blog about it just so I can achieve some measure of inner peace. The challenge for me is not doing what must be done, but that no matter how busy and full the day was, it’s just NOT ENOUGH. It’s not enough time with my children. It’s not enough time to manage the house. It’s not enough time to sort through the mail, bills and various daily tasks that quickly add up when left for several days. It’s not enough time to spend with my husband. And because it’s not enough, I lay in bed at night and dwell on what didn’t get done, worry about remembering to get it done the next day, and brainstorm about how I can do more the next day. And then, I don’t sleep. It becomes a vicious cycle and I get more tired and less able to cope.
Last week I wrote that it’s all about the choices we make. I agree and live each day shuffling through choices about what to do at any given moment. The question I find myself asking tonight is: What happens when no matter the choices you make, the list never gets complete. The mountain of to dos grows and feels insurmountable. How does one make choices then? There are things that cannot be put off forever.
As I write this post, I’ll admit I feel a bit panicky and probably sound crazy. In all seriousness, I know that it stems from the nights I’ve laid awake dwelling on everything. It also comes from my inability to settle into a routine so early in the game. I am a creature of habit, I crave routine. I work well when my days are organized around predictable goals and when I can tick those goals off my list. Check marks bring me such satisfaction. So far, our routine just doesn’t feel right. With time, I know it will come and the days will flow with better ease. My boys will adjust to the new order of things and our evenings will run more smoothly. For now though, I vent. Thank you! I feel better already.
Any suggestions you have for making my household run more smoothly would be most welcome.