April 3, 2009 1:00 am
I hope you’ve got some time to spare. This week’s Spin Cycle topic is time and although I don’t have a lot of it, I certainly had a lot to say on the subject. Head over to Sprite’s Keeper for more timely spins!
Since becoming a stay at home mom (a term which I HATE and looks just plain weird when you have to put it in writing), my time management has undergone a major transformation. In my case, time is one of those things that you never have enough of until you have too much. I realize that didn’t quite make sense but it’s true. It seems like there is never enough time in the day to get things done like housework, personal grooming or most importantly, sleep. I spend my days frazzled and weighed down by the list of things that didn’t get accomplished.
In some instances, I have way too much time on my hands. Like when one or both kids wake up early from their naps. When they’re sleep deprived, both kids are ticking time bombs and having too much time to kill before bedtime pretty much guarantees the inevitable.
A typical day in the HAGAY household looks like this:
- 6:00 – 7:30: Wake up to the brain piercing screams of one or both of my children and drag myself out of bed to provide basic needs to whichever child(ren) happens to be awake.
- 8:00 – 8:30 – Feed the children, try to keep them from screaming/hitting/knifing one another. On the days when Graham goes to school, get him hosed off from breakfast and changed into presentable clothes to leave the house.
- 8:35: Drive Graham to school, drop him off and haul ass home to enjoy the time without him. Play with Elliot for a couple of hours as she chases me around, whining every time I leave her sight for a nanosecond.
- 11:00 – Put Elliot down for her morning nap. Tiptoe around the house because even though I know we shouldn’t keep it too quiet, the kid hears everything and I’m not about to chance waking her up.
- 11:30 – Leave to pick up Graham at 12.
- 12:30: Feed both kids who are once again screaming if the other kid attempts to make eye contact. Or drink from their sippy cup or breathe the same air. Try to get through the meal without losing my sanity and narrowly escape with it still intact.
- 1:00 – Put Graham down for a nap. Assume the position of caretaker for needy, albeit adorable Elliot. Play with her, read to her, tickle and kiss her. Try to keep her from crawling down the hallway screaming and waking up her brother. Possibly attempt to fix a meal for myself but immediately get shot down since that would mean I was ignoring my precious daughter. Separate Elliot and the dog about a thousand times since Elliot won’t just leave the damn dog alone already.
- 2:30 – Put Elliot down for a nap. Run to my laptop to try to catch up on my reader before Graham wakes up. Crate both dogs who have a propensity to either bark or intentionally walk down the hallway to shake off outside of my sleeping children’s rooms.
- 3:00 – Graham wakes up and gets pissed off if I’m not in his room, removing him from his crib in under thirty seconds. Offer a “keep quiet so you don’t wake your sister” episode of the Letter Factory along with a snack. Keep the hovering dog at bay before she swoops in and steals Graham’s snack.
- 3:30 – Elliot wakes up so we all decide to head to Gymboree. Spend the time disassembling the monkey bars, reattaching the cabinet locks, chasing Graham away from the bathroom and Elliot away from the dangerous equipment. Break a sweat as I attempt to watch two kids who go in two opposite directions.
- 4:30 – Come home, exhausted. Realize there’s still another hour to kill until dinner and take the kids outside for awhile. Chase Graham away from the hose, the outside shower, the rocks in the French drain, piles of dog shit and the pool cleaning equipment. Try to lure him to his gigantic swing set where Elliot and I are swinging. End up dragging him, kicking and screaming and forcing him to play on the swing set.
- 5:30 – Strap the kids in for a healthy meal. Piss off Graham by setting the food in front of him. Try to coax him to eat said food by nibbling on it myself with corresponding “Mmmmmmmmmmm” sounds. Possibly enforce a time out if Graham throws or spits out his food, throws his sippy cup or screams at his sister. Once again, try to get through the meal without losing my sanity as one or both kids refuse to eat whatever delectable dish we’ve prepared for them.
- 6:00 – Jamie gives the kids a bath while I clean the dining room carpet and the high chairs. Get both kid’s PJ’s ready, loop through the house picking up and sorting toys (why do I continue to care if I match up the correct parts with each toy?).
- 6:15 – 6:30 – Each take a kid to their room to get dressed. Fix Elliot’s night time bottle and try to feed it to her as she thrashes and refuses to drink. Give in and let her hold her own bottle as she crawls around, leaving a drippy milk trail on the carpet.
- 6:30 – 7:00 – All reconvene in Graham’s room where we jam to some tunes, dance and play and wind down for the night.
- 7:00 – Read Elliot some books and put her to bed. Go check in with my Wii Fit so he can tell me how HAWT I’m getting on the new diet. Get discouraged when he tells me I’m not on track to meet the goal I set for myself and that I should reevaluate my goal.
- 7:30 – Graham gets his bedtime stories and heads to bed, usually willingly. Jamie and I meet up in the kitchen and fix our plates for dinner.
- The remainder of the night: Veg and watch TV together, catch up on my reader, stay up way too late surfing online. Fall asleep in a zombie-like stupor at an ungodly hour only to repeat the same process over again the next day.
There are no free moments in the day when you’ve got active kids. Add to it the fact that my kids aren’t on the same nap schedule and that leaves zero me time. They’ll both be napping at the same time in a few months so things will be better. I chose this life and I love it but sometimes I wish I could go back to work if only to relax a bit and use the dwindling adult portion of my brain. I’m not saying that work is relaxing, but most workers don’t scream or throw food or cry when you leave the room or glance in their direction. If they do behave like that, you should probably steer clear of them on the job. When I worked, I didn’t have to tiptoe around and stay quiet all the time and I could mostly come and go as I pleased.
I stopped working after Elliot was born and took personal leave as a place holder to see how I fared as a stay at home mom. In the school system, you can take two years (one maternity, one personal) of leave before you have to make the decision to resign or go back. I was pretty confident that I wanted to stay home until the kids are both in school but earlier in the week, I got a message from my old principal asking me to come back. I spent that day riding an emotional roller coaster. I mentally jumped at the chance to gain part of my adult identity back and quickly started weighing child care options. When I talked to my boss, I found out that the job was a full time position. For the last year that I worked there, I worked part time in the office and the rest of the time remotely from home after Graham went to bed. There is no way I could work a full time position (believe me, the work load was more like two full time positions) and still keep up with my family obligations.
I used to think that being a stay at home mom involved lounging and frolicking and nothing but shiny happy moments. That I’d have all the time in the world to play with my kids and keep a clean house. I’m starting to realize that all that time I thought I had is quickly passing me by without warning. What started out as a trial position has been so for a year already and I’m finally comfortable in my new job. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the choice was obvious. I’m one of the lucky ones who have the luxury of being able to stay home, why would I want to go back to a stressful, low paying position if it wasn’t necessary? I think I’ll hang out here and enjoy what little time I’ve got left before my kids are grown and gone away to college. Now if someone could just make this a paid position, it would be absolutely perfect.
Tags: Spin Cycle