The ups, downs and overall delights of parenthood
Mar 31, 2010
I Hate 1:00 p.m.
Good news: When I pick up my girls from school, I look pretty good. Bad news: That's because I just showered 45 minutes ago! I have seven kid-free hours. So where does the time go?
A few years into raising my girls, I really started to look forward to their school years. I longed for more time to do things for my family and myself, unencumbered by happy but needy, sticky, stinky little people.
Now I'm in my second year of having both my girls in school all day – and I'm still shocked at how quickly the hours fly. At 8:10 they leave for school, and I don't see their sweet little faces again until they stagger out of the school seven hours later. At 3:10 I surrender to the fact that the clock has run out on my freedom. And that's a good time of day. The girls have stories to tell and we have things to do.
The time I detest every school day is 1 p.m. When the clock reads 1:00, I have to accept that all of my big plans for the day will not come to pass.
This week I had to plan a big meeting, write a blog, put together our taxes, finish a book-club book and do laundry, grocery shopping and a few dozen other things. But it didn't seem daunting. Every day began with my conviction that THIS day would be different. THIS day would be productive!
I mean, what could go wrong?
If we're talking yesterday, the answer would be "everything." Instead of hitting the ground running, I chatted with my husband till he wandered out the door at 9:00. But that's good, right? We need to put in 'marriage time', too.
I couldn't start the day without checking my email. Uh-oh, a few of those need answering. And while I'm here, I might as well see what 242 of my closest friends are up to on Facebook.
Yikes – it's 10:00. Where's the time going? Still have five hours, though. Let's work on folding those clean clothes. Switch on the TV. Oh, I love this old movie. I've put away the clothes, but I want to see the end of that movie. Phone rings. It's mom. Oh, boy, better keep it short.
Holy crap, it's 11:15! Turn the TV off. Well, let's write up a couple invoices. No wait, forgot to start that load of laundry. Oops, haven't taken the shower yet. Should I shower or wash a load? Oh, the water won't take long to warm up again. Gotta get some bleeping socks washed.
Hi, kitty. You need to eat again? OK. I'm hungry too. How about some crackers and cheese before lunch? Oh no, it's noon already? OK. It's time to get serious. Still have three hours. Better jump in the shower. The water's freezing! I'll wait. One little peek at e-mail can't hurt.
And then, it's 1:00.
Doom. In pajamas. Haven't showered. Haven't shopped. Haven't eaten. Laundry's still all backed up. Don't know what's for dinner.
The optimism of the day is lost. Time for salvage mode.
I have enough time to shower and do just one big thing. I fly out of the shower knowing there's still a chance to shop, when the phone rings. It's a friend who did me a huge favor recently, but I've been ducking her. I answer and her first words tell me it's all over. "Have you got a minute?"
Forty-five minutes later, despite my friend's crisis, I beg off the phone. I toss on some clothes and make-up and run out the door, late to pick up the girls.
And yes, I could blame my web dependency, my over-commit-itis, the TV, procrastination and all of that. However, I choose to blame time itself …
Curse you 1:00! Why must you come so fast?