I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately. After skipping my morning run last week to drop off an emergency cheque at the accountant’s because somebody at the CRA noticed a missed tax instalment, I came to a startling realization – I’m living in my family’s leftovers.
Looking at our family’s time as a (delicious chicken pot) pie, I noticed that my husband get first dibs on time – he has to go to work in the morning and he comes home around 6 for dinner. He has to go on business trips, networking functions and conferences. He goes to the gym in the evening and sometimes he works late. The kids get second dibs, they have to be at school by 9 and then picked up at 3 and chauffeured to various lessons, birthday parties, swim meets and playdates. And then there’s me – a stay-at home mom who gets just 5.5 hours each day to clean, cook, shop for groceries, do laundry, pay the bills, volunteer, organize, shower and write. I do have my book club and dinners out with girlfriends, but these too have to fit among the leftovers or its up to me to find a babysitter. This realization even makes me wonder if my new career – writing – has been chosen because it fits so well among the leftovers. Except when it doesn’t. Like when I’m working on a particularly moving scene in my novel in between life’s interruptions and I end up with a sentiment that could only dream of gracing a Hallmark greeting card.
So it’s time to step up and take the first piece of the (mmm, apple) pie for me. Not all the time, mind you but definitely some of the time. As a good friend reminded me, I am not the glue holding my family together. They would survive without me. I am not irreplaceable. And as brutally honest a statement that may be, it’s incredibly freeing to give myself permission to choose my own adventure. I encourage my kids to live up to their potential, why shouldn’t I?
So I’m 6 weeks into my Princess year and I’ve gone to the gym 22 times, cleaned out 7 junk drawers and written exactly 1 blog post.
Obvious priority adjusting jokes aside, it makes me wonder why everyday for the past 6 weeks, I choose to tackle the minutiae that comes along with being a stay-at-home mom instead of focusing on what’s really important to me as my own person. While the low hanging fruit (do laundry, tidy house) offer easy (and gratifying) check-marks on my bulging to-do list, it leaves the tougher and so much more rewarding projects to go unpicked day after day.
To illustrate my point, this was my to-do list on Monday, which I keep track of my Things app for iPhone:
– Coffee w/ Grade 3 moms
– Buy Groceries
– Talk to Lawyer
– Book haircut for eldest son
– Book doctor appointment for eldest son
– Book babysitter for Thursday night
– Write in middle son’s birthday book
– Buy birthday gifts for nanny, niece & nephew
– Send baby gift to friend in London
– Make lasagne for dinner
– Pick up kids
– Meet with youngest’s son’s teacher
– Take middle son out for birthday treat after school
– Write blog post
And despite my detailed organization, I somehow forgot that I had double booked my eldest son on an after school playdate. One at my house and one at another boy’s house. Plus I got so involved chatting with the other moms after school, I forgot all about my meeting with my son’s teacher. At the end of a long and stressful day where I was short with the kids and quick with my friends, I got it all done…aside from the blog post. And that has been the daily pattern for the past 6 weeks and perhaps even longer. This post I wrote in May 2009 suggests that some habits die hard, or at least, very, very slowly.
This is my Things to-do-list today:
With less minutiae and my most important task already behind me, I can look forward to the rest of my day. What are you going to do today?
Ahhhh, summer. Just when we’d given up and thought it would never come to Vancouver, it finally did. Waking up to warm, radiant sunshine reflecting off the glorious mountains and the endless sea, reminded every seasonally-affected one of us, why we choose to live in a rainforest the rest of the year.
So the kids are out of school and refuse to go to anything that smells like structure and/or has a teacher, ie. summer camp. And since we spending our first summer in Whistler, we are devoid of playdates and babysitters. So, in the meantime, I’ve become a Denny’s, open 24/7, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches at the ready, squeezing lemons upon lemons for their lemonade stand for which I’ve not yet seen a dime (I swear they are drinking their profits!), wiping counters and sweeping floors to keep the ants at bay. On a daily basis, I’m fending off the inevitable, “Mom, I’m bored,” or “MOM! He hit me!” or “MOOOOOMMMMMMM! He farted on my pillow and won’t say sorry!!!” with encouraging words to work it out for themselves and large glasses of pinot grigio.
There is no time to workout, no time to shop, no time for a much needed pedicure, no time to write, no time for me. As lovely as summer is, I’m counting the days till I get my beautiful life back.
See you in September!
OK I admit it. I’ve been hiding in a bit of a funk since the Canucks lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I was just so sure they were going to win. I even had champagne in the fridge and the beginnings of a celebratory post ruminating in my head.
But then they lost. And then there was that embarrassing, horrifying, ugly riot. And I just couldn’t write about that. I had been at Game 7 with my husband where the evening was an utter love fest, for fans and players alike. And although there were no Gary Bettman fans there, the crowd cheered vehemently for the Canucks and gave Tim Thomas and the Bruins a standing ovation. We had no idea that cars were burning outside until we were safely home.
It kind of ruined hockey for me, and for awhile, writing. I had all these great posts in mind, about how being a hockey mom is more Canadian than maple syrup, but I just didn’t care anymore.
But I’m back. I’ve just spent the last three days camping in the rain, hanging around the fire with my boisterous boys, feeding them s’mores and Jiffy pop and I feel great.
Thanks for waiting.