I’ve thought about writing this post many times but I’ve stopped just as many times because on a good day when I am superwomen, I would sound like a bragging know-it-all, and on a bad day when I am struggling you would think I am the most pathetic mom/wife/coworker on the planet. But today was a pretty average, typical, in-between day so I think it will work fine. Plus, Jo specifically asked me to do this and you can’t say no to a woman carrying twins. I mean, really.
First, Why do I choose to work? Tough question on the best of days. I think the best answer I can give is that it is part of who I am. I love what I do, and a huge part of me is missing when I am not working. It’s a daily struggle though, and I question my choices constantly. I think I have low confidence in myself at times so criticism of working moms stings particularly deeply. I love my kids, more than anything. But I am meant to do what I do, I know that. I don’t do it for money (and that is a luxury I deeply appreciate), or to buy nice things, or have a certain lifestyle. I am meant to do this, and so it is what I do. At least for now.
So next, childcare? Our kids are in an in-home daycare. We struggled here too, Devan went to four different centers/providers his first year. I’ve come to accept that no one is going to do childcare exactly as I would do childcare, and if I can’t come to terms with that, then I need to be the one at home with them. I’ve slowly accepted that extra tv time and cookies is not a deal breaker. We decided that what was most important to us was finding a provider who LOVES our kids deeply, who lets them play, play, play, and provides them with social opportunities. For now, I don’t really care if there is much of a focus on learning or structure so a preschool or center was not a good fit for us. I want them to have fun and be loved and we are blessed to have found a provider that is like family to us.
Anyways, without further ado, a day in our life…
6:30 a.m. The alarm goes off. It is fairly irrelevant, because the kids are both awake and Craig is already in the shower. I am still in bed ignoring the alarm. Really. I take massive doses of muscle relaxers at night and they seriously knock me out cold. Our house could blow away and I would not wake up. This is both good and bad.
6:50. Craig nicely yells at me to get up already. He already has both kids dressed and is getting breakfast. I stumble down half awake and pour some GF cereal. Half of the time, I do get up with the kids at 6:30 and help out. Or, almost half of the time. Or, sometimes. I try.
7:00-7:20 Chaos. Pure chaos. I help get everyone out the door, hopefully by 7:20 but often at 7:30 or later. Everyone is stressed. I tell myself I need to drag my butt out of bed earlier tomorrow.
7:30 Time for me to fully wake up and get my rear in gear. I usually wake up nauseated and sick to my stomach and it slows me down. I do my PT stuff, take a shower, run the dishwasher, throw in some laundry, and sit at the computer until I feel like I won’t barf. Some days, I go to PT in the morning at the local hospital.
9:00 I arrive at work. Or, the parking garage. Or, the vicinity of downtown in general. I try. And to be fair, on my superwoman days I get in earlier. On really rough days, it might be 10.
9-4. I work, work, work. Mostly I work through lunch. Craig and I both try to accomplish errands during the day so occasionally I run to the bank across the street, or to the post office at City Center, or just take a walk to stretch my legs and calm my tummy. Craig runs to Target, Home Depot, Jiffy Lube, etc over his lunch break. I try hard not to think about the kids while I am at work because on days when I think about them, it makes me a little heart-sick. So I focus on work while I am at work, and on my family when I am at home. It is the only way I can do it.
4ish-5ish I head home. Depends on the day. On the days I work for Joann, I leave much earlier so I can meet with her, and clients, and finish up from home. If I am in a lot of pain and we are slow, I leave early and come home to my heating pad. If we are busy, I pop a pill and Craig picks up the kids. On the way home, I may stop at the grocery store or run other errands like watering our garden at the library. On my superwoman days, I run a ton of errands in no time at all and clean our house and host friends for dinner. On my bad days I come home early and lay down and listen to my head telling me I can’t do it and I need to quit. My head won’t shut up some days.
5:30. Either I arrive home with the kids or Craig does. 30 minutes disappears into a black hole of unaccounted-for time. I really haven’t a clue.
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6:00. Kids are hungry, I cook dinner while Craig plays/distracts/gives baths. Leah eats at 6:30 and goes to bed shortly thereafter, then the three of us sit down for dinner. Devan complains and stalls and plays with his food. I daydream about hiring a personal chef. Craig plays waiter to everyone’s demands (water, bread, dressing, salt, napkins, wipes, more food..) One of us will invariably have a cold dinner but it doesn’t stop us from trying. Every single night, family dinner. It’s important.
7:00. Finally some playtime with Devan. One of us does his night time routine while the other cleans the kitchen.
8:00-8:30. Kids are both in bed! Bliss!
8:31. Short-lived Bliss. Time to finish the dishes, pick up toys, do laundry, fold diapers, pay bills, grocery shop, finish up any work I couldn’t do during the day, and take care of our yard and miscellaneous house emergencies.
9:30. Free time if we’re lucky! Quilt, blog, flickr, Facebook, Netflix, Wii Fit, call Mom and Dad and complain, read books, etc.
11:00. Go to bed way too late. Take meds way too late. Realize that 6:30 is going to come way too early.
On good days, I fit in a lot more than this. I make pies, I do play-do, I write letters and go on walks. On bad days, I may come home and go to bed and leave Craig hanging. Do you notice a trend? That my husband is amazing? He is. He is a great dad, and works his tail off to keep everything running smoothly. I couldn’t do it without him. He is the reason why most of the time, we make this work well for us. He does his fair share plus some more. He is just amazing.
So, that’s our life. I’m lucky to have two flexible jobs. I’m blessed to have Friday home with my kids, I cherish that time and make the most of it. I spend many days wishing I knew why I don’t feel better but I try to complain only to Craig (and the blog!). We pack our family time into the weekends, and we have a lot of family so the weekends are packed. We see our friends when we can, and it’s never enough. Craig plays ultimate Frisbee on Tuesdays and works with the youth on Sunday evenings so I am on my own those evenings. Some evenings he is on his own because I am knee deep in a quilting project.
Our routine is not very routine, and I know this is nothing compared to families with kids in sports and school. I’m not sure how we will do it then, but I know we will find a way. Because working together, I’m thinking we can just about have it all.