There was a time that my alarm would go off, and for the nine minutes between the first and second time, I could slowly wake up and enjoy those first few moments of the day. I’m not asking for nine, at this point I think five would do. Most mornings before I hear the beep of my clock, I hear the pitter patter of four and a half-year-old feet, quickly followed by the two-year- old who has been awakened by his big brother inevitably banging into something.
And thus begins a day of being on the run, of always having one more thing to do, of realizing that I forgot something that was super important; you know the day of a working mom. When they talk about sleep deprivation when you have a newborn you are as prepared as you can be. Everybody knows you won’t get sleep. Hopefully you aren’t working for those first blurry weeks, and you have friends or family to help you. It’s later that nobody mentions. When your kids should be sleeping through the night, but instead are up screaming because teething takes over a year and hurts every time. Or are up at 3:30 to ask you where the sun is … (my answer: sleeping like you should be. His response: “Mommy that’s silly the sun doesn’t have eyes it can’t sleep, where is it really?”) When people aren’t going to come over and watch your kids so you can take a quick shower or a nap, or better yet take an hour to read a book that doesn’t rhyme.
By 9 a.m., I have served two breakfasts, dressed one or two kids depending on babysitting for the day, dropped my older one off at pre-k and gotten to work. Lucky for me I work for a company that is flexible about not only my hours and how I get my work done, but those first few minutes where I’m still being a mom and not so much a professional.
In the middle of the day when I go pick up my son, bring him home and head back to work it’s hard to switch from marketing manager to mommy and back in the twenty minutes or so round trip I have. I think five more minutes would help here to. Two and a half to get prepared for whatever delightful report I’m going to get from his teacher, and be ready to listen to what he has to say, and two and a half after I drop him at home to prepare to listen to my bosses to do list for the afternoon.
Finally, it’s time to head home. My eight minute commute is fantastic, I certainly can’t complain. It would be over an hour if I went from the suburbs into the city. However eight minutes is not enough time to decompress. To forget about the customer I didn’t get a chance to call back, or the email I didn’t get a chance to send. When I walk in the door there is something still nagging at the back of my brain for work that I know I’m going to have to do before I go to bed. Five more minutes and I’d be ready to be the number one mom again.
Evening is a whirlwind. It’s time to hear about everybody’s day. To eat together, and hear about the plans for tomorrow, to take showers and baths and get snuggle time and story time and put the kids to bed. Now it’s eight o’clock. Dinner needs to be cleaned up, I still need to check that thing from the office, and laundry needs to be done or put away, the never-ending toys that my sons tried to put away but somehow wind up next to the toy chest need to be cleaned up. Maybe there is time to watch one or two shows before bed. And then sleep. Usually about an hour after I should be going to sleep. I pass out most nights within two minutes of my head hitting the pillow. I wish I had just five more minutes at the end of the day to absorb my day and put it to rest. To smile about the car ride to school where I get to talk to my kid, and the huge hug I get from his little brother when I come home for lunch and at the end of the day. Just five more minutes here and there would make all the difference.