The days are long, but the years are short. I don’t know who said it, but it is something you hear often as a parent of young children. Hang in there. Cherish this time. Time flies, they’ll be out of the house before you know it. I know it. I believe it. I try to remember it. But, man, are those days long sometimes.
I’ve been a working mom. I’ve been a stay at home mom. I’ve been (am) a mom trying to get a business off the ground, keep the house in a state just above complete chaos, and keep the kids alive. No matter how you cut it, the days ARE long.
Here is how I feel like my day should have gone when I was a working mom: spend 8 intense hours totally focused on the tasks at hand. Engage meaningfully with my co-workers. Make a difference in the lives of children who were not my own. Leave work re-energized, secure in the knowledge that I helped people, was a stellar employee, and the best co-worker a colleague could ask for. Travel to pick up my daughter, with no trace of road rage, enjoying my music and the sunshine. Pick-up said daughter, spend an hour playing with her with my attention completely on her, and when my husband came home, hand off the baton so that he could give our little girl undivided attention while I prepared a completely nutritious and delicious meal for us all to enjoy. After dinner, a leisurely bath time, story time, snuggle. All of this, in this dream, would be complete by 7pm, at the latest, and my hubby and I would enjoy several hours of adult conversation, perhaps a television show, and map out our future, filled with many dream vacations and quality family experiences.
As a stay at home/work at home … the ‘perfect’ day looks similar, again in this dream world. Except instead of co-workers, my mom friends would find me engaging and interesting, and Pinterest-worthy. They would envy my creatively planned daily itinerary, my blossoming business, and when I picked up my daughter from school, I’d have a Martha Stewart-esque snack planned, a playdate lined up, and still have time to make that nutritionally sound dinner.
I know people who have this reality. But it isn’t me. My days as a working mom, went more like this:
Get up at a god awful hour, half the time pregnant, nursing, or bleary eyed from an all-nighter (not the fun kind). Lament over the unfairness of not only getting myself up and out, but also waking up my baby to ship her off somewhere. Go to work. Flip flop between being focused at work or focused on other, more important things, like my daughter and family. Race home, or try to, in gridlock traffic, pick up my daughter, rush home to start dinner, ignore my daughter. Hubby comes home, plays with her a bit, eat dinner. Bed time … but bed time was, and is, our sticking point. It. Takes. Hours. And part of the reason I haven’t instituted some sort of behavior protocol to shorten bedtime goes back to that whole long days short years thing. It won’t be like this for long … might as well enjoy it while our kids still want us to snuggle at night. Anyway .. the day ended then and ends now with me and my hubby, exhausted from the day, vegged out, not talking to each other, not doing anything that needs to be done … and this doesn’t even happen until 10:00 at night sometimes!
My days as a stay at home mom trying to build a business are not much different. I still get up with an alarm. I’m still at the beck and call of other people (children, clients, professionals I connect with, etc.). I like to think, and I guess I used to think when I was a working mom, that stay at home moms can make their own schedules. They don’t have to answer to anyone. They can watch a movie in the middle of the day. Right. No, wrong.
I’m not complaining … But I just want to know, am I the only one who sometimes would prefer to zone out in front of the television instead of engage in another round of hot potato, a round of hot potato that is conducted in such a way that you have no clue what is happening … the brainchild of your four year old… perhaps a combination of the hot potato game you played as a child, an adaptation of it your daughter learned in school, with a few four year old revisions thrown in, just for good measure?
I’m tired at the end of the day. I know my husband is tired at the end of the day. And we adore our children, and want to play with them, and know that the ‘days are long, but the years are short’… but really, is that what you want to hear when your eyes are glazed over and you are just. Trying. To. Get. To. Bed. Or, at least the couch?
How are you at appreciating the loooooooong days with your kiddos? How to you manage your time? Have you figured out the perfect way to balance all of life’s demands? Please, share!!