I think this is one of those big adjustments that never occurs to you before you have kids.
You don’t realize that quiet Saturday mornings spent reading a book in your pajamas, spontaneous movie dates with your best friend, and quick stops into the coffee shop for an indulgence that only takes a second . . . will never happen again. Never.
One of the things I resisted accepting about parenting is that I don’t get a day off. There is no “work week.” No holidays. No 9-5. No weekends. If you do have a few hours or a day to yourself, it’s generally the result of hours of planning and begging favors of relatives.
It’s one of the reasons I’m incredibly thankful for our kids’ 8pm bedtime. And one of the reasons I was faking it when I cheered on my oldest for learning to tell time. No more pretending it’s bedtime at 7:30. Or 7:00.
Lately, I’ve been noticing (although I’m sure they’ve always been there) older women in the grocery store. They are leisurely strolling the aisles, getting what sounds good to them. Sometimes they have just enough for a meal or two in their baskets, and then a few of their favorite treats. They have earned a place in their life where they no longer have to meal plan. They don’t have to worry about the proper development of any one’s brain or bones or lifelong eating habits.
When I see these women, I have conflicting emotions. I look forward to those days, but I also feel an ache in my chest because I know that those days will come sooner than I can imagine.
I’ve said many times that I struggle with Saturdays, Sundays and basically any day that isn’t totally and completely normal. I’ve done well all week, and then today just got out of bed and walked into the kitchen without making my bed. I did catch myself and go back.
I’ve resented this fact before. The fact that if I don’t do all of the things in the house that need to be done daily, even on the day when everyone else is enjoying a change of routine, Monday will find such chaos that I start the week just trying to catch up from the weekend and end up never getting ahead. I’m not saying I don’t resent it sometimes now, but I hope I’m accepting it now.
I don’t want to wish away time. Not even an hour. So I want to enjoy the fact that I have three little ones. Even though it means that things never stay where I put them.
But as I do the daily tasks consistently, even on Saturdays, I do get to enjoy them. The children, of course, not the tasks.
Today I started to clean out my daughter’s drawers, but then realized that I hadn’t cleaned the kitchen. So I took the very few minutes necessary to clean the kitchen and then did the more “out of the routine” activity. Then, when my 6yo wanted to make his own fried egg sandwich because he’s “never EVER” cracked an egg by himself, I was willing to help him because I didn’t have to clean the kitchen first.
And since the kitchen looks pretty good, I’m less stressed and more willing to play a rousing game of UNO.
So even though I don’t have a handle on how to have my house Martha-Stewart-Surprise-Visit-Ready all the time, I’ve come so far with the daily tasks. With the house looking okay, my stress level is down. It makes me not feel guilty about taking time to enjoy the kids and the unique and fleeting stages that they are in.
I may not get many chances to take a break from my kids, but the most fulfilling times for me as a mom are when I get to take a break with my kids.
So what all have I done today?
Ran a load of laundry.
Not much, but it will help prevent the avalanche of stuff to do on Monday.--Nony