It’s just after midnight on Nov. 1, and I had just spent the last three hours baking four dozen cookies, wrapped probably two dozen little beef wienies in bacon, sliced two pounds of strawberries, filled my seven-day vitamin container for the next week and finally changed the apples and cinnamon sticks in my infused water pitcher and packed my gym backpack with the truest intentions of getting up in the morning and going swimming.
Now to clarify I did not just list out all of these thing in the attempt to gain sympathy or pity but rather to gain a true understanding that maybe I am not the only working mother in the world who feels there are totally not enough hours in the day to actually get everything finished that I want to finish on top of working a full-time job.
Because the cookies… well, the dough had been made since last Sunday, sitting covered in the fridge. I had every intention to have them made along with the eyeball gooey butter cookies for both kids’ Halloween parties. And time got away from me and making one set of cookies was about all I could find the time to do before the parties. Luckily the cookies I did make for the school were a big hit. But the other dough sat untouched, seeming to only stare back at me every time I opened the refrigerator door. So given we’re going to a party the night after Halloween, it seems like the perfect reason to actually sit down and make the cookies when we got home from trick ‘r treating fun and eating dinner.
The wienies wrapped in bacon are also related to the party we’re attending. While I didn’t finish them completely, I prepared them as much as I could to actually try to be ahead of the game since Tim and I are getting out of the house without the kids on a Saturday afternoon for a couple hours to see a Broadway musical. While Tim is less than enthused, it will be nice to get out of house, whether only for a couple hours, without the screaming, whining and crying that often ensues with my boys. Oh the joys of parenthood! But what sucks even more is the sense of guilt that often overcomes me when we do these types of things without the kids because as a working mom, the only time you really get with your kids is the weekend since it feels like weekdays last only two or three hours and then the kids are asleep only to start the whole process all over again for four days straight.
The strawberries were purchased just a few days earlier. But my insistence to cut them tonight is because two weeks ago I bought a pint of strawberries at my youngest’s request. And they sat in the fridge untouched, uncleaned and even unmoved after being removed from the bag for just over a week. The strawberries went bad and my youngest through a fit because he didn’t understand that they were no longer good and had rotted in the fridge. Once again, not enough hours in the day…
Well, the vitamins… every woman needs her vitamins especially as we get older and have babies because they suck everything out of our bodies. While I probably take way too many because I have read numerous articles and Pinterest posts about what things I should be taking to help with everything in my body, one of the things I keep in each daily vitamin slot is my migraine medicine that I take on a regular basis. And if I forget too many daily does of that medicine, then migraines are soon to follow, causing me to want to either die or just sleep. Obviously, sleeping is usually what happens.
The water pitcher. Well the apples and cinnamon sticks that were in pitcher before tonight’s clean-up had been in there all week and every time I refilled the pitcher this week, I knew it was well-past the time to switch it out since the apples had turned brown and the water wasn’t tasting so great anymore. This was another Pinterest find, which is good for flushing your system of bad toxins.
And of course, the gym bag… Sometimes this is the hardest thing that I deal with everyday because I know how important it is to workout and do things for myself. But sometimes as a mother, the least important thing in your life becomes yourself when it comes to your family. And as much as I’ve talked about how swimming helps relax me and calm me down, sometimes that is the furtherest thing from my mind. But in all fairness, despite going to bed that night at 12:30 a.m., I did actually get up at 7 a.m. the following morning and go swimming – one really long, relaxing, calming swim in a pool that was almost all to myself.
But every now and then, working moms do get thrown a bone with days like that perfect Sunday afternoons with no plans and you feel like you have nothing but time to do anything you want. Or those Friday nights where after one disastrously long week of work, you have actually no plans other than find somewhere to go eat and then do nothing the rest of the night.
This past Halloween night was definitely one of those bones for me. These perfect few hours that I could spend getting so much finished that had been built up after too many nights of being too bone-tired after getting home from work and just wanting to spend time with my family rather than doing anything else. But I know I can’t be the only working mother out there who struggles with how to balance everything I want to be able to do without feeling like I constantly have a flashing ‘Parent Fail’ sign on my forehead. I want to be a good wife/mother, excel in my career, get everything finished around the house, maybe write something every now and then and just be an all-around good person. The struggles are never-ending because I would much rather sit next to my boys’ beds singing them songs at night then folding laundry, play at the playground then washing dishes, watch a movie on the couch or read them a book then clean up the house or cuddle with my youngest in the morning than going swimming.
The battle of the balance is never ending, but the best I can do is spend time with my children as often as I can and make sure they know how much I love them. Make sure they know how much I see them as my own private miracles every time I look into their eyes. My life was made whole when I held each of them in my arms. While I know no one is perfect, I also know that all I can do is promise to continue to do my best each and every day for my family (and every now and then for me too.)