Since school started, I have one child in 1st grade all day, five days a week, one child in preschool all day three days a week, and a two-year old at home with me. This now leaves me with six hours a week of guaranteed nap time, and four more hours a week of possible nap time freedom providing my preschooler finds something more fun than me to play with for two hours on his days off. So, what to do…
Though I should sweep and mop the kitchen floor, fold the pile of laundry on the chair, and get dinner prepared so I’m not running around like a lunatic at 5:00, I don’t want to. I feel like I have found this fold in time that never existed, shouldn’t exist for a mother of three, and it’s MINE! So every day, after I lay Dylan down for his nap, I start walking around in circles frantically trying to decide upon the best way to use this precious time. Do I read the week-old newspaper I haven’t yet finished? Do I check e-mails, knowing that I will get sucked into the cyber vortex only to resurface when I hear Dylan’s cries two hours later? Do I start writing that children’s book that has been burrowing through my mind? Do I practice yoga? Meditate? Sleep?
I end up doing 10 minutes of everything, accomplishing nothing, and feeling exhausted by nap time’s end. Does this happen to anyone else? I’m a little concerned that I have lost both the ability to organize and the ability to chill.
So, remembering that I once, in another lifetime, used to organize business programs for maximum efficiency, I decide to treat my six (maybe ten) hours a week like a business schedule. Here’s how it looks:
What are my top objectives (other than loving and feeding my children)?
2) Keep up with the news (only by reading the daily– but it NEVER seems to happen)
3) Yoga and exercise
4) Engage in creating positive change
I could go on forever with things like: make children’s scrapbooks, learn how bake, frame all those pictures- no, develop all those pictures, paint the dining room molding, etc.
You may have also noticed that I did not include folding the laundry and all those other activities that make staying at home with the children such fun. That is because I have decided that, though it may make life a little easier- and prettier- to mop that floor, when will I ever get anything done for me– for my soul? I don’t know if you stay home with your children or not, or if you care if the floors are mopped or not, but one thing we can agree on here (I think) is that we have got to take a little time aside for ourselves. Right?
So I take my list of priorities, my day keeper, and my pencil and I get to work scheduling. Because we all know once it’s written in the day keeper (or Blackberry for you super cool, can’t accept that you’re not working in an office anymore moms) it’s done. Right? Here’s how mine looks from Monday through Friday from 11-1:
Monday: Finish Sunday paper, read Monday paper
Tuesday: Read paper, make huge meal that will last for many days
Wednesday: Read paper, Write
Thursday: Read paper, make another huge meal (even if still working on Tuesday’s) that will last for another many days
Friday: Read paper, Write
I squeeze yoga and exercise into the week by taking Dylan with me to the Y, where they have amazing, and therefore guilt-free, child care M-F mornings.
I squeeze work related to politics and the environment into the evenings since hubby is never home anyway, and politics are much more fun after a glass of wine, or two.
Whew– and there you have it: a brain, a body, and a hot dinner. Bring it on, Palin!
Afterword: I only just devised this plan. Though I am a die-hard optimist, parenting (and the current administration) have made me painfully realize that not everything nothing goes as planned. I’ll let you know how this goes… or maybe you’ll chance upon my published book one day and say, “Ah-ha, now I know it is possible to have it all!” If you have a plan to have it all, please share.