Monday, September 19, 2016

"What Are You Going to Do with All of Your Time?"

This is the #1 question people ask me when I tell them that both of my girls are in school now. Marley is in 3rd grade, and Holland is in a transitional kindergarten. Obviously, I don’t have a job: I’m a stay-at-home mom.

“Ah. Yes,” I say. “I will have so much free time, I’m not sure what I will do with myself! I won’t have a care in the world!”

Is this what they think I should say?  Why do people ask this question? Are they on crack? Why in the hell do they think that my kids being in school all day equates to ME having HOURS OF FREE TIME? As though I have no other responsibilities in the world?

                                                         The Life of a Stay-at-Home-Mom

What are they thinking? Do people think I will rise, magically whisk my children away at school, then float through the rest of the day? Perhaps I will get a gel mani pedi at the Nail Studio. Then I will roll into Starbucks for a nonfat Chai Latte. Serene and calm, I will find myself in the hair salon, getting my grey roots zapped and coating my strands with a magical black-reddish gloss called “Merlot.” Then I will arrive at lunch with a pretty blonde friend, compare notes on our yoga practice and enjoy a relaxing, one-bottle-of-wine lunch and split a small salad (no carbs.) Next, I will arrive home where my house cleaners have spruced up my house from top to bottom, and have folded and deposited each article of laundry in the correct drawer in the correct room. I will curl up on the couch, watch Oprah, and perhaps fall asleep for a few minutes. Oops, it’s 2pm, almost time for pickup! I will apply a new coat of lipgloss and arrive to pick up my two beautiful children, feeling peaceful and dewy and domestic.

Sure, there are moments. Beautiful, delicious, savory moments. Moments where I get my nails done. Where I go to yoga. Where I get a chai latte. Where I have one-bottle lunches. Where I get my hair done. (Oprah? Falling sleep on the couch? Cleaners put away laundry? Hasn’t happened.)

But, let’s real here. For the most part, this is how my day plays out.

5:45am. I rise, and go for a quick 20 minute run. At this hour, I’m so tired I can’t even think of fighting my run because I’m not sure what I’m doing yet. I’m one of those weird people who has to do cardio every day, otherwise I go mental. I don’t mind. Outside along the bay, it is dark and mysterious and devastatingly beautiful. Sometimes I see seals. I always see bunnies. And dogs. Lots of cute dogs.
6:15am. Prep the vegetables for the juicer. Every day we juice carrots, kale, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon. My girls actually love the juice and then I don’t worry that I’m a shit mom if they eat like crap for the rest of the day. Also, we have two tortoises who eat the juicer pulp. So if I don’t juice, Speedy and Micheal Jackson don’t eat, and that’s just mean.
6:30am. I turn on the juicer. That wakes up Ian so he knows it’s time to get up and start breakfast. The girls will either wake up, or sleep through the juicer depending on how tired they are.
7am. We all eat breakfast. Ian usually makes eggs and bacon, (I know, I know, I’m lucky) and some form of carb I won’t eat. But he puts it on my plate anyway.
7:30am. Go time! Get both girls dressed. Try to get both girls to poop. Do everyone’s hair and stuff backpacks with snacks and lunches I made the night before. Someone will scream and cry or complain that their hair is wrong, outfit is wrong, backpack is wrong, face is wrong. I try to calm the screaming child.
8am. Drop off! Success. Take a deep breath. I stop at Boneys, super happy and serene that I am ALONE shopping for healthy produce. The kids aren’t stuffing random shit in the cart or running each other over with the cart or knocking down displays of Annie’s Organic Mac n Cheese with the cart. No one freaks out when I don’t buy organic lollipops at checkout. Life is good.
9am. Yoga. Yes, I try to go to yoga at least 3 times a week. Yes, I’m neurotic and yoga helps me be normal. Go ahead and judge me.
10:15am. Volunteering at Marley’s school. I’m Folder Mom which is badass. I get to sit in the hall outside of the classroom and review everyone’s quiz grades and homework and stuff the folders with new and important school information, such as invitations to the Back-to-School Auction (where wine is served) and information on joining the Chess Club. I get to see when kids get pulled out for special services or get sent to the principals office. I also get to see my sweet Marley Marie when she is shuffling out for P.E.  Other days, I volunteer for the Everyone a Reader program which is also badass. I get to work with four “struggling readers” or readers who need more practice, 15 minutes a kid. I get to listen to them as they read, help them sound out tricky words, and gain more confidence and fluency as the read. It’s totally awesome and it’s incredible to see how far these kids progress in the space of one school year!
11:30am. Go home. Pickup house. It’s a fucking disaster. Crayons in the sink?  Barbie in the fireplace? Time to pick that shit up. Make beds, fold laundry, and put it away. Hopefully I will put the latest Netflix Original on for background company or a fun girlie movie like Devil Wears Prada.
12:30pm. Contemplate making a nice salad for lunch, but I’m so fricken hungry (probably because I went for my run and did yoga) so I heat up High Tide Pizza from last night. It’s a counterproductive maneuver, but we all have our crosses to bare.
1pm. Pay bills. I have to pay bills for our personal account and I’m also the bookkeeper for my husband’s corporation, so I get to do that too. Log everything into Quickbooks. Make a mental note to roust Ian when I see a charge to Tilted Kilt in Orange County. Start to put together the tax binder for August (shoot! It’s already October) but realize I’m quickly running out of time. Decide to postpone this for tomorrow. I wanted to write in this blog, but I RAN OUT OF TIME!
1:45pm. Start getting anxious. Its almost pickup time. Make sure I have Marley’s cheerleading bag packed with pompoms, snack water bottle and a change of clothes and sneakers, and Holland’s karate outfit and snack.
2:00pm. Pick up Holland from Sacred Heart Parish School. I wait for her in the office because we are off to speech therapy--I’m picking her up 45 minutes early. Start to worry that she didn’t get all smile faces on her behavior chart again. She is my “busy” child so there is always something new and exciting to report on her behavior chart. Seriously wish I had pounded a glass of wine so I won’t freak out if she has a bad behavior day. Get increasingly nervous. What if we get kicked out of school? What if I have to—GASP—home school? I would seriously kill myself. Think about going back to work so a nanny can pick up Holland and review her behavior chart so I don’t have to. Realize I don’t have any skills anymore. That’s not really true but I’m feeling sorry for myself so this is what I think. The teacher’s assistant brings Holland out. She is happy and smiling. “Mommy!” she says and gives me a big hug. “I got all my smile faces today! Do I get to go to Fuzziwigs?” I check the behavior chart and she has all smile faces except for one. During Math Calendar she refused to participate and crawled around like a cat and meowed when asked to answer a question. Ok, not a terrible day. I can deal with this.
2:20pm. After I drop off Holland at speech, I pick up Marley at Village Elementary. She is a happy 3rd grader and usually emerges content and confident. This is one of my favorite moments of the day because it seems rare that Marley and I have any alone time together. “How was your day?” I ask her. “Fine,” she says. “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “Friends,” she answers. “What was the best part of your day?” “I don’t feel like talking about it,” she answers. “Can I get a cinammon roll from Panera?” Their chai lattes suck so Panera gets shot down, and we head to Starbucks instead. She gets a donut, I get my latte and everyone is happy.  We sit and enjoy 20 minutes of time together, mainly in silence because she doesn’t feel like talking about her day, but it’s still nice.
3pm. Pick up Holland from speech. Stop at my mom’s house (because she lives closer to karate and cheerleading) and get the girls dressed for their activities.
3:30pm. Drop off Marley at Spreckels Park for cheer, take Holland to karate.
5pm. Get Marley from cheer and head home for the day. Help Marley with her math HER FREAKING COMMON CORE MATH THAT I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND and any other homework she has then make sure she reads aloud for 20 minutes. (Because apparently that makes a huge difference in academic success for the future?) Help Holland with her T-K homework…usually just coloring some shapes but I still have to monitor. Read a few books with her and enter books in reading log, along with any “new and unusual words.” Try to get dinner going when this is happening. After the girls finish their homework they go outside and scooter with the neighbor. I break up any fights during this time.
5:45pm. Dinner time! Hopefully Ian is home.
6:15pm. Bath time! The girls get their hair washed because they are crazy and get super dirty, random twigs and glitter and sometimes food in their hair, and I bust out the blow dryer so they don’t get in their jammies with wet hair.
7:30pm. Bed time. Have to stay in the room until at least 8:15 and the girls are fully asleep. Otherwise Holland will fall asleep with her thumb in her mouth which is bad for speech and means she will have to get braces, ultimately causing our family stress and thousands of dollars in orthodontia.
8:30pm. Heave a deep sigh of relief as I leave their room and pour the first glass of wine of the evening. (Who am I kidding? I’m on #3.) I prep lunches for tomorrow and stuff their backpacks with water and snacks. Husband wants to hang out and watch a movie. I fall asleep by 9.

Poor husband. All he asks is that he return home to a happy, clean, peaceful family and a pretty wife who is excited to hang out with him. And that I change out of my running gear because he hates how my sports bra smashes my boobs. I'm trying to remember to do this. He just wants me to be happy and write in this blog and enjoy motherhood. He doesn't understand when the house looks shitty and the kids are acting shitty and I fall asleep at 9pm.

So this is what I’m doing with my time, people.  So now you don’t have to ask me. Sometimes its super cool and fun. Sometimes I get to be creative and write in this blog. But mainly I just keep on keeping on.  And you know what? Maybe tomorrow is the day I will get my nails done.