Meredith C. Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
I’m hardly the first working mom – or human being – to have a busy schedule. But I might be in line to win an award (booby prize?) for the busy streak on which my schedule and I are about to embark. Or if not an award I feel like I might at least be entitled to a stiff drink. (Either one will do, really, but only if the former is in the shape of the latter.)
Every so often (although more often than not) for several days or weeks in a row my days start before sunrise, end way after the sun sets and are jam packed with work, meetings, appointments, general childcare, house chores and errands, more work and meetings, cooking, food shopping, and schlepping my daughter around to her various activities in between and while working, attending meetings and appointments, performing general childcare, house chores and errands and doing more work and attending more meetings.
Where I think I’m probably also not alone is when I’m in the thick of it, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel – although, of course, there always is at some point. The difference now is I know there actually isn’t. OK, I know my current busy streak will end eventually, but not for another 18-22 years (give or take). So in this case, I don’t think I could see relief unless I were some kind of prophet, and even then it seems that prophets aren’t exempt from needing to see an ophthalmologist every now and again due to unclear vision(s).
My almost-3-year-old daughter starts preschool next month (assuming she decides before then that the toilet is a nicer place to poop than her pants) and just reading those words makes the angels (and me) sing loud and proud. She’ll just be going two days a week to start, but when I subtract her from the routine of my seemingly nonstop harried state, the idea of two entire days (or two school-length days, which as many parent will likely attest, seems far, far too short) sans toddler is like a little slice of heaven.
But here’s the rub: The amount of time I’ll have to enjoy her absence will be even shorter. Like, only-for-two months short. Because just a couple of short months after she starts preschool, I’m having another baby. The birth of my second daughter will coincide nicely with the time my first daughter starts preschool a whopping three days a week (again assuming that the potty becomes more friend than enemy), but really, it’s just a tease. Because when you strip away all the pretty layers, like how the frequency (or lack thereof) of my daughter’s trips to the loo will be someone else’s problem for three weekdays, what you see is that there will still be two whole weekdays in which both daughters will be home with me.
And on those days I will work, go to meetings and appointments, perform general childcare (times two), house chores and errands, do more work and attend more meetings, go food shopping and schlep not one, but two daughters around to their various activities in between and while working, attending meetings and appointments, performing general childcare (times two), house chores and more work and attending more meetings.
I keep telling myself to get as much sleep as I can now before my version of the rapture occurs at the end of the summer. But just the thought of it is keeping me up at night. I think about my to-do list and all of the things that aren’t on it, because how does one prepare, really, for sleeping? It’s hard to get sleep in preparation for the sleep you won’t be getting since the idea of getting none is enough to keep you up.
It’s not that I’m not jumping out of my skin with excitement to have another daughter. I’m just not thrilled with the prospect of all the work it’s going to entail. Between now and when she’s born. And between when she’s born and when she leaves for college. Other than that, I can’t wait.
The allure of being a stay-at-home mom was much more alluring before I fully grasped the reality of working from home (in addition to the work of being a stay-at-home mom, that is). And while I wouldn’t trade the past few years or the next dozen and a half, it doesn’t mean I’m not bone tired from being so busy I can’t see straight on most days (cue the ophthalmologist).
But that’s OK. My first daughter is worth it (mostly), and I’m (mostly) sure my second one will be, too. And I’m sure I’ll sleep again sometime between 2029 and 2033. Give or take.
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