Work-life Balance

When I was a full time worker I used to look forward to the days of being a stay at home mum. I figured it’d be a nice break from my busy life. Hahahaha. I hadn’t banked on having twins when I used to have that daydream, but even so I was kidding myself. Today is a fairly typical day in my life.

5am – My alarm goes off but I’ve already been awake for 15 minutes. I almost always wake up before my alarm and think about the dream that I’ve just been having. This morning it was about an old guy on a motorbike who was chasing my mother in her car, trying to get a key-drive that I had given her. A fairly standard dream. So when the alarm goes I get up to work. I always get up at 5am to get in an hour before the kids wake up. The early morning hour is for admin. I clear my emails, sort out any problems that happened over night (day for most of you), check for new articles to post on our Facebook page, make a couple of tweets, that sort of thing. I used to do the tweeting later in the day but after a couple of beers one day I made the fatal error of tweeting a personal message on the company account. It went along the lines of “Kids in bed, taking a beer and my laptop out onto the deck. Yup, I DO call this work.” Whoops… So now I do that part of my job in the morning when I’m sharp.

6am – Tuesday is a gym day. I head into the city for an hour of driving my body into the ground. It’s the only time of the day that I have to myself. My favourite part is the drive home. I sit there soaking in endorphins and sweat and watch the sun rise over Auckland city. I never fail to think about how bloody lucky I am when I see that sunrise.

8am – I can gauge how my day is going to turn out when I walk in the door from the gym. I either hear laughing or crying. Today was worse than usual. There was crying… and there was mess. Somehow Shaun had accidentally pulled Hunter’s nappy off with her sleep-suit and didn’t notice until she crapped all over the furniture. He told me that he’d cleaned it up. I asked for clarification on the clean up. He’d given it a wipe with a towel apparently. Hygenic. I grabbed a quick shower before he left for work. Then I did some housewife stuff for a while with the kids helping. By helping I mean pulling things out of the dishwasher and hitting each other with them.

9:30am – I had to do some quick planning for a meeting later in the day. I did that with Israel on my knee because he was the victim of a biting attack. The biting was the result of an argument over one of the dishwasher items. Hunter is a bit feisty – she’s going to be a forum admin one day.

10am – We got in the car and went to Mainly Music, which is singing and dancing for babies. After half an hour of some of the most humiliating behavior I’m ever liable to do (and that is a big call), the kids sit down and have morning tea. We then have the drive home. The drive involves some pretty sharp multi-tasking. I have to keep both kids awake so that they can have lunch before their sleep. My day depends on this carefully orchestrated feat of timing. We get home and I feed them the lunch I prepared during the morning housework session and then put them to bed.

12pm – In a split second I turn from mother to professional and thanks to the wonder of Skype, I telecommute to the office 2600km away for my weekly Team Leaders’ Meeting. I spend an hour debating development priorities and letting the others know that all is well with my part of the business. In another feat of multi-tasking I create and eat a sandwich during this meeting – my first meal of the day.

1pm – This happens to be now. I have decided to spend half an hour blogging since I’m feeling on top of my work stuff. When I’ve finished this, I’ll check in on the forums and make sure that there isn’t anything that needs my attention. Then I’ll make some notes for my next work blog post and put together the details of a campaign that I’m going to run next month. I’ll work on that until one of the kids cries.

3pm – Israel threw a temperature this morning at music so I’m going to take him to the doctor. I think he has an ear infection. 3pm is the worst time of the day to drive anywhere. It’s the stay-at-home-mum’s rush hour because everyone is picking their kid up from school. I’ll give the kids a box of raisins in the car. Raisins are a wondrous thing. They will keep a shitty child entertained for half an hour.

4pm – We’ll be home from the doctor by then and the kids will be grizzly. I’ll put them in the stroller and take them for a walk. We’ll get milk and go for a cruise in the park. Grizzling is much more tolerable when you’re not in the house. When we get home it’ll be time to feed them and bath them and put them to bed. Then I’ll fold nappies and cook dinner before I head out for the evening.

7pm – I’m meeting some friends for a drink in town. When every day is the same, it doesn’t make any difference whether you go out for drinks on a Tuesday or a Friday.

9pm – I’m going to see a movie that was made by a guy I knew back in my varsity days. It would seem that he’s doing pretty well for himself. Perhaps he didn’t drink as much as I did back in those days. It’s hard to remember.

11:30pm – I’ll come home and in theory this would be time to perform my wifely duties but I can guarantee you that Shaun will be asleep. Que cera.

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Disorganised

I’ve always been one of those super organised people that always arrives on time and never forgets anything. At least, I was one of those people. Over the last few months I’ve become absent minded. I take the kids out in the sun without sun hats. I go to the gym without a water bottle. I get in the car and drive to my parents’ place when that isn’t even where I was going. That’s just plain weird. Even weirder was when I arrived there to find not just my kids in the back seat, but my cat as well.

I know what the problem is. I’m trying to do too much at once. Right now there is so much going on with my job that I’m always organising it in my head. When I’m not working, I’m trying to live the life of a mother with two one year olds. That’s a job in itself. I’ve started making lists in my phone to remind me to do things, but I forget to check the lists.

I know that I’m doing too much because I’m dreaming in lists. Then I wake up and update my in-real-life lists. Then I go out and while I’m out I remember something that I forgot to put on my list so I start a new one… and forget about it. I think you get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I love being busy. It gives me a sense of purpose. Provided the busyness isn’t at the expense of my kids, then life is good.

And even though there is nothing funny or witty or clever about this post, I’m going to publish it anyway, because if I don’t I’ll forget about it… until the middle of the night.

Childish

Holy hell today started badly. I have a barometer of sorts which I can use to predict what the day is going to be like. When the kids have finished their morning bottle they either grizzle or play. Grizzle = bad day. Today started with grizzling. Actually it was more like howling. There is something about a howling kid that gets under your skin like nothing else. Two howling kids have the power to turn a usually even tempered person into a raging ball of anger.

So that is how my day started.

I managed to harness some of that energy and vacuumed the house. That wasn’t a popular decision. The howling chorus was joined by two cats. I briefly considered shutting the 4 of them into a cupboard and letting them fight it out. But I’m a mother and handling this kind of situation is my job. I attempted to distract the children with breakfast. That ended badly. I attempted to distract the cats with breakfast. That started a cat fight which was the final straw. Luckily it’s not illegal to shake a cat.

I decided I’d put the kids down for an earlier than usual morning nap so that I could cool off. I have spent the last hour listening to them having a lovely time in their room. Hunter has emptied the bookshelf into her cot and is now systematically ripping pages from her photo album. Israel is alternating between turning the light on and off, and using their iPod to scratch paint off the wall. I am pretending that I don’t know that these things are going on.

Usually on days like this I would take them for a walk so that they are limited in the amount of damage they can do and I can burn off some steam at the same time. But today is raining. It is the first rain in about 4 months. This must be some sort of a conspiracy.

I’m going to have my ‘flu shot this afternoon and mum is coming to watch the devil spawn. I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I am actually looking forward to going out and having a needle plunged into my arm.

On the up side, the cat shaking seems to have done the trick.