I never expected it to be this hard.
Hell, I STILL don’t expect it to be this hard. My continual mental insistence that I should be able to balance everything—that I have so little going on compared to others—is probably causing me as much, if not more, stress than the actual issues I have to deal with.
But seriously, exactly how do I have it so hard?
I teach one class, three days a week. ONE.
Whenever I’m not teaching, I’m in charge of the toddler. Tiring? Yes. Challenging? Yes. Causes me to threaten bungee-cording him to a nice, sturdy piece of furniture? Oh god yes. Some absolutely unmanageable task? No.
I’m, generally, in charge of dinner. Since I’m eating modified paleo, making stuff at home is pretty much a given. And since I’m absolute shit in the kitchen, it can take me FOREVER. (If I told you how long it took me to mince four cloves of garlic the other day, I’m afraid you’d lose the last crumb of respect you have left for me.) Trying to prepare food with the nosiest (almost) two-year old known to man who has an obsession with the oven and a penchant for slamming cabinets and drawers shut—regardless of whether your fingers are still in them—is . . . an experience. (And only becomes more of one the taller the little monster gets and the longer his reach grows.)
Often, if the recipe involves a crockpot, prep takes place during his nap. His ONE nap. His one nap that I desperately need him to take so that I might be able to sneak in some school work and not have to work from the time he goes to bed until the time I go to bed every night . . . and Saturdays and Sundays.
I’m in charge of laundry . . . or at least mine and the kid’s. (The frequency with which I am able to remember and then actually get around to laundry is not in sync with the relatively small amount of clothes my husband has, so he chooses to wash his own.) The toddler always has clean clothes, though they rarely leave the laundry room. (Clean clothes in the basket, dirty ones in the hamper.) Me? Well, I have enough of a wardrobe and enough creativity and enough downy wrinkle releaser to help me get by . . . most of the time.
I mean, all that might be clean is a shirt that shows off my favorite back fat, pants that completely disguise my surprisingly decent legs, and a sweater that’s peculiar pilling pattern reveals how super awesome the combination of sizable boobs and definitely NOT lean, muscular arms can be for your knitwear, BUT THAT’S OKAY. With all that other crap going on, who has time to dress well enough so that she can shakily whisper to herself “at least I look okay, at least I look okay,” repeating it mantra-like in a desperate attempt to strengthen the remaining—dangerously frayed--strings of emotional stability?
Not I. I have papers to grade, and a toddler to teach consequences to (if you insist on attempting to beat a hole in the TV with your sippy cup, I’m taking it away), and dinner to plan, purchase, and prepare, and laundry to switch over (IF I remembered to actually put the detergent in this time).
I wanted to “have it all.” (I was an idiot)
I wanted to work because I love teaching and like to contribute. I wanted to still be at home with my son because that’s important to me. I wanted to eat healthier so that I could become healthier. I wanted to . . . well, I didn’t WANT to do laundry per say, but if I want my clothes washed and dried the way they’re supposed to be, I have to. (And that’s not a cut toward my husband. I used to be a throw-it-all-in-on-the-same-setting-at-the-same-time person when I had a less “demanding” wardrobe too. If I want to wear fragile tops and “re-shape and dry flat” sweaters, however, that’s understandably all on me.)
And that is just the day to day. I have a family gathering planned in March that I have no idea how I will prepare for. Too many people are coming for me to hang blankets across doorways and block off whole rooms.
I have a book I want to write, but I’m having to stay up later than I should (on a school night!) just to write this—and I can almost guarantee I’m going to hate myself for it tomorrow.
Pretty much anything in the mythical “future” gets little to no attention. I’m too busy trying to survive today to think about tomorrow . . . until I do, and then I start to stress and mentally hyperventilate and wonder what in the hell was I thinking, trying to balance work, parenting, and home. Balance—both physical and metaphorical—has never been my strong point, and yet I keep trying, thinking maybe one day I’ll finally figure it out . . . or at least go a whole ten seconds before falling on my ass.
You hear about how being a stay at home mom is hard. You hear about how being a working mom is hard. Hell, you hear about how being a MOM is hard. But I thought I could get away with something—sneak a bit from the non-parenting worlds. Just a little work. Just a few simple chores. Just a smidge of completely-for-me hobby time/free time/HAHAHAHAHAHAHA THAT DOESN’T EXIST YOU CRAZY BITCH time.
I didn’t get away with dick.
Guess my toddler isn’t the only one learning about consequences, right?