Every "Free" Moment Tugs At My Heart

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues, Working

I am a working mom. For whatever reason, the management at my office decided to be closed on Monday, October 13, known in the banking and government world as a holiday because of Christopher Columbus. No complaints that I’d get to join in on the fun. My partner is a working mom. She is a golf instructor and takes Monday’s off anyway.

So for the first time without taking vacation days, we had the same day home from work.

The montessori school where the kids attend was OPEN. And this is where it got tricky.

We went through what I perceive as a lot to get pregnant, love the twins more than anything, and, as working parents, ache for more time with them. And even though we’ll take turns grocery shopping after we put the kids to sleep, or run errands during the workday lunch break, or get up at 4:30 a.m. to pay the bills, there are still things that have to get done during normal waking hours.

So on Saturday’s, I leave the house for a couple hours to dart around town, hit the necessary venues, purchase what is needed, and rush home. I could take the kids with me, sure, but it would take me even longer to get done what needs to get done.

And this is what happened on Monday. Though not my preference, we got up like a normal Monday, and took the kids to school. I felt completely horrible leaving them there and wondered if the teachers were cursing me under their sweet smiles – because there I was taking the kids to school on MY day “off”.

But crawl back in bed, or get pedicures, or meet friends for brunch, we did not.

My partner had a dental appointment at 8:00 a.m., so I dropped the kids off and proceeded to pick up dry cleaning, then to develop some photos (which I had already pre-selected the night before and had on a jump drive as to be efficient with my time). By 8:00 a.m., I was at the local hardware store purchasing ten bags of mulch, two plants, one light bulb for the motion sensor light, bulbs for the back porch, and batteries for the smoke alarms. And then getting it all into the car. And then out of the car. I planted two jasmine vines, potted one croton for the front porch, pulled the ladder out of the garage, replaced light bulbs, cut back lantana, trimmed plumbago and oak and azalea, pulled weeds, tilled soil, put down and spread mulch, watered, and transferred a bouganvilla. By 10:30. At which time Jennifer arrived home and helped to bag lawn debris and then put down weed killer on the gravel driveway and the sides of the house where we have pea gravel. Then we moved to the back yard. Blah Blah Blah, you get the picture. It was a crazy busy day and the cuticles of my fingers are STILL black. We worked our asses off, all the while (I was) feeling guilty for having this one day we could have spent as a family and instead doing chores. But then what? Not do them? Being a responsible and loving parent also means attending to the household needs.

had we not done what we did, it would have taken 2-3 weeks of partial Saturday’s or Sunday’s to get it done, the same list of things we accomplished in 9 hours with two of us and zero of the kids. The kids we prayed for and longed for and finally did IVF for. Yep, those are the ones that we dropped off at day care and did yard work instead.

Sure, we could have outsourced the job, in fact, we used to. But after spending an additional $500+ on childcare last week (because the kids were both sick and I was sick Monday and Tuesday and couldn’t miss any more work), this ON TOP of the tuition we already pay to the school, I made the executive decision to do it ourselves. Yes, it was less than paying a landscaper and handyman. But it was also at the price of not spending precious infancy time with our twins.

And pretty much, because every moment of every day can either be spent on kids or the things that need to get done (and I’m not talking re-organizing my recipe cards here, people. That’s on my list, but it’s now on my wish list, with a time frame of ‘within-10-years’), EVERY SINGLE MOMENT puts my heart in conflict as to what to with my time.

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6 thoughts on “Every "Free" Moment Tugs At My Heart”

  1. I say give yourself a break on the fact that you took them to school. For one, that’s what they’re used to, so you’re sticking with your routine. And sometimes, just sometimes, you need to take that time to bang out the things on your to-do list. I think that’s a totally reasonable and normal and good thing.

    I know there’s no way to completely get rid of the mommy guilt. It’s always there, it seems. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. But it’s OK not to spend every single spare second with them. Truly. It doesn’t mean you love or value them any less. It just means that no matter how much we wanted our kids and how much we adore them, sometimes we need a little break and take a few hours to go back and visit our pre-kids selves.

  2. That is a seriously impressive amount of chores to accomplish in one day!

    My boys are almost 2 1/2 and I still struggle with balance. I know working is the right choice for me, but it’s hard to not want to spend every…single… minute outside work with them.

    But man, an opportunity to knock out an entire DAY of chores from my to-do list?! With no kids in tow?! For no extra cost?! That sounds like heaven to me.

  3. I’m all for enjoying a bit of baby free time. Whether you’re a working mom or a SAHM, you need some. Good for you for taking advantage of your free time. I think I might have sat on the couch and not moved for nine hours…..your willpower is better than mine.

    I am also a bit fan of paying for services you don’t have time for, at least in the first year. It’s a temporary thing, for the most part. Soon, those errands get easier to do with babies, naptimes get more regular and it’s easier to run errands then and your time opens up (just a bit) again. The cleaning lady is the best money I ever spent. In the first few months, I also got groceries delivered, made a list of projects for my mom each time she came up (yay for moms) and went to prepare ahead meal places to get meals to eat in the evenings. Now, at 18 months, I have time to do those things myself again.

  4. I understand the guilt thing. I save up all my vacation time in case the girls are sick, so I’m always left with some at the end I have to use. Last year I had Fridays off between Oct. 15 and the end of the year. With the exception of a couple weeks they were sick, they went to day care every Friday.

    I loved getting to go to the gym after I dropped them off. Then I would do errands, etc. It gave me more time on the weekends to spend with the family since I wasn’t having to do them on the weekends.

    This year I’m in the same spot – my Fridays off start tomorrow, and I’m so looking forward to it. But at Christmas I have a full two weeks off, but I don’t know what I’ll do about day care since they’re open most of it. I don’t want them to miss any of the activities or parties.

  5. I could preach that you should feel no guilt, but I’m guilty of the guilt too.

    My husband has Mondays off, but I bring the girls into daycare anyway. He takes care of things on Mondays that we would otherwise either not get done, pay someone to do, or spend 20 times longer doing with kids in tow. Never have I felt that he’s slacking. One Monday, he had errands to run in town and we had LUNCH DATE. Imagine!

    I have never taken the day off work myself, though, to get stuff done. Really, it’s that guilt you mention. I also get to rationalize it away using the long commute as an excuse, but really, I feel so guilty doing anything other than being with my kids or at work that it’s not worth it. Yet.

    I know that once my husband heads back to Iraq next year, I will need to find some time in my life for me and errands, just for make of my sanity.

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