I woke up, confused by the sun streaming through my blinds and the lack of blaring alarm clock. I glanced at the clock and saw – YIKES! – I slept in. I called out to T as I jumped out of bed and started throwing some clothes on.
He walked into my room, fully clothed with shoes on.
“You’re already awake? Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“I wanted to let you sleep.”
I ripped the braids from my hair, threw it all in a ponytail, swiped on some mascara and hurried the boy out the door.
“Thank you for letting me sleep, but that should only be reserved for weekends. If I accidentally sleep in, and you are awake, you should definitely come wake me up.” We jumped in the car and I raced (within the speed limit) towards his school. “But I am very proud you got yourself up, dressed, and even ate breakfast. That’s really awesome.”
As we headed towards the school, I was privy to what the typical school drop-off routine looks like.
Usually I drop T off at the before school program, because I have to be at work an hour before his school even starts. There aren’t a lot of people around that early in the morning, so it’s an easy routine. I pull up to the curb, walk him to the cafeteria, sign him in, kiss him good-bye, and head back to my car. The whole thing takes maybe five minutes. Then I drive off to work.
But this time I got to drive behind the parents who roll to a stop, let the kids jump out, and then they drive off. I had to park a block away from the school, and then T and I walked to the school. The bell hadn’t rung, so I still had to sign him into the before school program.
The whole time I was driving to the school, I saw various parents walking their children to school. Some rode their bikes. Some of the parents walked their kids to school, and then hung around on the sidewalk chatting with other parents. None of these parents seemed to be in a rush. They had time I never seem to have.
I am perfectly aware that “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I get that I was only seeing a snapshot, a moment in time. There is a lot in their mornings that I did not see.
But it still got me thinking.
I would love to have that extra time in the morning with my son. I would love to sit down and have breakfast with him, and to make that fifteen minute walk to school with him. I would love to make that walk again in the afternoon, pick up my son, and walk back home with him, his school stories filling my ears.
Instead, mornings are a blur. I have to drop him off at the before school program by 7:30 so I can get to work by 8. That’s all moved up half an hour if I have to kick off a class at work. After school is over, he heads to his after school program, and I pick him up somewhere between 5:15 and 5:45 – depending on the day. I rush through making dinner, hoping that I’ll have some time while we eat to just BE with him. Then it’s time for homework (maybe the gym so I can hit the elliptical while he does his homework) and showers and story time and bed.
Wednesdays we throw gymnastics into the mix.
I try to make changes to make things go smoother, to give us more time to be together, but I haven’t found what works for us. Lunches and outfits are packed and picked out the night before. My mornings and evenings are always rushed. Always. It’s like I thrive on it. Because I can’t get any changes to really stick.
I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom. I like working. I enjoy my job. I like those 20 minutes a night when we curl up together and I read a chapter from Harry Potter or A Series of Unfortunate Events. I like the random evening where we have time to take a walk to the mailboxes and dumpster before bed, when we can enjoy the cool air and some conversation.
I don’t like always being tired. Even when I get us to bed early, I still wake up feeling exhausted. And then I run through my day, and by the time I pick up T, I am exhausted again. I feel the most awake during the hours I’m at work. Which is good for job productivity, but bad for anything else in my life. I don’t like those times I hang out with friends after work, and all I feel is exhausted. Instead of enjoying my time with people I love, I am worried about how our scattered routine is thrown off course and I am just so exhausted. I am driving home at 10 p.m. worried about getting enough sleep, but so very happy I had time to see my lovely friends.
It’s all a mess. There is no happy medium these days.
And the years keep passing faster and faster.