It feels like most days she is constantly busting her buns to do nothing more than maintain homeostasis. Before dawn she arises to begin the day while her family stays nestled all warm in their beds. There may not be gumdrops dancing in their heads, but she senses their peacefulness. Rather than be jealous that they slumber while she works, she tries to enjoy the only calm part of her day. It is the thought of coffee coursing through her veins that her get out of bed most days.
Once caffeinated, she busts through her work to-do list, focusing first on difficult tasks while the silence reins. Some days she gets minutes, other times hours, but she cherishes what she can get regardless.
Once the house begins to stir, chaos ensues. There’s always someone who needs something, be it a hug to chase away a scary dream or a change of bed sheets. These moments interrupt her calm and any attempt at deep focus. She does not hate these interruptions, just that it means she must pause her work tasks in the middle of her flow. The seconds tick by, and she knows she’ll be back at her computer later in the day than she hoped. Work is abandoned…for now.
Life shifts to keeping the household operational. People are clothed, fed, and cleaned. The house stirs while the dog slumbers. (Lucky girl.) All chores abandoned the night before are tackled now: dishes, laundry, picking up, wiping counters. Children log into virtual school and tend to stay focused. Two hours pass in a flash.
Work beckons by late morning. Calls are endless. She joins them with more caffeine in hand and a basket of laundry to fold at her feet. There is rarely more time for more deep work. She races to lunch time trying to get done only those tasks that must be completed before the day is out. It usually feels like there is only time to react before she is pulled away with a request from someone else who needs something from her. Does she have more to give? Her energy is draining. Coffee won’t help now.
She feeds the family. Children gripe about what is served. This is par for the course. She is getting tired now. The children have also grown restless of virtual school. The afternoon is full of interruptions, questions, whining, and requests. Her workday is waning and deadlines loom. She must return to work. Calls continue. She logs off by late afternoon, giving up on the day. Work will be there tomorrow.
This is the dead hour. There is often nothing planned, and this small pocket of time often offers some spontaneity. The children may want to play. They may take walks or play cards. She may read or clean or actually talk with her husband that shares her abode. This is a blissful time if she can step away from work.
By twilight in this winter season, she is out of energy. Everyone’s demands and requests of her time have drained her to the point of exhaustion, but there’s still more to do. Again, people must eat. She finds this highly annoying. This supper meal results in the most commentary on how undesirable the cuisine is to some. Afterward, there is food uneaten and another stack of dishes. Children must then be compelled to complete what they often deem torturous tasks like reading or taking a shower. Their independence has increased, reducing the burden on the parents. This is a blessing. There are cuddles and cute moments but also sometimes tantrums and stubbornness. I’m stubborn too. I get it.
By 8pm, she is “off duty.” Lately she has been climbing into her bed to snuggle under her covers. Although she drifts off to sleep quickly, it is not restful while her mind listens to the sounds of her children talking to each other from their beds down the hall. Tomorrow comes too quickly.