Busy-ness

If there’s anything I rail against as a mother, it’s busy-ness. Too much to do, not enough time to do it in. It leads me to mornings like this:

in which I nestle the kiddo in my office recliner with a pillow, blankie, tablet, and sippy cup while I tackle the day’s 10 hours of work. I work from home so I can spend more time with her, and sometimes she insists that time happen while I work because…well, because I work most of the day.

So she watches Barney. And I work. And also knock out some personal business (appointments, requests for freelance gigs). And eat breakfast. And shave my legs left-handed with an electric razor while editing points on a graph in PowerPoint with my right hand, because we have to leave for an appointment immediately after I get off work and I look like a yeti. I do anything I can do sitting at my desk, so I can maximize my working hours. All in the hopes that later I might have uninterrupted time with her.

After a while, she gets tired of Netflix and breaks out the washable markers. I allow this because a) washable (I learned the hard way), and b) it keeps her happy, which allows me to get more work done.

(Yes, she gave me tiger stripes. And growled at me after she did it, so I knew they were tiger stripes. Can’t say my kid’s not awesome.)

Soon, we’ll have lunch. Then I’ll work some more. After work, we’ll drive an hour to speech therapy, and an hour back, and spend at least half an hour there. Last Monday, we were there an hour and a half because they were running late. That’s a long time for a 3-year-old. So I take plenty of kid-amusing gear, but also brace myself for the fact that afterwards, she may be too grumpy for quality time. Which is fine, because I’ll likely be too tired. I am 4 months pregnant, after all, and work 60-hour weeks.

I think fondly back on my life before I worked from home, where I had a clear division between work and personal time. But then I realize I’m painting those days in rosier tones than they deserve; sure, I only worked the one job, but it was way more taxing mentally and emotionally than my current job, and it often took a full 8 hours to decompress from it — 8 hours I didn’t have, because I was commuting and then playing catchup with laundry and dinner in the few remaining hours before bed. The work I do now, while there is way more of it, is far less stressful. It’s mostly the amount of it that bothers me. The number of hours a day I must function at full speed.

And don’t even get me started on what I’m not doing. I’ve not done a single sensory play project with my kid, her whole life. I have Pinterest boards full of projects I’ve yet to attempt. I just finished my first book of the year. I got it for Christmas. I haven’t plucked my eyebrows since 2013.

Part of me wishes, deep down, to be “just” a mommy. For my job to be cleaning and cooking and snuggling my kid. I don’t want to work and freelance and network and stay on top of the house, my family, my hobbies and interests. I’m tired. I’m pregnant. And my kid won’t be 3 forever; soon she won’t ask me to lay down and cuddle her back to sleep anymore.

Why must we all be so damn busy all the time?

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