I’ve had so much to say these past few months, and a list of posts to write (and some half-written). But I’m always, it seems, scurrying. Scurrying around in the morning to drink coffee and kiss my sleeping children goodbye and head out to the train by 7 a.m. (Except on the days when I run to work, when I drink coffee and eat a quick bowl of cereal, then put on my packed-the-night-before running backpack and leave at 6:10 or 6:30 and run an hour to get to the office, arriving happy and calm and feeling good.)
Sometimes on the train I have room to crochet the blanket I’m making for my friend’s baby; sometimes I just have room to read a book. Scurrying the half-mile from train to work. Planted solidly at my desk all day (all day, all day — no on one my team has time for actual lunch breaks). [This past week I finally, for the very first time in my three-and-a-half months at this company, took a lunch break, almost an hour, in which I changed, ran 3.2 miles, picked up the fastest closest lunch I know of, scurried back to the office, showered, dressed, and was back at my desk 3 minutes shy of an hour. I felt like such a fucking rebel…and so much better.]
Is this what you all do at work? Is this a normal work life? I could say a ton more about that but I will not.
At exactly 5 p.m I rush from my desk, race-walk to the train, hope I can pick the fastest line down the stairs to the train (Why are you walking in the middle, so slowly, with your big bag? Move right!!), and get on such a packed car that sometimes all I can do is just read my phone, because there isn’t room to hold open a book. Then a half-mile scurry from train to home, arriving home at 6 p.m., quick low-down from the sitter while I’m starting dinner and listening to variously shouting children and changing out of work clothes, then I try to feed them and ask about their days.
They want to stay outside playing, totally normal if you ask it. It’s summer. It’s light out. Kids are still out, and life is fun. Why come in and wash hands and sit and eat and start the bedtime routine?
After the dinner-to-bed mayhem wraps up sometime by 8:30 or 9 p.m., we do laundry, clean the kitchen, etc. If I’m running to work the next day, I pack my clothes and plug in my Garmin and make sure I’m ready to go.
We’re so behind on everything, and so very tired.
I do not like this pace, not at all. Soon my office will move, in less than a month, to a location that gives me the chance to do necessary tasks such as buy shoes or go to CVS over my lunch break (Lo! I will start taking an occasional lunch break!). My commute will also shorten, thank goodness.
We are just emerging from Birthday Madness, in which we celebrate both boys’ birthdays in less than two weeks, which involves a ton of baking and present-procurement and wrapping and inviting and parties. And hosting parties involves a ton of house-cleaning and shopping and planning and set-up. Not used to hosting actual birthday parties, since until this year Max didn’t want to invite more than 2 kids over, we could have done a better job with his party this year (as in, if you invite a bunch of kids who don’t know each other, a sponge bomb battle might be a terrible idea). For Ben’s party yesterday, I was so organized with so many activities that we only got through two of them (seltzer-can bowling and pin the tail on the donkey — total success!), and though this time we were ready for a post-party BBQ (taking notes from Max’s party), everyone announced (when they arrived) that they had to leave before we’d start grilling.
Come over, all of you readers. We have a ton of food.
Today we had nothing scheduled. Well, except my morning long run with a good friend, and Max’s soccer tournament (who’s happy soccer season is finally over? WE ARE). Then we went to the beach, which seemed like such a brilliant idea this morning (right? we need to relax, it’s hot, soccer tournament in the sun) but the beach was freezing and windy and everyone else was in jeans and hoodies and Max was worried the salt water would hurt the scrape on his knee). The water was OK but the wind froze us, then we went out to dinner and there was a disaster with the haddock [do not try to serve me bad haddock, ever] and we were there an extra hour because of it, so it was a late and stressful evening again, the opposite of what we wanted.
Max was mad, two days ago, when he found out that grown-ups don’t get summer vacation. Apparently he thought we’d finally have some time together as a family.
It’s the first I’d really heard him admit to missing having me around.
We are so very tired, and there’s little room for error. Our sitter is away next Friday and Monday, and we can’t well drop the kids into camp for one day here and there, so C will take Friday off. My mom might watch them Monday but if not I will have to take the day off work, which is not ideal for a million reasons.
I read a few pages of my book every night but there’s otherwise so little downtime right now. I don’t think this is good for any of us. I was supposed to run to work tomorrow but I need some extra sleep and that will throw off my running schedule for the rest of the week.
I can’t care about that right now. I am so racheted down to work, feed kids, get kids to bed, work, feed kids…There seems to be little space for creativity or beauty or friends. I miss my friends. I miss my blogging friends. I haven’t seen them in months. I haven’t seen other friends in even longer. I miss the events I used to go to. I miss going out on weeknights. I miss being bored. I miss finishing my New Yorkers. I miss the Sunday paper.
I miss playing with my kids. I miss the other parents at school. I miss having any control over their lives or taking them to their dentist and doctor appointments now (that generally falls to C these days, not a bad thing 7 years in, but still. I miss doing it).
I don’t know what the answer is, but this isn’t it. Not at all. I miss my kids. I miss my life. I know I am glad to be back to work full-time, but the balance is so far off that this is not sustainable at all.
That’s why my blog has been so quiet for so long. I hate to say that I’m barely hanging on, because I’ve said it before and then whoomph, holy shit, did I think I was busy then? Because now I am super-busy!
We’re going to win this. I just don’t know what the path to winning looks like right now. The end result will be more family time, more flex-time, more time for creativity and errands and life and a slower pace. How we get there, I’m not sure yet. If I have to move us all to Pennsylvania or Maine, I will do it. In a heartbeat.
What I do know is that I am sick of the inglorious scurrying. And of the way it kills calm and creativity and community.
I can change that. And I will.