Most days, I’m up at 4:15 and in bed by 7:30.
On Mondays, I “stay up” until 9:00 so I can have dinner with my friends for our weekly Monday Night Dinner.
I don’t have much of a social life anymore, beyond MND and the soul-cleansing Saturday breakfasts that happen at my house when our friends come over and help me remember a time in my life before children.
Lately, my “downtime” takes place during the commute and between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. when the baby is finally asleep and I can get ready for bed **by myself.** Bonus if I’m able to read five or six pages of a book before I’m nodding off.
I’m not complaining that we have children. It’s a decision that we made with eyes wide open–and we took plenty of time to ourselves before we made that decision.
But it’s still hard.
We fight hard every day to discipline with purpose and meaning instead of flying off the handle. We fight hard to “balance” work and home life. I hate that word: balance. It always makes me think of that slowly moving two-sided scale that takes forever to equalize.
There’s no time to wait around for that kind of balance when you have two kids under the age of five. Somehow, their needs manage to vacuum all the bits of your time that you didn’t realize were squirreled away in your day.
You’re carving out 2.5 hours of your day to drive from work to daycare to pediatrician to daycare to work for a well-child visit, only to find out, actually he tested positive for RSV, so here’s a prescription for steroids and nebulizer treatments. Administer twice daily and four times daily, respectively. And he can’t go to daycare tomorrow, so figure that out. And come back next week for the 12-month shots. And also take him to a lab to have a blood screening done for lead exposure and iron deficiencies.
And then you’re behind at work because you took off half a day and when you return, you realize 10 minutes before class starts that, oh no, I have absolutely nothing planned for the second hour of class. But you’re a pro. You can wing it. As long as your boss doesn’t decide to drop in unannounced to review your teaching performance (true story several times over, but not recently). And no big deal, you can finalize those three final exams before their deadline in two days and create three more original tests because you really can’t reuse the same tests from the last two terms, while you’re grading the most recent writing assignment that you’ve collected and planning lessons for tomorrow and the day after that…
And then it’s Ash Wednesday, a day when you remember that dust we are and dust we shall return.
And 17 more kids die in a mass shooting at school.
And instead of feeling sorrow, which is a far, far more appropriate reaction, I feel exasperation.
Because HERE WE GO AGAIN.
Listening to the snippets of the unfolding story on NPR is all I can take. I stay the hell away from Facebook this time around. I simply cannot stand to read a feed filled with posts about pro-gun and anti-gun again.
As much as I am pro-common-sense-gun-control, I cannot stomach another round of posts and comments and threads with people so blatantly and carelessly disrespecting each other on a topic that we so desperately need to figure out.
Unh-uh. Not this time.
Because at the end of the day, what are we all working so hard for if we can’t even keep them safe when we send them to school?