So I, along with millions others, have read Ann-Marie Slaughter’s piece in the Atlantic entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” I’m not going to pontificate on whether indeed we can have it all. (That hearty exchange is on my Facebook page.)
I will say though today felt like a struggle to juggle it all. The day was by no means bad, it was just tough. Not single-mother-working-three-jobs-to-feed-her-kids tough, but it also wasn’t a walk in the park. Here’s a day in the life of a mom, journalist, wife, daughter and friend.
It all has to start with the night before, I mean, we all know sleep is important, so I stayed up after midnight. I’d love to say I was watching a great movie, but no, it was emailing a source and a client. (They both initially wrote me at 11 p.m.!)
But yes, I went to bed around 12:30 a.m. Then, at 2 a.m. Logan, my 4 year old, starts to shriek. I don’t remember the mad dash to his bedside, because by the time my brain cleared I was glowering over him. He and his brother share a room, so I’m always worried one’s shrieks will wake the other.
Anyway, I brought him back to bed with us. Then at 4 a.m. my youngest woke. He’s teething and is out of sorts.
I honestly can’t tell you what happened between 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. I’m thinking I might have slept. Regardless, both kids were in the bed so I had a foot wedged between my 6th and 7th rib, Hubby had slipped downstairs to get some sleep on the couch and by 5:33 a.m., Ethan, my 18 month old, was incessantly pleading for a “nana” which loosely translated means: Banana.
Here’s the rest of the day:
5:34 a.m. Get the requested banana. Play and eat with Ethan.
6:45 a.m. Husband emerges from downstairs. He’s saying something to me, but I’m still in a mental fog, so I nod, smile and hope it wasn’t important.
7 a.m. Logan shrieks again, this time it’s clear he’s up for good.
7:16 a.m. Hubby and I talk about a wrinkle in the story I’m working on. We flesh out the problem, I’m sure that I’ve made him miss his train to work, but it’s better to bounce ideas off him instead of Logan.
7:30 a.m. Hubby leaves. The kids get breakfast. It’s Tasteeos. Just like Cheerios, but cheaper. I look at the laundry list of things to do today and consider taking a 5 hour energy shot… My sister turned me on to those a couple weeks ago. I’ve taken it once before, should I do it again?
8:14 a.m. I am emailing back-and-forth with a client and a source on two different projects. Meanwhile I’ve given the kids carplache in ToyLand, the area previously known as the living room.
8:30 a.m. I take a shower. Many moms forgo this, but it’s important for my well being to at least take a moment to get clean. I usually just tell my kids not to do anything that will get themselves killed.
8:36 a.m. The shower is over and I really, really think I should take that 5 hour energy shot.
9:15 a.m. I take the 5 hour energy shot like I used to do jello shots in college.
9:17a.m. I dress the kids. Start rewriting a story, emailing a client and texting my mom and my hairdresser.
10:45 a.m. I need to get lunch packed. We are going to a concert in the park and I’ve told my friends we’d get there early and could save seats. I’m not sure why I say such lies.
11:15 a.m. We leave the house for the concert, which starts in 15 minutes. Though still miles away, I shake a fist of fury at all of the perfectly coifed suburban moms who I am sure have already staked their perfectly shaded spot.
11:28 a.m. We grab the last patch of shade as Rick Kelley begins to perform.
12:30 p.m. Concert is over, the kids have eaten, I’ve half-caught up with my friends. Though they are giving me looks of concern because I’m obviously frazzled. I’m worried about making my deadline. Ethan has bonked some poor girl on the head as I get an email from a source that I’ve been waiting for. I separate Ethan and the girl. The source says he can talk today at 2 p.m. What to do with the kids? Nothing says professional journalist like screaming kids in the background.
12:35 p.m. I make an appointment at the gym’s daycare. The kids love it there and I can work in peace.
12:45 p.m. I drop off our enrollment papers at what will soon be our new daycare. We hang out in the classrooms for awhile with hopes it’ll feel less foreign when the boys begin in August.
1:28 p.m. We are at the gym and I kiss the kids goodbye so I can hit the elliptical Internet. Researching, writing, emailing, writing, fact-checking.
2 p.m. Interview source
3:30 p.m. has come way too soon. We leave the gym and get ready for Tee-ball. It’s hot as Hell, I hope it’s canceled.
4 p.m. Dinner tonight is brought to you by Subway. It’s cheap and a healthy alternative to Happy Meals. Plus this one is near the train station, so the kids can watch the trains roll by.
5 p.m. Subs devoured, we head to Tee-ball, I’m sad to find it wasn’t canceled. The next 45 minutes are spent vascillating between clapping for Logan in the bleachers to pushing Ethan in the swings at the nearby park.
6:15 p.m. Just as the heat strokes begin to settle in, Tee-ball is over.
6:45 p.m. Everyone is tired, hot and cranky. I start getting Ethan ready for bed when Hubby comes in. “Hi! How was your day? What are you having for dinner?” That’s his nice way of saying “Hi honey! What’s for dinner?” He feels that by asking about my food choice takes away some of the 1950s-era expectation for dinner.
6:46 p.m. I’m grumpy and give him a “Die Bitch” look. He responds with an “Okidoki.”
7 p.m. Pajamas are on, teeth are brushed and Ethan is in bed. One down, one to go. Since Hubby and Logan are watching TV downstairs, I crack open my laptop again. There’s more researching, writing, emailing, writing, fact-checking.
8:30 p.m. Pajamas are on, teeth are brushed and Logan is in bed. Now I hopefully can put the final touches on my story.
9:13 p.m. I emailed my editor my piece. I hope he likes it.
After taking a moment to breathe, I feel good about today. We went on a picnic, played with friends, did tee-ball and even went to the gym. (I suppose it doesn’t count as exercise though since I worked instead of worked out.)
Was the day easy? No. Was it rewarding? Yes. I think back to the article in the Atlantic, and really, I don’t believe we can always have it “All.” None of my friends, female or male, feel that they do, but some of us come closer than others. I know that I’m much closer than I was a year ago, and I plan to say the same next year. What can I say other than I’m evolving in the work/life struggle/juggle.
I suppose I could navel-gaze on this more, but I’d rather go spend some quality time with Hubby, especially since the “Die Bitch” look was a tad harsh. 😀