I feel like no matter what I do these days, I'm battling time. There isn't enough of it...ever. I'm sure that's the refrain of moms everywhere, but for working moms, I'd have to think that the time crunch is even worse. I could be wrong, because there's probably some angle I'm not thinking of. While I'm sure some stay-at-home moms probably think some days don't go quickly enough, I have no doubt that keeping your children occupied all day doesn't leave much time for anything else! But all I know is that a working mom has the crunch coming from all sides--getting their paying job done, housework, time with their kids, time with their spouse, time with friends and family, time alone--and there just aren't enough hours in the day to give everything its just due.
As I said, I'm sure that stay-at-home moms have their own version of this, but at least they can sneak in moments of time with their kids here and there, and even if it's not quality time, at least they're in their presence for most of the day. I don't even see my child for over nine hours per day, which is the vast majority of the time he's awake. It's sad. It is what it is, though, and I knew this would be the case when we decided to have a baby. The reality of it is still pretty crazy, though, and I try not to think about it too much.
I definitely think if I stayed home I'd still have hard time focusing on Jacob. I'd see housework to do (and feel guiltier about not doing it since I'm physically there), have errands to run, and still want to spend time on the computer reading the blogs and articles I do now when I have a free second or while I eat my lunch. And, of course, this blog won't write itself :)
But even with a multitude of distractions, I'd have to assume that I'd inherently get in a little more quality time with Jacob, even in the form of sharing meals (if you can call that "quality" time based on how eating goes some days), putting him down for his nap, or even a little snuggle time once he gets up. Our weekend days are usually busy, and even if I'm not on the floor playing with Jacob a lot, we're still talking and interacting. Which is a heck of a lot more than we do when we're 10 miles apart most days.
Don't get me wrong--I'm actually a little okay with the whole daycare thing. I mean, because he started so early, we haven't had a lot of the separation anxiety issues that kids tend to have if they start daycare or school later in life after a long period of time at home. It's just always how life has been, and he doesn't know any differently. I like that he gets social interaction with other kids, and I like that there are people who have actually studied education (I think) teaching him things. If I had the time I could work on those things more, of course, but exposure to people with experience teaching crazy three year olds can't hurt. Peer pressure does amazing things, too. He might not want to learn it from me purely out of spite (or whatever cranky reason causes him to not listen to anything else I say), so it's good to know he's getting it somewhere else. In theory they'll fill in whatever gaps I miss, and vice versa. I like that he gets that experience, however I wish he only got it three days a week instead of five.
As it is now, our mornings are rushed. I try to let Jacob sleep as late as he can before getting him up--though normally he does wake up on his own--and from that point on I feel like a drill sergeant directing him to the bathroom to pee, brush and wash, and then back to his room to get dressed, all in enough time to still get myself ready and get on the road so we arrive at daycare before the end of breakfast. It's always a challenge, particularly since I rarely get enough sleep and have a hard time getting going myself.
Once we're home in the evenings, we rush through daycare pickup since it's usually time for the teachers to leave, too, and rush home...or to the grocery store or any other quick errand we can fit in without pushing dinner too late. One day a week I go to the gym straight from work and the boys get some quality time together. Many times this summer they went to the baseball field to play, but those days are looking to be over now that colder, wetter weather has set in. Regardless of when I get home, I'm generally rushing to get dinner made. Craig and I eat relatively quickly, but Jacob takes longer, of course. I'm inevitably pushing him along a bit because he gets so distracted, trying to keep myself occupied by washing dishes or cleaning up.
Once he's in bed, I usually multitask--catch up on internet reading, write a blog post, and catch up on some shows on the DVR. Usually that takes far longer than I'd like it to, and before I know it, it's way past my desired bedtime. I get in bed too late, and as already stated, morning comes too quickly.
Even on weekends I find myself cramming things in. As much as I appreciate Jacob's naps, they do tend to get in the way of getting things done. It's a two-plus hour chunk in the middle of the day, and it's especially tricky on Sundays when most things close by 6pm. In addition, we spend a lot of weekends on the road visiting family, so it takes up a lot of time we might otherwise spend doing things around the house, running errands or enjoying other local activities. We wouldn't pass that time up, though, because it is so important. Most of the time, the other stuff can wait.
This weekend we jammed the zoo and a hockey game into Saturday. Then I wanted to try to cram both the visit to the pumpkin place and an open house at the fire station in on Sunday afternoon. That did not happen. I hated to miss out on the fire station thing since it was a one-time thing, but I felt like we needed to get our pumpkin because we're on the road this weekend and I didn't want to wait until a day or two before Halloween. I've needed to go grocery shopping since the weekend, but that hasn't happened yet. I still need to do work on my Halloween costume, but that's not happening yet either.
On a bigger scale, there's also the issue of baby #2. My body is still battling me about getting back on track, and despite starting this process earlier than last time, we're now behind the timeline we were on with Jacob...which means even if things happen ASAP and go perfectly, everything will be considerably later than I wanted it. So much for a late spring baby :( I know I shouldn't be picky, but it's getting harder to be patient.
On a selfish front, I also don't have enough time to explore other hobbies I'd like to look into, like photography. I feel stuck in the kitchen, both because the boys' palettes aren't too fancy and because I just don't have the time or energy to do more. I feel guilty thinking about getting involved in a Bible study at church (and yes, I know that should be higher on the priority list) because it would mean another evening away...and a rushed one at that since it would have to be a quick transition from work to daycare to dinner to church. I keep hoping the day will come that it'll all work out, but when? Add another baby to mix someday and it probably only gets worse. The best version of bad, of course, but the battle against time is so agonizing...if only because, in addition to there not being enough of it, what little there is is passing us by so quickly. Our little boy is getting so big, and I'm just not sure I'm appreciating enough of it.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the answer is, but I guess being conscious of it is a step. Getting off the computer would probably be another, right?