24 hours, Part 1: dog walks, work, and splatitude
March 30, 2016
I’d been wondering something in my quiet moments. Why I haven’t started that business yet, or finished a creative project? Surely I’ve not gotten lazy and complacent?
It’s possible but it doesn’t seem likely.
Despite knowing that I’m awfully tired from constantly being on the go, oh and also you know, health, it’s hard to fight the sneaking suspicion that my lack of greater achievement’s down to a personal failing.
To get to the truth, I decided to Time Study myself. What do I do all day? Where can I make improvements?
Between two full jobs, a full toddler, Seamus, and the odd hobby or two, there is no such thing as a typical day.
Our days fit in three categories: both of us are home and I have work, I’m home with LB and have work, I have work and no LB.
So let’s dive right in!
A day where I work without the baby around
PiC gets to sleep in until 6:20 am, could lay abed even later if he wanted because LB doesn’t stir until 6:30 but he likes to get started ahead of hir.
It’s 7:47 before I hear it. The door creaks open and a cackle floats in. It’s time for my morning kiss and goodbye, it’s a Daddy and LB day, which also means it’s a Mom and Seamus day.
I sit up. “Can I have a kiss?” Obligingly LB leans in and suckerfishes to my cheek. Little lick, little nibble. Baby kiss!
“Can I have one more?”
Ze convulses in a silent laugh, then twists upside down and sideways out of PiC’s arms to dangle over me, expectant.
I catch hir blithely trusting form and ze grins. One last kiss for the family and they’re off. Seamus and I look at each other, and flop back in bed for another ten minutes of cozy peace.
Sooner than I’d like, I crawl out of bed. It’s time for Seamus’s morning routine.
Checking email on my phone for emergencies, I brush my teeth and get dressed. The favorite part of my telecommuting schedule is usually living in my pajamas but somehow getting dressed in the morning feels more efficient than waiting til we have to go outside later.
Within 15 minutes of waking, Seamus has his medication and we’re headed outside. This used to be a quick dash to take care of business while I distractedly checked email on my phone. Thanks to a reminder of OHIO, I’ve adopted a firm stance about time wasted on rereading emails, so this is now our time to contemplate and appreciate nature in companionable silence. We move slowly at first in the morning chill, watching the last bits of fog lace through the tree branches, letting our old joints warm up.
By the time we find our stride, it’s time to mosey on back. Our morning jaunts take 25 minutes, and then Seamus prances at the door, anticipating breakfast. I get him started, start a load of whites in the wash, get a glass of water, find my glasses, and settle in to work.
Thirty seven emails and 4 hours later, it’s time to hydrate and grab a mini chocolate bar from the fridge. As an afterthought, and a placatory gesture to the adult somewhere in me, I also take the yogurt cup with me. Funny how when you set the yogurt and candy on the desk together, I end up eating the yogurt first. Don’t get me wrong, the candy disappears an hour later, too.
Think about eating a real meal. Keep working.
Early afternoon brings a quick flurry of activity: put clothes in the dryer, wash the dishes, prep the veggies for tonight’s dinner, open, recycle, and shred mail. Put together the week’s to do packet for bills. Then, back at the computer for three more hours.
Seamus dines early these days, but he always starts the dinner dance 30 minutes before just in case I can be wheedled. Most of the afternoon is dog-naps, but his internal clock is something to behold as his perked ears bob up behind my computer screen five minutes before I intend to take a break. Dinner for him is the work of a few minutes, then I’m back into the computer glare for another hour.
By 5 pm, a break would be welcome, as would be dinner, so I head into the kitchen to throw something together. Starch, veggie, protein!
Put the pot pie in the oven and sit back down to quickly draft about two-thirds of a blog post from that scrap of an idea that bubbled up with the pot pie fixings. 30 minutes later, the oven is cozy just in time for LB and PiC to get home, exclaiming about the buttery pastry scents wafting out the door.
LB hands me the contents of the daycare bag, one by one, and I quickly wash up hir bottles and lunch boxes.
LB’s still unbelievably upbeat after a long day with hardly a nap, so ze cackles hir way through deconstructed pot pie, and then experiments with gravity. Hey look! The chicken will SPLAT just like the carrot did, and so does the green bean! That’s hilarious! *cackles*
We know it’s a necessary phase but child, stop that!
We bundle The Messy One off to hit the showers once the play time turns to boredom and most of the food now gets rubbed in hir hair. A bottle of milk warms during shower time, and the non-bathing parent clears up the dinner mess.
By 8:20, ze’s creaking and chirping from bed, falling asleep, and I get a shower! I wryly think back to the early days of newborn life when a shower was a complete luxury and give myself a full 10 minutes before it’s back to work while PiC does post-dinner washing up.
My concentration starts to waver around 10:30 and I realize that the last ten minutes were lost to mindless oblivion. It’s time to call it, so I check everything one last time to make sure I hit my deadlines and head to the kitchen.
Usually packing LB’s lunch is still amusing: ze eats everything so I just compose a sort of balanced collection of snacks in bite sizes and that’s set. (Yes, I’m easily amused.) I’m the most underachieving bento box packing mom ever and I’m only that because it totally entertains me. If I could justify it, ze would be carrying hir own R2-D2 to daycare. Heck, if I had to pack a lunch that sucker would be MINE. PiC is in charge of the bottles and labeling everything according to daycare procedure.
Oh and Seamus needs his meds so I check on the supply and make a mental note. Second half of the month is always time to figure out if we need more medications or pill pockets, or basically anything on Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. I’m aiming for that 15% off, if we get a delivery.
The kitchen’s cleared up, lunch is packed, and we’ve made it through another day. I deserve bed and a book. If only sleep came to adults as easily as it does to the dog whose been snoring for the past 2 hours! These hours of the night are the most wasteful part of my 24 hours: I have to read to relax enough to sleep. There are days, though, sleep eludes me til past 2 am.
Yesterday, I worked til 2 am so at least trying to sleep is an improvement for this hour of the night.
What did I learn?
As much as I love seeeing LB’s face all day, when it comes to working, daycare is a blessing. I get so much done when it’s just me. I have so energy left at the end of the day to snuggle hir and do bedtime routines. If only daycare wasn’t a petri dish but that immune system needs to be built sometime and early is better than later.
Daycare has made a huge difference in our ability to get things done and not be exhausted every second of every day. It’s been absolutely critical in letting us both have our alone time professionally, and therefore have the energy to give each other personal time.
I’m not a morning person but sometimes my pain drives an extra early morning whether I intended to or not. This means that it’s not always a good idea to insist on getting everything done the night before. For the first time, I’m becoming relaxed about doing as much as I can, when I can, and trusting that the rest will get done in its own time.
:: What morning routines work best for you? Are you decidedly at your best at any particular time of day or day of week?