This getting back to normal business can be frustrating. Obviously it’s difficult waking up and not having a toddler waltz into your room to escort you to breakfast; or should I say the feast of fresh fruits and juices and any other breakfast food imaginable no longer awaits you on a breezy terrace with the ocean looking on. No, it’s back to making my own coffee and cutting up my own banana in yogurt looking at the mountains, all the while waiting for a single crocus to bloom…really, shouldn’t that have happened already?
So I did what any red-blooded American woman would do after finally getting over my flu-like illness. I went to the gym – I figured if I kept waiting for spring it would never come. Like the proverbial boiling pot. And on my way home just now, I listened to an author on NPR about feeling time crunched because she was a working mom. Way to put my problems into perspective! My daughter was returning to her everyday life which included the usual; grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry and also a sick toddler and a job that was anything but 9 to 5. It was more like 11pm to 7am, then she’d get some sleep and wake up to write her charts while the Love Bug napped.
I thought she must be feeling overwhelmed about now. So I made a mental note to tell her about this book since its author was heartbreakingly good on the radio. Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post columnist, wrote Overwhelmed; Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time. She talked about her generation and how they didn’t want to have a traditional marriage, the kind their parents had where the woman was in charge of the home, even if she had a full or part-time job. She wanted a more equitable distribution of work – like one always loads the dishwasher at night and one will always empty in the morning.
Last one out of bed makes the bed, and even if he forgets to put the pillows back on the bed you don’t do it…you leave them on the floor. I don’t think men understand just how hard that is for us, not picking up pillows.
Eventually Schulte and her husband did get to that place of marital housework justice, but it was a shock to see how far they had slipped into a more traditional model. She had to rewrite her to-do list, which is surprisingly the cover art of her book. Because after writing down every single thing she was trying to cram into her days, she realized that if she didn’t plan for her own recreational time, it would not happen.
I was just with my father who’s had a stroke, and sitting in a hospital room really makes you remember: … We don’t have that much time; what do you want to make of your life here on this Earth? And so, my to-do list is really: What are my priorities? What is most important to me? And then everything else, everything my to-do list used to be, I call the other 5 percent — it shouldn’t take more than 5 percent of my time or energy. There’s a lot of stuff that I used to do that I don’t do anymore. http://www.npr.org/2014/03/11/288596888/not-enough-hours-in-the-day-we-all-feel-a-little-overwhelmed
In many ways the Bride is lucky. Her Groom does his fair share around the house and truly shares child care when he is at home. Maybe my SIL could use this book? In Mexico she said she never gets any down time. To which I foolishly replied, but doesn’t your daughter go to school every day? Because she said, “Yes, but I go to work.”
If I were a list maker, this would be my list for today: 1) make bed, 2) pick up tickets for Book Festival, 3) search for a purple crocus. And I only make the bed because Nell said even if that’s all you do in a day, at least you did something!