I am a Tornado of Efficiency…But Not Today

Most days, I am a tornado of efficiency.

By 8am, I’ve typically fed five people, done the dishes, made all the beds, and am ready for my next task – getting three girls ready to get out the door. We brush teeth, do hair, pick clothes (thankfully they will wear anything I bring down), make lunches, and pile into the car.

By 12pm, I’ve already worked out, straightened the rest of the house, paid whatever bills I have sitting around, and have picked the girls up from school.

By 1:30pm, I have three sleeping children for approximately 2 solid hours. In that time, I clean up the lunch mess, (finally) take a shower, catch up on emails, possibly write a blog post (or at least think about it), and by the time I’ve finished those tasks, Caroline is awake. Quickly following that, everyone is awake and we’re onto our next activity. Most of the time, that includes a quick outing (if necessary), time in the playroom, (maybe) a bath (if it’s a REALLY good day), and dinner prep.

Also mixed into all this is the hard part :: the PARENTING. The lessons, the reminders, the breaking up of sisterly quarrels, the frustration (why can’t they ever just LISTEN to me!?), the beating myself up because I’m either being too hard on them or too easy on them, the questioning (is this how I’m supposed to handle this?), the desperation (PLEASE tell me Travis can actually get home at a decent time tonight…), the diaper changes and butt wiping (aka – the glamorous part of parenting), the potty training, the “don’t put that in your mouth!” shouting,  and the list goes on.  For all the people who wonder what stay at home mom’s or dad’s do all day, those are just a few examples (and I really mean just a FEW).

But I digress.

By 6:30pm, Travis is typically home, Caroline is typically asleep (thank goodness for early bedtimes), the girls are typically already fed, and I’m ready to curl up in a ball and cry call it a day. Thankfully, Travis tackles bedtime with the girls around 7:30pm while I clean the dishes from dinner, straighten the playroom (again), and attempt to listen to Access Hollywood with 1/2 an ear. I’d love to say I’m reading a book at this point, but let’s be honest – my brain is mush, so gossip TV is the only way for me to “wind down.” Well, gossip TV and a glass of wine.

By 8:15pm, all the girls are typically asleep (though not lately since we’ve had teething, sickness, and pure insanity going on simultaneously). Travis and I finally get to say “hi” to each other, catch up on the day, watch the evening news, and fall asleep (after we’ve binge watched some new show for far too long).

That’s my typical day. It’s efficient. I have a routine for almost everything and a plan for literally everything. Most days, it’s very handy. Other days, it’s crippling.

On the days I don’t have plans, like when the girls don’t have school (Tuesdays and Thursdays), I still feel like I MUST be doing something. We either go the YMCA, or plan a play date, or head to a park. The girls rarely watch more than two cartoons per day. I rarely sit down when I have the chance to just relax (aka – when all three girls are sleeping). I almost NEVER rest. There’s always something to do. Or at least it feels like I should always be doing something.

Why is this!? Why can’t I just relax!?

Today I’m breaking my own rules. The girls watched FOUR cartoons this morning (holy cow!). I’m still (yes, it’s almost 2pm) in my pajamas.  I haven’t cleaned up the dishes from lunch yet. The playroom is messy. I haven’t brushed the girl’s hair (and the only reason their teeth are brushed right now is because Mac brought their toothbrushes and toothpaste down – somehow I lucked out with one kid who LOVES a clean mouth). Heck, they’re still in their pajamas.  We’re still loosely following our routine (for example, the girls are all taking a nap right now on their normal schedule), because if they didn’t nap I’m convinced all hell would break loose by 4pm.  Hey, and if I were really breaking the mold I would be napping instead of writing this post.

The crazy thing is that even though I haven’t felt a moment of panic about being late for something or having to GO somewhere (which is a nice change), I feel this overwhelming sense of GUILT.

I’m not being a tornado of efficiency.

Instead, I feel like I’m being a  blob of laziness.

I have to ask again – why is this?!

Why can’t I just have one day of letting my kids veg in front of the TV for too long, or one day where I don’t plan a dinner so we’re forced to order in (God forbid), or one day where I don’t workout, or one day where the playroom is left untouched by me…WITHOUT feeling this guilt?

I know I can’t be the only person who feels this way, so why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  Why isn’t just being here and playing with my kids (instead of cleaning up after them constantly) ever enough?  Why isn’t the act of parenting (aka – the “hard part” of my job) enough?

Parenting is hard. Having patience takes practice. Talking to little people who you think should understand you better is frustrating. The emotional energy required in my days can be overwhelming. And yet I continue to expect myself to be efficient every minute of every day.

It’s like I don’t think my job is hard enough as it is (which is clearly is when I think about it rationally).  I don’t think there are too many times in Travis’ day when he is having an argument over why we HAVE to wash our hands or why hitting our baby sister with a Lego is a bad idea.  It’s actually funny how much energy those simple lessons require.

I think I deserve to be a blob of laziness from time to time. I think I just need to learn how to convince myself it’s actually a good idea. That it’s not something I should feel guilty about. That it would actually, more than likely, make me BETTER at my job, not worse.

Until that day arrives, I’m going to sign off, clean up this messy kitchen that’s driving me nuts, and start planning dinner…

If you have any pointers on how to relax, I’m all ears.

Ali 🙂

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