I hate when people complain about being busy. I hate it even more when being busy is my lame excuse. I realize with four kids and a husband who works pretty much constantly it is understandable but still, I hate the excuse. It’s just my job. The shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, keeping myself in check by going to the gym and have a few moments of social time, keeping the kids on track with school and sports, volunteering as much as possible in an effort to do my part and quell the guilt that comes with not having an income. My job requires lots of time juggling. I know some working moms say, “try to do all that after working 8 hours a day!” I do. All stay-at-home Moms do. We work all day and then all night too, until the kids are safely tucked in bed or (for the older ones) tucked in their rooms with headphones and Facebook.
But still, I’m not that busy. Neither are you. None of us are that busy.
Which is why I have not excuse for totally screwing the pooch in my Mom duties yesterday. Tuesday morning I was supposed to have coffee with my friend Billie. She’s PCS’ing (Permanent Change Of Station, Army for moving) next month so I’m trying to get in some time with her. I’m also trying to see if I can fit inside any of her furniture since they’re going to Italy and I’m jealous. Monday night I canceled. I just had too much to accomplish to take an hour out for coffee. Even with the extra hour I wasn’t sure I was going to get it all done. I had to go to the commissary (these kids insist on eating every single day), then back here to let in the bathroom repair man (we’re remodeling it) at 10, a delivery of new bathroom stuff would be around 12, and I had a parent-teacher conference at 1:30. That’s all on top of the normal laundry, cleaning, and food prep I do every day.
The day was going fine. I managed to be in the check out line at 9:30. Then my phone rang. “Hi this is Jackson’s teacher, are you still coming on the field trip today? I asked Jackson, he seems kind of bummed that you’re not here.”
Frick on a stick.
I was supposed to be there. I had told his teacher I would chaperone but more importantly, I had promised Jackson. The last field trip was months ago and I chaperoned for Reese’s class (the two Kindergarten classes do trips together) and he hadn’t forgotten. It was his turn. I had promised. I told her I would meet them at the museum. I checked out, dashed home, threw full bags of groceries in the refrigerator and freezer, then rushed to the museum.
I’m glad I went. Not that Jackson was happy to see me. I hugged him and said, “I’m sorry I’m late.” He said, “You’re late. It’s all your fault” and ran off with his friends. Secretly though, I know he was glad. Plus I got to hear 6-year-olds talk about dinosaurs. The instructor told them one dinosaur weighed as much as 15 full-grown elephants! One kid raised his hand and asked, “How many baby elephants does it weigh?” Comedy gold.
I kept my phone on vibrate, so I could head home when the delivery guys called. Because that’s what they do, they call a half hour before they come, especially if they are going to arrive early. Let’s say, more than two hours early. Unless you work for a big box store where I like to spend date night. Then you just show up whenever and leave a note on the door. That way when the customer rushes home to make the noon-ish delivery time she completely loses her mind and calls your supervisor. But they fix it and promise to be there soon. By soon, of course, you mean 12 minutes before she has to leave to get to a parent-teacher conference. And, of course, with the wrong merchandise so she has to go from the conference to the store to get it all figured out. It’s no problem, it’s not like I’m spending thousands of my dollars at their store or anything.
But we managed. We only have one working bathroom for six people. There’s a new vanity, sink, and other bathroom fixtures in my living room. The toilet and other bathroom sundries are in my bedroom. My floors are a lovely mix of drywall dust and sticky rock salt (stupid Alaska). And the kids are about to have a four-day weekend. That should make things easier.
But I made it to the field trip. After school Jackson hugged me and said, “thank you for coming to the museum today. I wuv you.”
Totally worth it.