There are things about adulthood and parenthood that you just can’t know–absolutely cannot conceive of–before you experience them. Someone could try to tell you, beforehand, and it wouldn’t matter. You wouldn’t hear it, or you’d just laugh yourself silly, or you’d ask the person telling you what they’ve been smoking and could you please maybe have some.
I thought I understood this stuff and there weren’t many surprises left in store for me. I have experienced cupping my hands to catch vomit (save the carpet!). I have watched my toddler tumble down the stairs in slow motion because there was a baby in my arms and lunging to a daring rescue was impossible. I have learned that you really can make dinner with a temperature of 103 if you have to. I have come to cherish the sweet peace of uninterrupted sleep (when I get it). Stuff like that.
What I seem to keep learning and relearning about is how there are just never enough hours in the day.
I mean… okay, yes; everyone wishes they had more time. Right? Sure. But come ON. “I wish I had more time to spend with my kids.” How many parents do you know who say that? Most of them. Sure. Par for the course.
Picking between washing dishes and sleeping? Actually calculating how many pairs of clean underwear everyone has left and whether that will be enough to make it to the weekend? Trying to decide if I should eat dinner or do any one of the dozen other chores I’ve been putting off for days? (Okay, that last one is a lie. The choice is between eating and sleeping. Food will always trump chores, and can only be ousted occasionally by sleep.)
These are not decisions I thought I’d find myself making.
Some of these items hinge solely on my own sloth tendencies, to be sure. But now that I’ve returned to work a realization has smacked me upside the head: not only are there not enough hours in the day, too many things in the world cannot be adequately accomplished from inside one’s house, late at night, while the children sleep. Or on every-other-weekend. Oh, the humanity.
The other night, I was happily making my soup, and discovered I was out of celery. No celery + kids in bed = no (finished) soup. And to work a special trip to the store into the schedule, the next day, for that stupid celery? Agony. Threw off the entire night.
Birthday party invitations: ready to go! Except, not! Because I have no stamps. I must get stamps. I am swamped at work. I am at work every single hour the post office is open. I must. leave. work. for. stamps. I’m sorry; what’s the year, again? Pffft. “I’m sorry, honey, we can’t actually have your party, because even though it’s 2005 there’s no reasonable way for a single working mother of two to purchase postage. I hope you understand.”
It’s been months since I had my hair done. Understand, I’ve already suffered considerable Hair Trauma in the last few years. My original, trusted stylist had the nerve to decide to stay home with her baby, a couple of years ago. After having a brief breakdown, I took a deep breath and switched to another stylist at the same salon, on the original stylist’s recommendation. It was a little rocky, at first, but we’ve forged that special bond that can exist only between a woman and the person who takes all her money and makes her look pretty. So I called up to make a Saturday appointment on a weekend when I don’t have the kids.
Only… my stylist doesn’t work on weekends. That bitch.
I should’ve known this, I suppose. Only, I’ve never been to her on a weekend (obviously) because I’ve either A) had someone who could stay home with the kids while I went in the evening or B) been unemployed and could go while the kids were in school. And even I am not self-absorbed enough to miss work to get my hair straightened.
So, I was on the phone with the receptionist for about an hour and eventually, after sacrificing several small animals and a young virgin, got myself a doable appointment. Then I had to go call my ex and ask him to keep the kids a bit later on dinner night, that week.
And then I decided the whole thing was just too stupid and I shaved my head. Well, no. I didn’t. I’m still considering it, though.
Anyway, after that, I was pretty tired. So I finished working and left the office and spent the time while my kids were at dinner with their dad meeting with my confirmand and zipping through the mentoring guide to cram as much really important confirmation STUFF as possible into the allotted time and then I spent an hour an a half with my own kids (whom I hadn’t seen all day) and got them to bed and did dishes and considered folding laundry and sorted through mail and and and and there was some more stuff but then I had an aneurysm and died.
So, um, if anyone wants to have their hair done at my salon in a few weeks, they have an opening.