I’ve had a hectic year. I spent most of it playing a work-from-home single mom. And then in the fall, I became an unemployed single mom. And now in December, I’ve rejoined the workforce as a full-time working, quasi single mom. (Trust me, I’m counting down the days until my husband’s travel schedule has nothing on it–for now.)
My first week returning to an office job was a little rough. My life as a solo parent/head of household only worked because it was programmed down to the minute. Consequently, an unexpected 15-minute delay was enough to practically derail my whole day. So, working through the kinks of a new schedule is fairly painful.
For example, I’ve never been what I call a morning “miller.” I never got up and milled around, drinking a cup of coffee, reading the paper, or watching the morning news before I got going with my day. I have always been a get-up-and-get-out-the-door kind of person. Not possible anymore.
I have figured out that I need to build in a 15- to 20-minute buffer of sorts if I want to (a) actually have a few minutes to speak with my child before herding him out the door and (b) have enough time to deal with unforeseen time sucks, such as missing keys, uncooperative dog and/or child, and major messes (like the extra grande, extra full coffee mug that tipped over, spilling sticky, flavored coffee all over my counter, my stove, my floor, and me yesterday morning).
And I’ve definitely had a couple of why-am-I-doing-this-again moments. The big one was the same morning as the coffee incident. That morning I also tore the house apart twice looking for my office security key (to no avail), the dog refused to eat or leave the back deck to do his thing, and I dropped the brand new roll of tin foil, which of course completely unraveled across my kitchen floor. (Have you ever tried to put tin foil back on a roll? Yeah, not going to happen.)
With all the mini crises, I barely took a second to look at my child much less smile at him. I nearly cried when stopped at a traffic light, I looked in the rear view mirror and he was totally silent, with this look of what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-my-mom on his cute little face. The killer was the dog had a similar look on his mug and had laid his head down on the crumb cruncher’s lap, almost in reassurance that my craziness, too, shall pass. I totally felt like the worst mom ever.
But the next day was better, so I was reassured that I would figure out a way to make it all happen because somehow moms always do. And by the end of the week, I felt pretty in control of my new schedule and could let myself feel as excited as I wanted to be about my new job.
By Saturday I felt nearly invincible. I had taken my weekday efficiency measures into the weekend. Baby and I went to the gym; turbo shopped in Target, knocking a ton of stuff off our Christmas to-give lists; dropped the dog off at doggy day care; had brunch with our cousins; went grocery shopping; retrieved dog; and was home a little after 3pm. I was pretty proud of myself.
I let the crumb cruncher loose in the backyard with the dog, thinking how lucky we were to have a fenced in yard, as I put away my groceries. How great was it to have a place for him to play where I could keep an eye on him and yet still take care of everything I needed to take care of? Not to mention that I had just powered my way through a super productive day. It was as if life itself was telling me, “You got this, girl,” when it came to dealing with all the craziness of my life.
As I was putting away some dishes, I thought I heard a cry. So, I took a closer look out the patio doors. There was the dog pretty much dragging my child across the yard by his hood. Face down. Funny how life has a way of reminding you just how human you are.