Thursday, September 6, 2007

Best Laid Plans

Today. Today is the kind of day that typifies the life of any stay-at-home mom. For the last 2 days, I had organized myself with meal planning, house cleaning, chores and meetings so that I could spend today writing - something I am trying very hard to carve out time to do. 

I woke up this morning, knowing that by 9:00 am, I could sit down for 4 hours (luxurious to many, especially with young kids, I know), before I had to do some quick chores, prepare dinner and get one of my kids to a doctor's appt and deal with after school activities. At 8:00 am, I get a call from the high school nurse, my 17 year old needs to come home, she is having eye trouble. Our eye doctor, who's office has moved 30 minutes away, can see her - we arrive by 8:45. Home by 10:00. She goes to bed and since I am already out, I decide I will do my errands so that MAYBE I can still carve out some writing time when I return. Just as I enter the grocery store, I get a call from my middle schooler who forgot a notebook (her school is right down the street from the grocery store). I go home, unload groceries, go back to her school to drop off her notebook. When I get home, I decide to prepare some of the dinner ahead of time because again, better now, then I can extend my writing time further into the afternoon. In the middle of the preparations, I receive another call - from our optical shop, my daughter's eyeglasses are ready (which we needed to have rushed because she had lost her other pair and clearly the extended wearing of the contacts contributed to the abrasion of her cornea). So, again I get back in the car to the optical shop (which is located equidistant between the grocery store and the Middle School) before they close for lunch.

It is now 1:00 and I am finally sitting down - I have exactly 60 minutes, before I need to leave again to get my daughter to that doctor's appointment, which originally was the only commitment on my calendar today.

Here is my question: How do families where both parents work do it? and what about single parents? I was available to do all that I did, and yes, my writing will now have to wait until next week (tomorrow is filled with commitments and forget the weekend), and yes, I am frustrated and annoyed - and I better hear a thank-you from both kids - but I didn't lose work hours and I wasn't docked any pay. I know if I was at a job, my daughter probably wouldn't have gotten her notebook and she would have lived with the consequences and wouldn't forget it a again - or would she? Would my daughter have not gotten to the eye doctor today? And how would have I felt if I just couldn't have helped her? Relieved that I didn't have to be hassled? Guilty because I couldn't do that one single thing? And am I doing my kids any justice by being available all the time? Enabling them to forget notebooks or even having their needs taken care of immediately and so easily? I guess my point is that as parents we all face the same dilemmas and it's our circumstances that dictate how we deal with them.

I have always believed that we make our choices, or sometimes life's circumstances make our choices for us, and we do the best we can do. After all we are only human, and if we are lucky, we get to be parents, and in that journey we have no way of predicting where each day will take us. As mothers, we are no better off if we stay home or if we work - we are only winners if we are happy with our choices, even if somedays, we may wish we had taken a different path.

No comments: