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Running Against Time

I've talked a lot about how hard it is being a WOHM -- a new acronym I just became aware of, by the way, it means Work Out of Home Mom, or something. You gotta love those labels we give each other. The hardest part about being a "WOHM" is that I don't get to spend as much time as I'd like with Preston, obv. But if we're being honest, it's about more than that -- there are some weekends when I feel like I'm just hustling from breakfast to birthday parties, running errands to running to the suburbs to see my family, appointments, dinners, more errands, obligations, obligations, obligations...leaving little to no time in between for any downtime. Not having this time for myself is another very challenging aspect to this whole juggle. And, as is the case with so many other things in my life, I'm feeling a twinge of guilt about even feeling like that.

Mom guilt rears its ugly head in so many different ways, doesn't it?

It's not like all these "obligations" are bad things -- a lot of them are fun obligations, like seeing my family and friends. I love spending time with them on weekends. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with how little time I have in my schedule for anything other than work and mommyhood. The feeling of always being rushed, trying to squeeze in all the things I don’t get to do during the week because I’m at work for 10 hours. The feeling of trying to jam in obligations between Preston’s naps, and retrofitting the errands and appointments, running against time.

I've always been someone who relishes downtime; there aren't many things I want in life more than just an obligation-free Sunday at home, which means taking Preston on impromptu walks around the neighborhood and to the park; grabbing lunch with my husband whenever we feel like it; lying around the house reading a magazine, or doing nothing in particular. It sounds so boring when I spell it out like that, but because I'm not home a lot and rarely get the opportunity to do "nothing," I see it as a special activity. In my former life, I was all about doing “nothing.”

The little downtime I do get during the week doesn't start till after Preston goes to sleep -- remember my parenting routine? -- which is about 9 p.m. As much as I love playing with him when I get home, I am utterly exhausted at the end of a long day and, frankly, 9 p.m. can't come soon enough for me on some nights (hello, mom guilt!).

Every night it's the same thing: The minute I put Preston down, I plan to go over the professional photos we had taken of him almost SIX months ago, and finalize my order. But then my exhaustion kicks in -- I lie in our bed with the computer on my lap, and I stare at it, mindlessly, with grand plans of picking out photos, emailing back friends, or just catching up on news and blogs, but I am too tired to make any thoughtful decisions. About anything. I hardly ever talk on the phone anymore. Forget emailing, except at work. Reading a book? Not likely. Lately I’ve been trying to muster the energy to work out, my husband and I have just started taking pilates together once a week. There goes the tiny bit of energy I had left. I've also been meaning to clean out my closet to donate old clothes and shoes, but guess why I haven't done it yet?

Although my line of work doesn’t require that I’m on my feet all day (I’m in front of a computer), and it’s certainly not as physically challenging as chasing a kid or kids around, it’s still very draining on my brain and by the time I’ve put Preston to bed, I’m pretty useless. I’ve even been too tired lately to catch up on all my DVR’d shows. I fell asleep during Entourage last night! See what I mean?

Weekends have become much more of a balancing act than they ever were before. I try to run personal errands during my lunch hour during the week, to lighten the load on weekends, but I can count on one finger the amount of times I am actually able to take a lunch break during the week. I haven’t gotten my hair cut in at least six months. Seriously.

How do all you WOHMs find time for yourselves? That can mean anything from reading a book, to shopping, to napping, or doing nothing at all. It’s that intangible “time” that I’m missing in my life. There aren’t enough hours in the day when you’re a mom, and I don’t want to spend my entire life being exhausted like this. Every time I tell my husband how tired I am, which is every day it seems, he laughs at me. As if it’s funny that I’m 36 going on 66.