This week the Daily Fave is hosting a special guest blogger: Jenny Feldon, winner of the "Meaning of Motherhood" essay contest. Read Jenny's winning essay, and stay tuned all week to find out how Jenny faces the crazy and wonderful world of Motherhood.
Today, read on to see what a typical day in Jenny's life is like…
"You didn't drop off the dry cleaning."
We've finished dinner. Jay is washing dishes. I'm plastered to a kitchen chair, trying to muster energy to move toward the couch. A glance into the hall proves he's right. The plastic bag he left there this morning is still sitting on the floor next to a rogue sippy cup, last week's mail, and one of my gold flats.
I could take the high road and apologize. I choose the low road and get defensive. "You have no idea what my day was like. There just aren't enough hours to get everything done."
Jay turns from the sink, drying a mug. "So what did you do today?"
I'm Jenny. I'm a sometimes writer and an all-the-time mom. I live in Los Angeles with my husband, my 20-month-old daughter, and my long-suffering dog. Being an at-home mom is a choice and a privilege. But unlike other full-time jobs, my time is not measured in project deadlines or sales per quarter. There's no curriculum to follow, no mid-year review. It's just me, trying to create order in the chaos of family life.
I have this vision of the perfect day. Scheduled, organized, productive. The house is vacuumed, the laundry is done. Eva does something educational, something fun, plays outside, eats three balanced meals. And I exercise, write, floss, drink 8-10 glasses of water and have a gourmet dinner waiting for Jay when he gets home from work.
What did I do today? Let's take a look.
Eva wakes up at 7:00 yelling "Mommy hold you!" and rattling the bars of her crib. Change Eva's diaper, pretend to change Elmo's diaper, pretend to change Elmo's diaper again, refuse to change Elmo a third time. Pour milk into a sippy cup, run out because I forgot to go to the store yesterday. Supplement with the skim milk I use in my coffee. Cross fingers and pray Eva won't notice. Sit down and snuggle her while she drinks. Elapsed time: 23 minutes.
Read Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Read it again. Negotiate with Eva for a different book. Lose. Read it again. Elapsed time: 37 minutes. Total repetitions: 19.
Breakfast. Feed Eva cereal with a spoon because she will no longer eat it with her fingers. Shove a few handfuls of Kix in my own mouth. Pour coffee. Play blocks. Microwave cold, untouched coffee. Sing Wheels on the Bus. Sing it again. Re-microwave coffee. Change Eva's diaper. Get her dressed. Re-microwave coffee. Wonder if there is a limit on the number of times coffee can be reheated before it becomes toxic waste. Elapsed time: 72 minutes.
Attempt to leave house. Eva wants to wear boots. One of them is missing. Look in her closet. Look under her crib. Look under the dog's bed. Try to convince Eva to wear different shoes. Ponder whether the fight is worth fighting while she wails "Finding BOOT! Finding BOOT!" Give in when the tears start. Keep looking. Boot finally located in recycle bin. Elapsed time: 22 minutes.
Start driving. Realize we left without Eva's pacifier. Contemplate driving 20 minutes listening to her scream. Shudder in horror. Turn around. Park car. Go back inside. Retrieve the only pacifier in sight from underneath couch. Blow on it to remove germs. Elapsed time: 11 minutes.
Late for playdate. Late for story time. Late getting home for lunch. Eva is overtired and refuses to eat. She refuses to take her nap. Fight nap battle. Lose. Elapsed time: 189 minutes.
Drag un-napped child outside to walk dog. Halfway around the block, pick Eva up because she's refusing to walk on her own. Wonder if my back will give out before she turns 2. Cut walk short. Feel guilty for shortchanging dog. Elapsed time: 26 minutes.
Groceries. Forget half the items on my list because I left it on the kitchen counter. Allow Eva to eat an unwashed apple. Look the other way when she spits the skin out on the floor. Elapsed time, including loading car, returning cart, removing Eva kicking and screaming from cart, unloading car, making 17 trips from car to house: 98 minutes.
Try to start dinner. Play blocks instead. Sing Wheels on the Bus. Try to start dinner again. Find shoes for Elmo to wear. Put them on. Take them off. Give up on dinner. Play horsey. Have a dance party in the living room to the Black Eyed Peas. Wonder if we should order takeout. Elapsed time: 104 minutes.
Realize it's almost 6pm. Shove Eva into her high chair, let her eat snap pea crisps while microwaving some stuff from the freezer. Wonder if snap pea crisps count as a vegetable. Wonder if feeding my daughter chicken fingers three nights a week makes me a bad mom. Elapsed time: I've given up counting.
Bath. Bedtime. Read stories. Sing songs. Let Eva fall asleep in my arms even though every parenting book I've ever read says not to. Sneak out of the room. Too late to order takeout. Microwave some more stuff from the freezer for Jay and I. Collapse into kitchen chair. Contemplate never moving from chair, ever again.
That's what I did today. Clearly there's a time management issue. I still believe in that ideal day, that perfect balance. I'll get there someday. In the meantime, good enough will have to be just that. There's always tomorrow. If someone could just remind me to drop off the dry cleaning.
Jenny Feldon is a writer and a full time mom. She drinks too much coffee and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her not-quite-two-year-old daughter, and their small white dog.