I know I have written about this before but it never gets old…getting out of the house with two kids; an infant and a toddler is a pretty gargantuan task. I know it’ll get easier once Baby E gets older or maybe it gets worse as each child decides to exert independence at the most inopportune time or go on a clothing strike or run around refusing to change a diaper (all of which does happen now but because I only have one toddler to deal with, it is still manageable) or figures yet another novel way to break down my will.
Things that add to my anxiety:
#1 Everything opens at 10:00 a.m.
First of all, why does everything open at 10:00 a.m.? The Zoo, frikin’ Costco, and even the Museum!! That is WAY too late for us because we have to get home by 12:00 noon or 12:30 p.m. latest and the latter is only okay if we are also eating lunch outside. Baby E always gets tired within 1.5 hours of waking up. I usually stretch it out a bit so that I can put her down for her first nap around 9:00 a.m. Then, we wait, wait for her to wake up. If I absolutely have to go somewhere, I wake her up around 10:00 or 10:30 a.m. depending on where I need to go but most times, I just let her sleep until 11:00 – 11:30 a.m. if she hasn’t woken up on her own by then.
It would help if things opened early so we could leave early and get home by 11:00 a.m. so I am not always stressed out about lunch and post-lunch activities.
#2 The stress of trying to get things done in a short span of time
Because of the condition above – the 10:00 – Noon condition – I need to get a lot done in a short span.
I wanted to take TJ to the Children’s Discovery Museum (CDM) today just because. Thankfully, Baby E decided to wake up at 9:55 a.m. That still meant that I had to feed her and change her diaper. I also had to get TJ a clean diaper, change his clothes (because we frolicked around in the garden in the morning while E was sleeping and I let him be a child and play with a little water left at the bottom of my bucket and because I also splashed water over him and got him wet), put on his socks, and pack him some snacks and water.
On a whim, I ambitiously decided that in the odd chance that it got late, I might as well pack some lunch so we can picnic in the Museum’s lawns. So I also packed us lunch – Buta Kimchee Don for me and Teriyaki Chicken and Rice for TJ, some Angie’s popcorn, a few strawberries and some grapes.
#3 My need to be punctual
By the time I got all this organized and we exited our parking, it was 10:37 a.m. Remember we have to be back at least by 12:30 p.m. My adrenaline is always on the rush, rush, rush when there is the self-hung sword of time hanging over my neck. I hate being late. I pride myself on my punctuality and I despise the fact that since having children, I have had to bend this principle on many, many occasions. I have driven Aaron crazy whenever we have had to get somewhere at a certain time. He knows all too well my obsession with punctuality. Alas! I fail at it miserably these days.
We didn’t have a designated time to get to the Museum and yet I felt like I was rushing the kids. Once inside the car though and well on our way, I took a deep breath, asked the kids cheerfully if they were ready to go to the Museum. TJ replied affirmatively and the baby was nonchalant.
I prefer parking on the street because it is cheaper. I found a great spot and with my self-proclaimed enviable parallel parking skills, we were on our way to the Museum within minutes of parking and paying. I was still under a rush-like feeling mainly because it was already nearly 11:00 a.m. by the time we parked and got ready to leave the parking spot which meant we barely had an hour to enjoy at the Museum. The story of my life is to feel rushed and in turn to rush those around me who prefer to enjoy a natural pace of life.
Thankfully, this realization dawned on me soon enough and I just hit a mental pause on my inner time-driven anxiety.
Rationalizing the (Un)Reasonable
My anxiousness is not without justification though – if we are late getting home, everything else gets delayed as a consequence of that. I will be late getting lunch ready for TJ and me. I will get late putting Baby E down for a nap. I will be late getting TJ’s post-lunch milk and late putting him down for a nap. All the lateness means he’ll end up watching way too many videos and for far too long than my comfortable guilt-free space.
The upset schedule could end up making one or both kids cranky which means one or both will have disturbed or no sleep that afternoon which means the one or two hours of silence and quiet that I get to enjoy is snatched out of my day, just like that.
Perhaps that’s the really big concern here – my loss of precious quiet time. This is not a want, I need that time to recharge myself writing or reading or catching a quick cat nap or putting away laundry or planning dinner or tweeting or whatever, it’s nobody’s business – so I can give the kids more of me when they wake up. Otherwise, a sleep deprived, no “me” time mommy is a big grump and that’s not good for anybody, least of all for Aaron once he returns home. So for everyone’s sanity and for the sake of happiness in my life and marriage, I need the 1 or 2 hours of quiet time. It’s a practical need.
Anyway, once I hit the mental pause button, I immediately noticed a dandelion on the grass by the sidewalk where I parked….continued in Part II