It’s 5:45 AM and my alarm is blaring.
I’m trying to figure out why my phone is making so much noise so early.
Oh, that’s right, I’m supposed to exercise.
Ugh! Why do I do this to myself?
I’ll snooze for exactly 9 minutes before I peel myself away from the warm embrace of my sweet bed. I splash water on my face, grab some water from the fridge, and reluctantly and unenthusiastically hop on my spin bike, joining a virtual spin class with my good friend and accountability partner who I am so grateful for because without her I would get absolutely no workout in at all.
With 7 minutes left in my workout, Leo wakes up and is ready to start his day.
I’ve got about 10 minutes before he starts to protest. Workout is done, but no time to stretch. Off to the kitchen to make Leo’s bottle and take some meat out of the freezer to thaw for tonight’s dinner. I head over to Leo’s room, open his door, and am greeted by squinted eyes and a big smile hidden behind a pacifier. We sit on the rocking chair and “talk” for just a minute about all the good dreams he had before we head out front to start the day.
I love this part of our day!
I take sips of coffee in between my attempts to keep Leo from throwing his bottle on the floor. After he’s finished his bottle (or as much of it as he’s gonna drink anyway), we play in his playpen for a few minutes, read a book, and then he’s off to speed crawl around the house as I chase him during the minutes I have left before logging on for work, sipping my now iced coffee.
Time to log on, so I hand Leo over to my sister or dad until I can come back out to make his breakfast. I take care of a few urgent items for the morning and after about an hour I can step away and make Leo’s breakfast. If I’m not too busy, I’ll bring Leo’s high chair to my desk and feed him, but lately I’ve been asking my dad or sister to jump in.
This makes me feel super guilty by the way. But why?
It makes no sense because if Leo was in daycare and I was working in the office, he’d probably eat breakfast at daycare, so why does this make me feel so guilty? Why do I feel that just because I’m at home, I need to be involved in everything?
After breakfast, Leo goes off to play and I try to stay focused and ignore the background noise. It’s hard to hear his laughter or cries and not be able to immediately engage with him. I know that my dad and sister are taking good care of him, but with every laugh or cry I feel that I need to be there.
The day goes on, lots of meetings to attend and fires to put out; lots of problems that I still can’t figure out. Oh, almost forgot I need to email the HOA to get them to approve our new roof shingle color. Crap, I need to get back to the electrician on how many outlets need to be replaced in our home. Oh, more importantly, I need to call in a refill of my dad’s meds. I dial the pharmacy on my cell - oops, a client calls; have to hang up from the pharmacy.
Guilt. Pressure. I’m failing.
I’ll try this later; back to work.
Time for Leo’s nap. I sing him a special song and enjoy 2 minutes of quality time, just me, Leo, and the best cuddles. I love this moment.
I miss him when he’s asleep, but at the same time, I really hope he sleeps for 2 hours so I can concentrate without all the noise.
Now back to work for an hour and then it’s time for lunch. I’m actually taking a full lunch hour today. I need to quickly season the wings for tonight.
Ok, that’s done.
Now I make myself lunch, make Leo a bottle, and then his lunch. I log back on just for a second to make sure nothing is falling (although I’m trying not to these days because.....boundaries or whatever.)
Ok, logging back off.
I sit down and just as I’m about to take a bite out of my lunch, Leo wakes up. Now I inhale my lunch as I feed Leo. Yes, I probably could have handed him over to my sister while I ate, but why would I?
If I’m not working, I need to be with Leo, right?
Why can’t I take 5 minutes to myself without feeling guilty about it?
Handing Leo back off to “daycare,” I’m off to tackle the second half of this day. I really need to pick up speed because I really want to log off on time today. Finally got a chance to call in the refill for my dad’s medicine. Whew. Pretty sure I’m forgetting something else important, but whatever.
I manage to pull off a miracle and log off on time. Chicken wings go in the oven and I prep the sides and Leo’s meal while keeping his active busy body away from getting anywhere close to the oven. Nolan logs off of work and feeds Leo his last bottle while I finish dinner. Dinner prep is going well, the wings are almost done, and I just need to broil them for a minute.
I end up getting distracted and burn the wings.
I was pretty happy with myself up until this point. I think this was just a visual representation of failure for me after such a crazy day when I was just trying to keep my head above water. I didn’t want to serve my family burnt wings.
No one noticed.
Why was I so stressed and disappointed? I put a healthy and delicious meal on the table for my family, so why was I so hard on myself?
After dinner is bath time for Leo, followed by a story and then bedtime, featuring our special song of course. Once Leo goes to bed, we all clean up the kitchen and call dibs on who gets to shower first. I catch up on all of my messages and emails for the day, look through all the photos that my sister and dad send of Leo, and take care of any house business or bills that can’t wait until the weekend.
Time to shower and maybe scroll through social media for 10 minutes because memes are important.
Do I have time to fit in an episode of my show? Probably not, because it’s late and Leo will be up at 6:30 AM, but I’m gonna watch it anyway.
Oh, does anyone know how we are supposed to fit in quality time as a married couple? Does that exist anymore? Is that what anniversaries are for? What is a date night? Ugh, priorities. I’ll add “deal with this guilt” to my to-do list.
Not every day is as chaotic as this day; some days I have more help than others. Then there are some days when I feel like I just can’t do it and am incredibly hard on myself for my shortcomings, but I’m trying to remind myself to focus on the wins. Today, I worked out, was productive at work, and logged off on time (miracles do happen). Leo was thriving and happy, and we had the privilege of enjoying a meal together as a family. And when days don’t end like this, it’s even more important to find and celebrate your “wins.”
I completely understand that some have it harder. Some wake up at 5 AM or earlier to workout and others can’t do that at all because they really need those extra hours of sleep. Some have to work full time at home without any help or do all that I do in addition to going to the office each day.
We put so much pressure on ourselves as women and as moms. We feel like we have to take on the world and often don’t seek help until we’re burnt out, but I’m learning that it’s okay to accept help. I’ve learned that not everyone is capable of recognizing when I’m burnt out and that I need to be vocal about what I need from them. It’s okay to say I need a break from the baby for a few hours.
Whether your day was level 1 or 100 on the insanity scale, whether you accomplished one thing on your to-do list or nothing at all, please remember to give yourself some grace...or a lot of it and ask for help.
Life is hard.
This year is hard and we are all just trying to do our best and our best is actually enough.