Generally I'd roll in around 4:00 to find Team Testosterone slouched in front of the TV, dulling their minds with Sponge Bob and carbo-loading on whatever they could grab out of the pantry. Backpacks, jackets, shoes would lead me to their spots--a trail of debris from door to couch. I'd start second shift by barking orders to empty backpacks, put their crap away, ask what anyone wanted for supper and turn off that damn TV! Inevitably there would be homework, followed by someone needing to be at a game or practice by 5:00. People would need food, gear, various forms signed and I'd have to sort through the mail and check emails for any last-minute schedule changes. Then I'd change into appropriate bleacher attire and load the Momvan after reminding somebody to feed the dog.
We'd return home around 7:00 or 8:00 depending on how many games or practices in a night. Second snack and family bonding before hustling people to bed by 9:00. Then I'd run a load of wash (school clothes, uniforms, practice clothes--good grief!), assess the pantry, read emails, start the dishwasher and manage any miscellaneous chores like plunging a toilet or finding out I'd missed somebody's birthday and writing a quick card. Shortly before 10:00 I'd flop into bed and read for a half hour before falling asleep.
I'd be up by 6 to shower, unload the dishwasher, check email, switch around laundry, get dressed and pack lunches. I'd rouse Team Testosterone by 7, have us en route to school by 7:30.
Notice, this schedule did not accommodate working out or gardening or blogging or decorating or shopping or marketing my books (please review it, people! I need reviews! Here or here or here!) anything other than the bare essentials of getting by. Mr. D works a 50 hour week and coaches, which presents logistical challenges under normal circumstances. Me working made life abnormal.
You're probably asking, how did you cope?
* Wash and wear hair. I was already low maintenance, but this is vital. I don't have more than a half hour to get ready, so a 15 minute make up regimen isn't going to cut the mustard. I'd shower, shake dry, moisturize, get dressed, daub on mascara, brush teeth and GO. The biggest obstacle here was not really having a proper work wardrobe, and since Wisconsin hung out between seasons for the entire spring, I couldn't really fix that issue. I tried shopping once and found racks of summer clothes even though the temperatures were lingering in the 40's. I could only wear the same skirt/sweater/pants/top combo in rotation for three months.
* Delegation. I have three kids, so when I'd walk in at 4:00, I'd assign three chores. "Pick a chore! Unload dishwasher, collect laundry, feed dog!" Team Testosterone also discovered they could load the dishwasher, take out garbage, hang laundry on clotheslines, feed themselves and vacuum floors. This was a good thing, my children are entitled monsters, so having to pitch in made us all appreciate the family unit a bit more. Also, men are not mind-readers, nor are they particularly observant. If I want something picked up or cleaned up or tended to, I have to TELL THEM EXACTLY. They don't take a hint, but they respond well to direct commands, like "YOU NEED TO PAUSE YOUR GAME AND PUSH THE DUMPSTER TO THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY."
* No social life. Seriously. I hardly wrote or read blogs. I worked through my lunch hour at school instead of making new friends in the teachers' lounge. I barely emailed, talked on the phone, or hung out with anybody. I didn't volunteer beyond the essential shifts at ball tournaments. It's helpful that I've become more introverted with time and need to be alone. Working with people all day really drained me, so I didn't miss stuff like Thursday morning Bible study. I had yoga on Saturday mornings and monthly book club. It was enough.
|Example of letting go: Normally we'd have taken this End of Awana photo at church before going out for ice cream. Instead we got a photo at home on our couch with fudge bars from the kitchen freezer.|
To the legions of moms with jobs out there, I salute you. Working both shifts is a logistical nightmare. If I don't take on another job next fall, I promise to keep filling those volunteer spots and offering to drive car pool and keep your kids with me for a couple extra hours so you can catch a little break. I promise to grocery shop and run all essential and nonessential errands between the hours of 9 and 2:30. I promise to offer to buy joint birthday gifts when our kids get invited to party and you can pay me back whenever. It's the least I can do if I'm only working a single shift.
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