A Mother’s Day In The Life

(This was written in June of 2008, when I had been a mother for less than a month. My son was in the NICU, and both my husband and I were working full time. As I have been reminiscing about my son’s birth, health care, and health insurance, I ran across this journal-of-a-typical day. As today is Mothers’ Day, a day that I do not care for, I thought I’d dedicate this next week to continuing the story of  my son’s birth. Complete, I hope, with new book reviews of some Golden Book CLASSICS.)

There are not enough hours; there’s not enough time. Especially during the week. I was sitting at my desk at work a couple of days ago, realizing that I need a new schedule, a better plan, a more workable routine for the week, and I started to wonder what the actual routine looked like on paper. I decided to keep track of a day.

This is June 17, 2008:

2:40 -3:16 a.m. Wake up and pump. This includes assembly, pumping, disassembly, and cleaning.

7:00 a.m. Wake up and pump.  I had trouble getting back to sleep after my mid-night pumping because I was thinking about everything that I have to do.

7:30-8:15 a.m.  Poop, wash face, get dressed, put dishes away, drink tea, cancel catalogs through catalogchoice.org, check email, update blog, check local headlines, check two social networking sites (myspace and Facebook).

8:20 a.m.  Leave for hospital
8:25 a.m.  Drive to hospital (I don’t know where that five minutes went, but I would have been able to use it later)
While Pete drives, I do stuff. Today, I brushed my hair and filled out the FMLA form that my HR department has been asking about and that we keep forgetting to leave at the hospital for the doctor. Also, Pete has been nagging me to fill out part of it, even though the doctor is supposed to do it, and I have said more than once that I don’t have the time, and that it’s for the doctor to do. He won’t let it drop, so I decided to do it. Unfortunately, he did not notice the pouty, huffy way that I did it. Turns out, I didn’t know what to put in most of the boxes and no one needs to fill out the majority of the boxes, anyway.
It was not a good start to the morning. I also realized that I forgot my knitting and would now waste a whole 8 minutes in the car during which I could have been doing something. I can’t justify knitting when I am at home, so the only time I get to knit is in the car or while Pete is having cuddle time with Finn, unless I have something else I am working on in those moments.
8:33-8:37 a.m. Sit in car and stare; wonder why people still insist on using weed killer; realize that I have not even kissed or hugged my husband yet this morning. Maybe if he had just let the FMLA form issue drop. Just kidding.

8:37 a.m. Check voicemail; call Nancy at Regions Hospital and leave message to cancel childbirth classes. I think I have graduated.
8:43 a.m. Park at hospital
8:44 a.m. Kiss and hug husband
8:45-9:35 a.m. Good morning visit with Finn. Pete had a little daddy cuddle.
At the end, when they were moving Finn to put him back into his third womb, condensation in his hi-flo ran into his nose, and he startled and started  coughing, spewing water all over Pete’s chest. He was fine–it happens, but it was a little disconcerting. He also started this visit with a poopy diaper and ended it with a poopy diaper. On the second poopy diaper, he was still pooping as Pete started to change it.
9:36 a.m. Leave hospital, and drive to Pete’s work
9:52 a.m. Drop Pete off at work
10:08 a.m. Arrive back home
10:09-10:41 a.m.  Pump
10:41 a.m. Realize that I have not eaten yet today (this is very common). Eat a cheese stick and have a glass of lemonade.
10:42-10:50 a.m.  Load tiaras into car (Yes, tiaras. 200 of them. I make them in my “Spare Time.” I have to ship them to the Renaissance Festival in Colorado.)
10:50-11:40 a.m. Work at home.
11:40 a.m.-12:01 p.m. Get ready for work
12:02 p.m. Leave for work
12:39 p.m. Arrive at work.
En route, I stopped at the Y to cancel our membership. Working out ain’t gonna happen any time soon, and that 94 bucks can go straight into savings every month. After I stopped there, I remembered that I did not have my cell phone with me. A month ago, I would have left it, but now, I need it in case any doctors or nurses call. I parked at Augsburg College and walked to my office.
4:26 p.m. Leave work.
By this time, I have not “expressed myself” (I don’t think this was what Madonna was talking about) since 10:00. It’s been over six hours. I am uncomfortable to say the least. While I was walking to my car, I tripped and fell on my right boob, which did not feel good, and at which point, I thought for a brief second that standing there and crying would be a fine idea. Then I realized how unproductive and wasteful that activity would be and went on my merry way.
5:15 p.m. Arrive home.
Pete was supposed to be ready to go at 4:45. He did not get out to the car until 4:50, by which point, my frustration levels with the day had reached what I thought was a peak. I did not realize that the real peak would come when I realized that I had forgotten to ship the tiaras, and the trunk of the car was still bursting with pink and purple fluff. Pete offered to take them and ship them, but he had rehearsal at 6, and I knew they would not go out that moment anyway. Also, I was beyond help at this point. People offering to help just made it worse. I decided to run them over to the UPS Store after pumping.
5:17 p.m. Pump
5:58-6:21 p.m. Have bath and read “The Horse and His Boy.” Ignore all Christian allegory and racist insinuations.
6:21-7:36 p.m. Prepare and eat food , update blog, download and upload pictures, do dishes. Decide to take tiaras in the morning.
7:37-8:05 p.m. Pump
8:05-10:05 p.m. Fall asleep on couch while watching Friends reruns on DVD.
10:25-11:43 p.m. I don’t know where that 20 minutes in between went.
Pete was late coming home from rehearsal. I had decided not to run to the hospital because he had said he would be done at 9:00. When he came home at 10, I was just about to get ready and go by myself. Had I known that there would be 20 minutes of abstract meandering about the house, I would have pumped while I was waiting. As it was, I kept thinking “Surely, we will leave at any moment.” We had our goodnight visit with Finn, who was doing very well, and headed back home.
11:46-12:15 a.m. Pump
A critical analysis of this day shows me where I can make improvements. A big part of it will be helped once I have a key to the “Expression Room” at the U. Once that happens, I will not have to worry about getting home within 3-4 hours; I can actually go to work and stay there for almost a normal day. I have to remember to breathe and do all things with intention (thanks again, yoga). I need to figure out better transportation. (Our carbon footprint right now as a family is more of a carbon open-pit mine at this moment, but that’s another post.) I need to put eating up higher on the mental list of things to do. That and personal care are the things that fall by the wayside easiest because of all the other things I need to do. They seem like they can wait. Not a good idea. I already cut out the celebrity gossip diversion, and I hardly have time for my knitting social networking site. (That one will not be cut out because it’s awesome and the people are awesome, but that, too, is another post).
I am sure that people will say that I need to be better at accepting help, but it is not going to happen, at least not right now. What they don’t realize is that I already have accepted help up to my Help Threshold, and anything else will stress me out more than it will “help” me. Usually, having someone “help” means having someone to supervise, and I don’t need that. “Help” also means that I have somehow shirked responsibility or been inadequate. You can say what you want and tell me that I am being ridiculous, but it won’t “help.” Everyone has an illogical quirk in their personality that is resistant to change.
Many friends and family have offered to help, and I appreciate it. Now I know they are out there, ready to help, and I can call on them when and if I need them.
Yes, I am what is popularly known as “A Control Freak.”
Wow, that was a long one. And, it’s time to pump…