Monday, July 28, 2008

a day in the life of super WAHM.

Recently (read: last week), I made the anxiety-inducing transition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom. Planning is my forte, so mid-week I sketched out what seemed like a typical day...

The Plan:
7:00 - Wake up. Get ready for the day. Eat a hearty breakfast while Dude (the hubby) takes care of diapering and dressing Bumblebee (the 7-month-old). Nurse Bumblebee if needed. Exercise while Bee plays in the playpen, monitored by a Dude getting ready for work. Shower. Get dressed.
7:45 - Prepare work station. Make sure everything is together for the day's needs and that Bee has plenty of toys to play with and no access to anything dangerous.
8:00 - Relieve Dude of Bee duties. Engage in fun bonding time with Bee that stimulates her emotional, mental, and intellectual well-being. Smooch Dude as he heads out the door to catch his train to work.
9:00 - Log online and IM Boss for the day's assignment. Catch up on e-mail while waiting to hear. Discover that the first assignment will begin at 10, due at 11.
9:30 - Change and nurse Bee, then put her down to a nap. Smile maternally as she falls to sleep promptly at 9:45. Prepare for assignment.
10:00 - Start work on time. Do a terrific job. Finish up and find out that the next assignment will begin at 1, due at 2.
11:00 - Pick up and comfort a wakeful Bee. Check diaper and change if necessary. Play on the floor with blocks. Keep Bee very happy. Nurse as needed.
12:00 - Eat a nutritious, balanced lunch at the table with Bee in the high chair. Feed her cut up veggies from own lunch. Prepare a healthy snack to eat later while working.
12:30 - Get Bee settled with her toys. Marvel at what a calm, well-adjusted baby she is. Prepare for assignment.
1:00 - Start work on time. Do a terrific job. IM Boss to ask about next assignment. Rejoice upon hearing that there are no more assignments for the day.
2:00 - Change and nurse Bee, then put her down for a nap. Pat self on back when she falls asleep with no trouble. Eat snack. Tidy up around the house.
2:45 - Prepare a nutritious dinner that will be easy to heat upon Dude's arrival home. Make extra, figuring that leftovers will be for lunch tomorrow.
3:30 - Pick up a wakeful Bee. Go for a lovely walk to the library. Return books and get some new ones. Come home, hang out, nurse, and play.
6:00 - Dude comes home. Heat up dinner, portion out some veggies for Bee, and enjoy a calm family dinner. Relax with Dude and Bee.
7:30 - Bathe Bee and change her into PJs. Sing songs, read stories, and nurse. Exchange loving glance with Dude as Bee falls asleep. Enjoy a fun evening, watching "Coupling" on Netflix while munching on dessert.
11:00 - Go to bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Sounds great, right? I thought so too!

The Reality:
7:00 - Hear alarm. Peer through one heavy-lidded eye as Dude wakes up and tends to the baby. Beg for five more minutes.
7:05 - Plead for five more minutes.
7:10 - Insist on five more minutes.
7:15 - Yell incoherently at Dude and ask to be left alone.
8:00 - Arise with a start. Find Dude and grouse at him for not getting you up sooner. Pick up a Bee that's desperate for milk and nurse. Leaf through a magazine while nursing. Lose track of time. Suddenly realize that Dude is running late, leaving you unexercised, unbreakfasted, and with unbrushed teeth.
8:45 - Leave a grumpy Bee wailing in the playpen. Use bathroom and brush teeth, feeling guilty while listening to the baby's cries. Do not bother to get dressed. Attempt unsuccessfully to console Bee, who demands to be held. Grab some Cheerios and snarf them.
9:00 - Set Bee on the floor and immediately pick her up when this leads to sobbing. IM Boss while Bee throws things off desk, tries to eat mouse, and helps out with typing. Discover that first assignment will begin at 10, due at 11. Feel stomach churn with Cheerios and anxiety.
9:15 - Change and nurse Bee, who falls asleep on the boob. Attempt to extricate self from her grip while keeping her asleep. Fail miserably. Set up Boppy on lap and let her nurse back to sleep. Frantically prepare for assignment while she sleeps. Pray to every deity out there that she will stay asleep until 11.
9:58 - Attempt not to cry when Bee wakes up cranky. Sit her on the floor. Unplug laptop and sit on the floor next to her. Get to work, handing toys or smooches to Bee as needed. Enjoy a small uninterrupted break of productivity. Glance at Bee, wondering why she is being so good. Discover her cheerfully eating cell phone. Wrestle it away amidst her tears. Hold her on lap.
11:00 - Finish assignment, just in time, only to be asked to cover someone else on a new assignment due at 12:30. War internally. Accept assigment out of desire to impress Boss and earn a bit of extra cash. Feel relieved when Bee has somehow cheered up and is enjoying her toys. Complete work. Learn that next assignment starts at 1, due at 2. Gulp.
12:30 - Change a soaked but happy Bee. Feel guilty for not changing her sooner. Nurse her. Lay her down for a nap.
1:00 - Start work with a growling, angry belly. Attempt to banish thoughts of food from mind. Worry about quality of work. Assume you suck as a worker and as a mother. Groan when Bee wakes up halfway through project. Wonder why Bee sleeps so poorly. Set her up on floor, sitting next to her with laptop.
2:00 - Finish assignment and rejoice at being done for the day. Stop Bee from progressing towards laptop wire with jaw unhinged. Eat canned soup at the desk, neglecting to give any to Bee. Reassure self that breastmilk is her primary source of nutrition anyway, and that she will be fed solids at dinner. Unable to stem hunger, eat popcorn, 2 apples, two scoops of frozen yogurt, a package of crackers, and far too much full-fat Dubliner cheese. Promise to restart Weight Watchers tomorrow.
3:00 - Attempt to nurse an uninterested Bee. Wonder if Bee is getting enough to eat. Feel cranky about full feeling in breasts. Wonder when the house got so messy. Feel defensive about it. Call Dude. Beg him to come home early, knowing full well he can't.
4:00 - Consider taking Bee to the library, just to get out of the house. Feel too cranky and low on energy. Lie down in bed with Bee and a trashy romance novel. Nurse her to sleep and read romance novel.
6:00 - Take a wakeful Bee to the front door to greet her daddy who has just arrived home. Realize that dinner was never made. Give Bee to Dude. Boil water and make pasta from a box with storebought sauce. Have Dude set Bee in playpen, sautee vegetables, and grate cheese. Wonder why Bee is always happier in playpen when Dude puts her there.
7:00 - Eat, giving Bee some veggies. Tell Dude about planned schedule versus actual day. Refrain from getting annoyed when Dude tries not to laugh. See the humor in it. Smile. Exchange stories about the day and the cuteness of the Bee. Realize the day was not that bad, as everyone is fed and happy and healthy.
8:00 - Notice the time. Feel guilty about lack of sleep routine. Notice how exhausted Bee suddenly looks. Skip bath. Feel guilty about putting a dirty baby to sleep. Sing songs, read stories, nurse. Realize Bee is overtired. Spend a billion years trying to cajole her to sleep. Doze off several times in the process. Decide that waking up late was the reason the day got away. Vow to get in bed no later than 11, no matter what.
9:30 - Success. Exit the room to find that Dude is happily drinking a beer. Feel a stab of irritation at the fact that Bee will not sleep for Dude and thus he can enjoy a beer rather than spend an hour and a half convincing a crabby, exhausted baby to sleep. Be snippy.
10:30 - Get into an argument over nothing. Realize pointlessness of argument. Wonder if we should go to bed or watch an episode of "Coupling." Decide to watch episode to lighten the mood and avoid going to bed mad. Vow to go to bed by 11:15 at the absolute latest.
11:00 - Groan when Netflix connection craps out mid-episode. Want to throw things. Rejoice when Dude cycles the router, fixing the problem. Dismiss pangs of annoyance about going to bed late. Enjoy episode.
11:30 - Get into bed. Perhaps the plan will work out tomorrow....

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