But I don’t. The minute I pick the kids up from school I’m hit with no less than 15 requests for play dates, queries about “what’s for snack, ” and an avalanche of forms that the school needs my signature on immediately. My mind is whirling to fit in homework, dinner, sports… and a much needed, but will not happen, nap. Afternoon and dinnertime have come, and once again, I am unprepared.
Upon my insistence that homework and their laundry be put in their closets first, I did not shuttle them off to their play dates until 4. I calmly looked the other Mom in the eye, and said, “He has soccer practice at 5 on the other said of town; so I’ll be back in… just a few minutes to pick him up.”
I walked back into the door at home, and realized I had nothing ready for dinner; my oldest son would need sustenance before his soccer game at 7:15… and so might the rest of us. In 20-30 minutes, I managed to salvage dinner with pasta, tomato sauce from a jar, and a dash of nasturtium pesto, while I built legos, and mixed ovaltine for the remaining boys in the kitchen. While cooking, I realized it would be impossible, from a time standpoint, for me to pick up my older son, and my middle son from play dates, so I threw one of those child-gathering jobs to my husband; a task he gladly accepted.
Just before dashing out the door, I put the pasta and sauce on the counter so that the next human being to enter the kitchen, hopefully my husband and older son, could eat.
As I sat in the car, with three boys chattering away, I wondered why this is so exhausting. I am sitting down – what more could I want? I saw the glimmer of a familiar face drive past me; another Mom I know, caught in the throes of her own kid’s carpool. She looked just as washed out as I did; and her kids aren’t even little anymore.
You would think, that out of the 1,500 kids, combined, that attend the two schools my kids go to, we could just throw balls around in the parks and backyards in our own neighborhoods. Why must we criss-cross our way around time to fit into society’s newfangled sports forum? Suddenly, our city just seems too vast.
I put a Nancy Drew book on tape into the CD player just so the kids would stop that incessant chatter that was exhausting. This is when I have fantasies about what 5:00 looks like if you don’t have children. Going for a run; maybe uncorking a bottle of wine to let it breathe before dinner, or maybe meeting friends at an actual real restaurant and relaxing. From there, my mind went blank; I really can’t imagine what life would be like at 5 o’clock without kids.
When I made the 5 o’clock drop at soccer practice at 5:05, I moved on to the grocery store with the two little ones. I’ve learned to act like a zombie in the grocery store, pushing my cart, looking neither left or right, and pretending to be deaf while the kids ask, “Can I have this?” It works. I left with exactly what I came in for.
In the car, my little guy started singing a song he learned in preschool. His other brother wanted to know where he learned it; and then he said, “No fair, you learned more songs than me.” For a brief second a shuddered… why am I rushing this? Why can’t I savor this instead of counting the minutes until bedtime?
I made it back home at 6 to find that my husband and older son ate the entire dinner I had prepared. There wasn’t even a stick of limp pasta left. I guess that’s good — they liked it; but I scrambled around to make cheese sandwiches for everyone else. And, that’s not what they wanted. At 6:15 my husband left to pick up the one finishing soccer practice. I started to clean the kitchen and put the groceries away… and then I looked at the clock. It was 6:20, and the next soccer game started at 7:15. I had time. I definitely had time…
So, I rolled out my yoga mat at the front door, and made sure everyone was busy doing something harmless inside. Then, I flipped open my phone and started doing my yoga. There’s nothing quite like uttanasa, or forward bend, to drop that stress hanging around my neck. I arrived at the soccer game with my hair a little mussed.
The nice part is, tomorrow, at 2:50, I get to practice all over again… until I get it down.