Show of hands — how many of you noticed that the I posted the weekly forum highlights yesterday instead of today? Drew noticed and my mom noticed, but did anyone who isn’t related or married to me notice? Part of me thought I could get away with that little switcheroo and no one would be the wiser; the other part of me knew all of you observant smarty-pants would probably notice but would hopefully not care. I just hope it didn’t ruin anyone’s morning when you thought it was Wednesday only to realize that is was, in fact, Tuesday and you were a whole extra day further from the weekend. (Sorry about that).
Anyway, now it really is Wednesday and I should be posting a column to make up for not posting one yesterday. And maybe I will. But it’s five minutes to nine and I don’t even have a letter picked out yet (and Joanie’s going to wake from her nap soon). In fact, I have several unread letters in my inbox and I’d like to go through those first.
What’s my point, you ask? I guess my point is that this whole mothering-two-small-children is catching up with me and my work is getting pushed to the back burner and I hope you’ll be patient with me. Yesterday was the first day in two and a half weeks that I had a few hours to myself to actually work (we had our trip to Florida immediately followed by Jackson’s spring break from school). (And if you’re wondering why we didn’t take the trip during the actual break, which would have made sense, it was because it would have cost nearly double and we figured who cares if a 4-year-old misses a few days of school.) So, for two weeks I was squeezing in work when I could — an hour here, 30 minutes there. Then yesterday I had a whole morning to work, uninterrupted — Jackson was back to school and Joanie was with a sitter for 4 1/2 hours — and you know what I did? Well, first I went to Jackson’s Black History performance at school. But, after that, when I could have gotten to work and had a column up for you by 10 and then written one for today, I farted around instead. I drank some coffee, talked on the phone to a friend for a while (she called asking for advice), bought a sweater online, did some research for a weekend getaway trip we’re planning with some friends this summer, and thought about what I want to do for my 40th birthday that’s still over six months away. (What should I do? All I really want is to be somewhere where I can sleep ’til 9 AM, not wipe anyone’s butts for about 36 hours, and maybe have a great meal or two. Oh, who am I kidding? I’d be psyched to sleep ’til 8 and eat a good pork chop for dinner.)
I hope this doesn’t sound like a woe-is-me post. It isn’t. I know how lucky I am. I’ve got two healthy kids and a loving husband who is a wonderful, hands-on dad, I get to stay home where I can more easily take care of my family’s needs, AND I get to do part-time work I love. I say this with all sincerity: There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for all that I have. But, you know, even in the best case scenarios, the balancing act for mothers — whether they work outside the home full-time, stay home full-time, or juggle part-time work — is exhausting. I can only imagine how much more exhausting it is for women whose situations are more challenging than mine is at the moment. Hats off to all of you who do this balancing act. It’s not easy, it’s pretty universally un-thanked, and it’s frequently invisible to almost everyone (even — or especially — the ones benefiting from it most directly). If you can, go ahead and take a morning to fart around — you deserve it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go look for a letter to answer…