January 23, 2018

getting socked in the nose - a real threat

Lately I have been fed up.  More than my usual fed up.  I was taught to take turns back in preschool.  When will it be my turn?

I don't argue that my spouse has spent years building a great career.  He is very good at what he does.  We can't go anywhere without bumping into a patient ready and waiting to demonstrate how well his knee bends or how well her shoulder rotates.  There is no doubt that Coach's hefty paycheck laughs at my minuscule babysitting deposit when they cross paths at the bank.  Thanks to the different ways we spend our days, Coach and I have very different approaches to free time.

Coach continues to work on career related 'stuff' when he is at home.  He reads, studies, and preps for classes that he is taking or teaching.  His laptop is frequently in his lap while he plans out his next move or listens to a PT podcast.  When he does take a break from his physical therapy related focus, he might pick up where he left off on a house project.

A few years ago, Coach juggled refinishing our basement while studying for his fellowship.  Those years are a blur.  (A blur of me bearing the weight of all parental duties, housework, and meal prep).  The basement project lingered on for so long that many of the toys we packed away during the project were no longer age appropriate for our kids when we peeked back in the bins.  I am grateful though that we still own all of that stuff.  When I decided to babysit in our home instead of shuffling out the door several chaotic mornings a week as I had for three years, the toys I needed were still available.

If Coach's parents gush once more about what a wonder he is for accomplishing the fellowship AND finishing the basement at the same time, someone is going to get socked in the nose.  I do believe his parents have moved on from that high-praise time of two years ago.  I am bracing myself though, since Coach has recently become re-committed to finishing the stalled basement bathroom.  I've suggested hiring someone to complete these time consuming projects, but Coach reminds me that he enjoys it.

Free time for me is different.  My work is never done.  I'm not talking about house projects that are left unfinished until I have time.  I'm referring to basics.  Food:  no matter what I do, I find it impossible to stock up enough to meet the demands of this bunch.  Laundry:  how can they dirty this many articles of clothing in a week?

OK, I swear I do more than feed and clothe them.  No matter how hard I try to accomplish more than that in a given day, often that is all I have to show for my time.  You can glance back at my last post to see a more accurate (yet, still incomplete) listing of some of my to-do-list items.  (I'd like to add that I am the ONLY person in our home that is capable of throwing away junk mail or newspapers.)  Babysitting does require a chunk of my attention Monday-Thursday.  I do what I can to get stuff done during naps, but it doesn't always amount to much.   

Curly likes to climb trees and Mini
wants to live on a horse farm one
 day.  I offered to paint their
brothers fishing in the pond up by the barn.
 The girls' politely declined the
presence of any brothers on their wall.
After putting Coach thru physical therapy school when we were newlyweds and then standing by while he finished a couple of basements (last house and this one), got his doctorate, his fellowship, and lots of other designations along the way, I am left to wonder:  When is it my turn?
Part of the mural - bottom of it
 partially blocked by their trophy collection.
Ironically the trophies are located
 just below the Irish dancing studio
in the little town scene.

I don't have the luxury of dropping everything to pursue my dreams.  If I try to tackle a project, I can't just announce:  'not driving to dancing, or making dinner, or putting clothes in the dryer, or visiting the ortho.'  It doesn't work that way.  Two years ago I painted a mural on the girls' bedroom wall.  I started over Thanksgiving break and had to finish it over Christmas break before I started babysitting again and racing people out the door for school.  And yes, I did enjoy it!

The whole thing at a glance.  Each girl got to paint a flower under the window.  The yellow part is supposed to be their house.  I keep thinking I will get a window treatment that will complete the look.  Maybe when they go away to college.
Saturday night I asked Coach what he had planned for the next day.  He looked at me like I had 4 heads.  'Whatever I decide.  I will probably workout and work in the basement.'  Must be nice.  And the kids often wonder why I am so grouchy.  They constantly comment that all I care about is getting things done.  Well, true.  But getting things done is the only chance I have at carving time out for myself.

I recently explained to Coach that I hadn't gotten to do what I wanted on my day off, because I had so many other things to take care of.  'Yeah, you have a hard time carving time out for yourself,' he remarked.  Talk about almost getting socked in the nose!  I was quick to tell him that I don't have trouble carving time out, I have trouble because I do too much!  On Sunday I delegated dinner to him.  I sat at the computer and listened to him yelling at kids from his post in the kitchen.  Aha!  So it isn't just me.

So what would I do, if I could take a break from 'my job'?  Write a book.  I have several hundred pages written.  I just need to organize it.  What would you do, if you could take a break from your real job (whether it is outside the house or inside it)?


Gigi said...

I hesitate to type this because I'm going to offer unsolicited advice. Delegate more often and mean it. I'm not positive of your children's ages but they seem to be old enough to do their own laundry, clean bathrooms, etc. Not only does it relieve your workload but teaches them major life skills. Yes, it won't be done to your specifications but that's okay, it will be done. As for the me time? Trust me, soon enough they will be gone and you will find yourself feeling like no one "needs" you anymore sometimes. That mural, by the way, is AMAZING!

Ernie said...

I welcome your advice! Believe it or not, I do delegate. For example, I rarely enter the kids' bathroom. They rotate cleaning it once a week in age order. I remind them whose turn it is and then try to stay away because it makes me cringe. Coach is starting to catch on. I've noticed that he offers to do a bit more around the house. I backed off when he was getting his advanced degrees, but now he seems to be in a constant mode of prioritizing what he prefers to do and leaving the rest to me. I made him drive to Curly's fiddle lesson a few weeks ago. Enough already!

And, thanks - I do love the mural. I had never done anything on that large a scale before. Super fun! The girls hung out in there and watched me quite a bit. We had encountered a horrible Irish dancing dilemma and we were between schools. Taking a break from it all was very therapeutic.