I do medical transcription from home. It’s one of those love/hate relationships. What’s there to hate you ask? Flexible hours, work in your pajamas? This morning I got up early to do some work before the kids woke up, only it didn’t quite work out that way.
Here’s how my day goes:
Baby wakes me up. I feed him while I start up the computer, then I try to nurse on the other side while I type. I can do the work that way, but it hurts my back. Then baby and toddler both have poopy diapers, so I decide I’d better take care of that. Then it’s time to wake up my first-grader for school. “Look Mom, it’s crazy hair day for Red Ribbon Week!” she says, bringing me the flyer. Wanting to make it a special day for my daughter, I try to hurry her through her morning routine so we will have extra time for hair, and I do it while she eats breakfast. All the while, baby cries more and wants to be held. I feed him, and try to put him to sleep and finish the hair. First-grader’s class has already gone inside the school (across the street) so I run out with her in my stretch pants, embarrassed when a neighbor sees me in my tight pants, which I normally wouldn’t wear outside without a jacket around my waist to cover my postnatal body, as well as for modesty’s sake. I’m in a hurry, though.
With my first-grader at school, I run back in the house, get the two-year-old out of his high chair and send him to wash his hands. Luckily he doesn’t overrun the sink, and my four-year-old is still sleepy, resting on the couch, observing the madness. I haven’t eaten breakfast but I don’t want to take messy food downstairs to the computer because my husband just cleaned the carpet last night. My two-year-old will undoubtedly help me eat, and I will regret the mess. Baby still wants to be held and cared for, and I try to appease him in the play pen next to me while I type. The phone rings, but no message. It rings immediately again, and I cringe. We don’t have caller ID. I hate it when they won’t leave a message. I will call them back, but right now I just need to keep working! A third call with a message from my first-grader’s teacher informs me my daughter would like to talk to me. I return the call but apparently I have the wrong number. I try the general school line and get the machine, so I opt to leave the two-year-old and four-year-old at home and run across the street with baby. I don’t even stop at the office (because I see more neighbors and I’m still in my too-tight workout pants. If I was at the gym maybe I’d feel ok, but as it is I feel like I’m prancing around in a modern dance outfit—all skin tight and black).
At class I learn the horrible truth. Crazy hair day is next Tuesday. Poor girl, tears in eyes, purple and gold knots and braids sticking up all over her head. If only I hadn’t been in such a hurry (typing) this morning! What a cruel thing to do to a little girl! I put baby on my jacket on the bathroom floor and try to help my crying first-grader fix her hair. I realize this is futile and we covertly head home across the street (again, without stopping at the office because I didn’t have my license with me to check her out, and didn’t want to make another trip) with my jacket hiding the purple swath of bangs and offending antennae. We wash her hair in the tub and do a quick blow dry. I assure her she is beautiful no matter how her hair is done, and we both practice smiling to make us feel better. We run across the street and again I forget my jacket, so I sneak past the vice principal neighbor, hoping he’s not judging my immodest modern dance attire and wondering why I’m sneaking kids out of school.
The kids are still alive at home, only the two-year-old is helping baby with his binky this time and opening up candy on the counter. I try to call the office since my work is now late, wondering if there is anything they need first. I get the answering machine. My two-year-old brings me a candy, sharing his loot, and I have to smile. I call the office back later and get through to the receptionist, but she sends my call to the wrong lady’s answering machine. I know I need help so I call in reinforcements, not really wanting to. I type this to relieve the stress instead of working while I wait for her, again nursing baby’s growth spurt all the while, and Grandma arrives while I’m burping baby. I haven’t eaten breakfast and my antidepressant and postnatal vitamin are giving me a stomachache. Of course I haven’t brushed my teeth and there are new dirty diapers now, kids still in jammies and one hasn’t eaten, but Mom is here to be mom while I play someone else.
So, I know I can’t do it all, at least not well, and not all at once. I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone, but I don’t usually tell all the reality of it. Please don’t call child services, or the school, or my boss on me. It’s not always like this, really! But honestly, there must be an easier, smarter way!