My dad always called me a “woman in a hurry.” My first word was a full sentence (“It’s a bird!”) In high school, I started classes at 7:30 AM so I could graduate a year early. By 21, I had graduated with my first degree and was on to my second. On the morning of my 27th birthday, I called my mom in tears because I wasn’t “where I wanted to be,” but looking back on that day, I wasn’t quite sure what “where” looked like.
At 27, a typical day involved getting up at 4:30 AM voluntarily (!) to go to the gym, work out for about an hour, shower and get ready for work, drive home, drop-off gym stuff, walk to the train station, catch a train from Dallas to Fort Worth, work from 7:30 AM until 4:30 PM, walk to the train station, catch a train from Fort Worth back to Dallas, walk home from the train station, be “exhausted,” hang out with my favorite person, maybe watch some TV or read and go to bed around 10:00 PM. Weekends usually consisted of sleeping in late, running, errands, trying new restaurants or bars, catching a movie, and/or whatever else we wanted to do. We were cool and hip, and would not let ourselves be defined by *gasp* plans.
Getting married and having kids was always part of “the plan,” but I was always in awe of those couples that made it work. It looked really hard. How did these people have time for everything? When did they fit in the things they wanted to do – the things that defined who they were as people?
By the time Z arrived, I had started to figure it out. As a parent, you actually have this amazing magical gift to create time. If something is important to you, you make time. Additionally, you have no patience for things that take up this precious resource without warrant; because there is simply not enough time to waste in the first place. This second part was a much harder lesson than the first.
So you cram it all in. HERE’S 30: getting up at 1:30 AM, 4:00 AM, and the final alarm at 6:10 AM, change Z’s diaper, make coffee (author’s note: where was the coffee at 27?), make sure Z has milk, now the dog is hungry – feed dog, let dog out, wonder why Z is digging through the dirty clothes hamper, saying “no” to Z, scold self for saying “no,” redirect Z instead, pack gym back, pack work bag, pack Z’s bag, pack diaper bag, make lunch(es), dress Z, dress self, find Monkey – oh god, where is Monkey, scold self for losing Monkey, find Monkey, let dog in, load car, put Z in carseat, drive to daycare, walk to gym, work out for 30 minutes, shower and get ready for work, drive to work.
Work from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM, drive to daycare, pick Z up, drive home, pick up dinner at grocery store on the way home, change Z’s diaper, change clothes (maybe), feed Z, feed self and C, clean up, bathe Z, brush Z’s teeth, put Z to bed, eat dinner that has now been cold for 45 minutes, redefine “exhausted,” hang out with my favorite person, watch a 20-minute TV show, and go to bed by 9:30 PM.
Weekends? What are those? Actually, they’re pretty great. Yes, they start off early; but I get to make breakfast for my son who happens to love eggs (and watching me make them). We go on long walks around our neighborhood so he can say, “tree” and “dog” and point to the birds flying overhead. Last weekend, we shared hamburgers and onion rings with my grandmother (Z’s great grandmother); and the weekend before we went to the science museum with friends.