Ok, so it’s confession time! My mother would absolutely DIE if she knew I was writing this because sometimes I think she is out to prove that I am the worst mother on Earth. On Earth, no—perhaps top 10 in the region, who knows? So I will say it: I don’t call my children when we are apart. Sighhhh, there I said it!
This summer has been pretty child-free for me, thanks to availability of my parents who live only 20 minutes away. In an effort to save me from exorbitant daycare costs (I mean, you are basically paying people off to not harm your children) my children spent the majority of summer with good old grandma and grandpa. According to my mother I should call and check in with them every single night. I don’t disagree with her—I just never do! They’re lucky if I call once during the week, and it has nothing to do with the fact that 9 year olds and 5 year olds are terrible at telephone conversation, but more to do with my feeling that at any given moment my brain will explode.
On some level I get that this doesn’t make me the best mom, but I give myself a break because no one is perfect and I have to do a hell of a lot of compartmentalizing just to make my life work. I get off work at 5:00pm but by 4:30pm I am already worrying about the timing of traffic as it relates to how long it will take to pick up the kids, cook dinner and have them bathed and in bed by 9:30pm. On top of adding in time to write, struggling to find time to work out and actually listening to what the boyfriend has to say while multi-tasking another activity.
During the summer while the kids were away I decided that I needed to pour all of that “extra” time into chasing my dreams, so I self-published a book, planned a couple local events and worked on establishing my poet/spoken word career. At one point I was attending open mics as often as 3 to 4 times a week, getting in the house after midnight (or not going to bed until 3am because the boyfriend is a night owl and that’s when I would spend time with him) and waking up at 7:00am to repeat the cycle all over again. To live that way is bat shit crazy but also necessary for single mothers who have aspirations outside of their 9 to 5s. The only way that my mental health can even begin to deal with such a hectic schedule/life is to compartmentalize. Everyone
is thrown fits neatly into a nice little box and when the buzzer dings it’s time to tend to the contents of the box.
It is definitely not a perfect way to live, but for a woman on the go who is determined to have it all it is just the way it has to be for now. In the future I hope my kids will understand that while Mommy was away from their presence, they were never far from my thoughts. Everything I do is for them, and I want them to know the joy that comes from doing what you love and maybe they can do the opposite of what I did: build a foundation upon which to build their dreams instead of chasing boys, popping out babies and spending their 30s desperately trying to make up for lost time!
I know I can’t be alone in this—so what about you? Do you compartmentalize your life to make it work, or do you have it all figured out? If so, tell me your secrets!
Published by Whiskey blog.whiskeyandpoetry.com