I was so honoured that Lou asked me to write a guest post for her. This blog is one of my absolute favorites. Lou is always so honest and open in her writing, and I think that's why her blog resonates with so many people. She says quite eloquently what so many of us are thinking, and it's so nice to be able to nod your head and think "me too! me too!". Thanks Lou!
A typical winter day in the life of Mary…
I wake up at 5:45, and I take a shower and get dressed. I get up early so I can get ready before my little guys, ages 2 and 5, wake up. (I try, anyway - lately I have had an audience for my shower.) I get dressed, go downstairs and prepare breakfast (often oatmeal in the winter), pack our bags, and get things ready to go. Mornings are often a blur of getting the boys dressed, fed, and out the door. I actually like it when they wake up a little earlier, because it allows us more time to eat breakfast together and talk, maybe even play a little before we have to rush off.
Winters in Boston can be tough, especially when handling the typical weekday routine. Thankfully, we invested in a remote car starter, and it has become one of my favorite possessions ever. It doesn't hurt quite as much to get myself and the boys into the car on a freezing winter morning. I won't talk about the days when I have to shovel first, though.
I take them to day care and then drive into Boston. My commute is about 35 minutes on a typical day, longer on a snowy or rainy one. I work from home two days a week, which helps tremendously. The other days, I've decided to look at my commute as having a block of time devoted to listening to music. I try to relax and not worry about the traffic or the clock and just focus on the songs. Before I know it, I'm at the office. 5:45 to 9AM - my typical morning is long, so I work hard to try to make things easy on myself. (Yes I recognize the paradox there.)
I work until 4, at which time I do that commute in reverse to go get the boys, and we are usually home by 5. I make dinner while the boys play, and then we eat together. We talk about our days, what they learned, and how they played. I make words with our magnet alphabet on the side of the fridge so my five-year-old can practice reading. He loves this, and he's getting really good! After dinner, we dance. Almost always. My two-year-old's dance style involves hopping up and down, swinging one arm wildly over his head. It's awesome and I hope it stays his signature move. My five-year-old's moves involve more of his shoulders and hips. Equally awesome. Dancing very often ends with tickling or chasing, and then we move on to something else. When we're all in a good mood, I leave the dishes and play. Lego's, trains, marbles, puzzles…whatever it is, it's fun, and I love this time. I will admit, though, that there are some days that we're not all in a good mood, and on those days it can be better if I clean up while they play independently.
Then comes bedtime, which can be so difficult sometimes with my little guys. It can sap me completely of all energy. I find myself chanting, "It's only a phase, it's only a phase, it's only…" After baths and pyjamas and stories, it's lights out before 8 o'clock.
Then starts my favorite time of day. Peace. I have been trying to take ten minutes to sit quietly - I would say meditate, but I am not very good at quieting my mind completely. I do try, though, and I will say that it does make a difference. I feel the muscles in my face and shoulders relax as I sit and breathe. I then hop on the computer for a bit, writing a post on my blog, reading my favorites, or catching up on email. I clean up the kitchen, pack lunches for the next day, and then retreat to the living room with a mug of ice cream. I try to get to bed by 9:30 or 10 so I can read for a while, although my fondness for the peaceful and quiet night time hours usually keeps me up too late. I always end my days in bed with a book.
If you have just noticed that my husband hasn't made an appearance, it's because he travels nearly full-time for work. I am usually on my own during the week.
Lou, thanks so much for having me! Maybe you can do a similar series next year and I can share how much things have changed!