Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series. Here’s a day in the life of Kveller contributing editor, Carla Naumburg.
6:00 a.m.: My alarm goes off just as my 3-year-old starts screaming because she can’t find her lovey. I head in to her room only to find it in her hand. The 4-year-old sleeps through it. I get the baby back to sleep and head to the computer to revise an abstract that’s due later that day, only to realize that my brain isn’t functioning. I shoot off an email about rescheduling a play date, and go downstairs to meditate.
I sit down on a small cushion in the corner of my living room and try to focus on my breath. Within seconds I find myself ticking off items in my mental to-do list: finish the abstract, edit a book chapter, drop off the dry cleaning, buy a gift for tomorrow’s birthday party, call my grandmother. I notice that my mind is wandering, and I come back to my breath.
Seconds later, I’ve noticed how humid the air is, and my mind is longing for the dry air and green chile of New Mexico. Green chile. So delicious. So spicy. Will my daughter ever eat it? She’s so picky. Am I getting enough protein into her? Do Americans worry too much about protein? Should we be worried more about organic vegetables? Should I be buying organic strawberries? I realize my mind has wandered, and I come back to my breath. I do this again and again for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Josh makes lunches–his job when he isn’t traveling.
7:20 a.m.: I clean up cat vomit and am just finishing making coffee and breakfast when the girls wake up again and start yelling. I realize Josh is in the shower, which briefly pisses me off before I remember he made lunches. I run up to the girls, ask for five minutes, run back downstairs, inhale my breakfast, and run back up to begin 30 minutes of negotiations over skirts, ponytails, hair clips, socks, and sweatshirts. We head down to breakfast, during which time we debate the merits of the purple Dora spoon vs. the pink Belle spoon.
8:45 a.m.: I drop the girls off at preschool, drop my husband off at the train, and run in to our favorite bakery to pick up a loaf of our favorite challah for Shabbat dinner. I am eternally grateful for the high quality travel mug that Josh got me for Mother’s Day. My coffee is still hot.
9:45 a.m.: I sit down at the computer to get some work done. I have finally accepted the reality that I can’t write unless the TV is on, so I turn on the pilot episode of Magnum PI and get cracking.
11:45 a.m: While my lunch burrito is in the microwave, I rummage around for the girls’ bathing suits and swim caps in preparation for the pure hell that is their swim lessons. I scarf the burrito, finish the abstract, and schedule a tour of our local Jewish day school.
12:45 p.m.: I head to preschool to pick up the girls. The minute I walk in, they both look at me and immediately burst in to tears. So, that’s super fun. I drag the girls to the JCC, wrestle them into their bathing suits, and pry them out of their preferred location inside the lockers. In a shocking turn of events that will likely never be repeated again (especially because I am jinxing it by writing about it), the girls ENJOY THEIR SWIM LESSONS! They jump off the side of the pool, put their heads under water, and even ask to go swimming on days we don’t have lessons. Pardon my French, but HOLY SHIT.
2:30 p.m.: We get home, at which point the girls consume the entire contents of my refrigerator. My 3-year-old goes down for a nap, my 4 and 11/12 year-old (as she insists on being called) does her quiet recharge time, and I head back to the computer. The rules for recharge time are: 1) Play by yourself, 2) Don’t nag Mommy, and, if Daddy’s home, 3) No eye contact with your parents. We’ve found that even though our big girl doesn’t nap anymore, a little alone time each day really does help “recharge” her. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I’m a sucker for the kid, so I end up spending the 90 minutes trying to focus on my work while changing Barbie’s clothes and putting a blue ballet dress on a stuffed ibex.
4:00 p.m.: My baby (yeah, I know, she’s in preschool, but she will forever be my baby) wakes up, and we start getting ready for Shabbos dinner. The girls set the table and rearrange the Kiddush cups 87 times while I make our standard Friday night meal of quesadillas, veggies, and guacamole. (Remember, people, Mama don’t cook. Also, this is one of the only dinners of the week that we consistently eat together at home, so I had to figure out a meal that every member of my family would actually eat.)
5:30 p.m.: Daddy’s home! Shabbat shalom! We light the candles, sing the blessings (thank God Josh is home), and soon my little one is begging for more wine and four little hands are digging into a loaf of warm challah. The baby rubs hummus into her hair, both girls poop halfway through dinner, and I am so happy to have my family together.
6:00 p.m.: Josh and I briefly consider dragging the girls out to see a house that someone in our synagogue is selling. They both burst into tears (again) for no apparent reason. We decide to nix the house and start bedtime in approximately four minutes. The girls are in bed half an hour early. I am beginning to see the benefits of swim lessons. I sit in their room in the dark while they fall asleep and look forward to the conversation my husband and I have every Friday night–it’s one of the few times each week when we actually connect.
6:45 p.m.: I fall asleep in the girls’ room.
7:30 p.m.: I wake up, stumble into our bedroom, put on my PJ’s, and fall asleep. Again.