Dear People Without Children:
Hi. I used to be one of you. While my life has changed into an almost unrecognizable version of itself from, say, 7 years ago, it’s not so long that I don’t remember. I recall just what it was like when my responsibilities included: my job, my spouse, my apartment, my social life. Back then, a day off would mean tending to some combination of all of those things.
These days, a day “off” is so dissimilar than those of yore, that it ought to have a totally different name. Let’s call it “Marty”. Marty is a day when my kids are in camp or school for a few to several hours. When you hear that a parent has a Marty on his/her hands, please don’t ask, “So, what are your plans for the day?”
This question makes us feel bad and uncomfortable. We expect that you expect some answer that includes items like sitting in a coffee shop, reading a book, going for a long bike ride, getting a manicure, shopping for fun, or just lazing around. We feel really lame when we have to tell you the truth.
Today I’m having a Marty. I was asked that very question. Here’s the truth:
- After a solid 40 minutes of driving and dropping people off, I will workout.
- Upon returning home I’ll sort a giant pile of dirty clothes into lights, darks, and sheets/towels.
- I’ll put a load into the washing machine.
- I’ll spend the next 30 minutes preparing dinner which includes trying to cut all the fat off of the on-sale organic chicken thighs I bought. (I’ll remember why I always buy breasts instead.) Then I’ll attempt to turn the mangled remains into pretty 1 inch cubes.
- I’ll mix up a marinade and toss in the chicken.
- Then I’ll move the wash into the dryer and reload the machine.
- Then, I’ll sit down at the computer to check email, Facebook, and write this post.
- I’ll go downstairs to find that the dryer is not yet dry, but the second wash is done. I’ll do what I always do, and always regret, and take the wet clothes out and put in a new wash, creating a dryer bottleneck.
- Now I get to take a shower! I realize that I’m shivering because I’ve been in sweaty workout clothes this whole time.
- After my shower, I’ll unpack the three still-packed bags I have from my last three weekends away. This will create more laundry.
- While I’m elbow deep in my closet, I might sort out some clothes that are ugly or don’t fit and add them to my giveaway pile.
- This will inspire me to do the same in the kids’ rooms.
- Now the dryer will be done. I load in the wet pile from the floor, empty the washing machine, and put in another load. Still a bottleneck.
- I’ll bring the first dry load up for folding.
- I’ll get distracted by Facebook.
- Now it’s early afternoon and I’ll realize that I haven’t had lunch yet. I’m STARVING. I decide to make a very healthy and reasonable lunch.
- While I wait for my lunch to be ready, I’ll snack on everything within arm’s reach. I will not notice the snacking at all. Tomorrow when I get on the scale, I’ll shake my fist at the heavens for the injustice of it all considering how little I ate yesterday (today).
- Shit! I’d better start folding that laundry. Let me have a cup of coffee first. I’ll push the button on the Keurig.
- I will forget about that cup of coffee and it will sit there until tomorrow.
- As I begin to fold laundry while watching a DVR’d What Not to Wear, I’ll get a call which will lead me to do some other task. It might be calling the mechanic, doing some research for my husband, making doctor’s appointments. I can’t predict it. But it will happen.
- All of a sudden I’ll realize I’m late getting my kids. How am I always late?
- Kids home, house destroyed within minutes. That basket of unfolded, clean laundry is an invitation for them to go bonkers and throw shit everywhere.
- Which reminds me that I need to take the next load out of the dryer and reload it.
- Now I need to prepare the rest of dinner. Chicken out of the marinade and onto skewers for the bbq.
- I will need to wash my hands several times in this process to tend to the kids’ needs. Kids + raw meat = parental nightmare.
- Next I’ll prepare the veggies and sides.
- Stop hitting her.
- Stop annoying him.
- OK, I’ll sit with you for a minute.
- We’ll turn on the TV.
- This is ALWAYS when my husband arrives. He sees: a house that looks like an after picture from a natural disaster, dinner 2/3 prepared, and me lounging around in front of the TV.
So, that’s the real answer to my plans for my
day off Marty. This is why I vaguely say something about errands and change the subject.
So, please, Childless People, stop asking us.
A Mom Who Needs to Check the Dryer Now