A Day In The Life... (of a non-celebrity working mother)
This morning a new installment of Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter came out, called A Day In The Life. Gywnnie offers a first hand glimpse into life as a working mother, as well as a peek into the lives of two other working mothers, one of which is her dear pal, Stella McCartney.
Now we can all imagine what life is like in the homes of multi-millionaire celebrities, but the extent to which Gwyneth exaggerates the hectic nature of her life as a working mother definitely had a strong flair for pure comedy. I have to admit, Gwyneth's writing for this particular post was a bit off (that's generous for the writing sucked) and with that I dismiss her ability to take Dooce down as top mommy blogger even though they are like BFF now that they met for 30 seconds in NYC.
Inspired by Gwyneth, I'd like to offer a glimpse into a day of my life, an unpaid working mother, full time caretaker of two girls, household manager of a family of four, with no support staff (deprived of: driver, nanny, personal assistant, housekeeper, chef, personal trainer, private yoga instructor, grocery delivery service, personal fish monger, and all other staff positions that I wouldn't have a clue about given I am not a multi-millionaire).
7:15am I rise from my comfy and warm Shabby Chic linen filled bed, to discover the house felt quite cold. Hmmm I thought to myself, that's rather odd. Immediately I traipsed three steps down the hall to the thermostat to discover the heat had been turned off. I wonder just for a brief moment if there is something wrong with our boiler, when I realize I asked my husband to turn the heat down a few degrees the night before. It was dark and he pushed a combination of buttons that turned the heat off for the night! I quickly remedied the situation and made a mental note to re-program our thermostat to fit our needs, as it was still set to the former owner's schedule.
7:18am Enter the kitchen, put on the kettle to make some tea. Survey the cupboard and cabinets for what in the world I am going to prepare for lunch for my seven year old. Realize I haven't blogged in a week on my bento blog, but know nothing cutesy is going down this morning. Make another mental note, to blog again someday about the amazing lunches I pack. Yawn as I entertain myself with such notions. Whip up a genius almond butter and jelly sandwich, sliced apple, and some Pirate's Booty on the side.
Enter the girls, who head straight for the television. I demand, no television. Time for breakfast and get dressed while you're at it! Pour water from kettle over instant oatmeal, stir, add milk and serve. Pour tea, take a sip while it's too hot! Ouch. Place a slice of bread in the toaster for my breakfast, I normally prefer two but I noticed we are running low. I consider that taking one for the team, also known as, I may have squeaked one additional day out from having to go grocery shopping.
Lunch packed, help daughter find clothes to wear to school. Apparently the laundry fairy didn't get my overtime memo and she left all the damn clothes in the laundry basket and didn't put them away in their proper dressers. Mental note, fire the laundry fairy. Oh how I entertain myself and wish I didn't hate putting away laundry. Find hat, gloves, boots, snow pants (brrr, it's a chilly one this morning), shoes in addition to boots for inside school, bundle up Sj. Check her backpack, discover her lunchbox from yesterday, inquire if it's a library day, seek out library book, replace with fresh lunch, water bottle in the side pocket. Gently nudge her out the door with my husband to walk her to school.
Open the laptop, sip my tea, check email, Facebook, and see what's happening in the world via my go to news source, Twitter. Let time pass faster than I imagine.
Move onto the days tasks, coax GL into eating more. Agree to a bowl of pretzels for her to snack on once she does a decent job on her oatmeal. Allow her to watch, ONE SHOW. Reiterate, one show and no Wii. Vacuum the area rugs, contemplate the last time I vacuumed and realize it was just yesterday. Empty the vacuum canister, as my area rug is a shedding beast that fills my vacuum every time I clean it. Sweep, empty the dishwasher. Sigh when I see the big pile of pots and pans sitting on the stovetop. Walk away from the reality of it all and check the laundry. There's always laundry. Throw in a load, feel despair when I see the mound of laundry that still needs to be done sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed. Wonder why I can never conquer the laundry. EVER. Pretend as if the full laundry baskets of clean clothes aren't sitting right in front of me.
Get sidetracked online looking at preschool options for next year. Wonder where in the world I'm going to get the money to pay for preschool that costs essentially the same as a private elementary school. Feel depressed and look at Craigslist for jobs. Decide I need more tea, as if the school thing wasn't depressing enough, looking for a job is even more depressing. Contemplate what my dream job is. Help build a beanie baby house with wooden blocks. Check in on Twitter, my happy place. Forget all about the job and schools, laundry, dishes that need to be done, and life in general. Ah Twitter.
Glance at the clock, holy crap it's lunch time! Discuss in length what GL wants for lunch. Assess and review a myriad of options, most of which are instantly responded to with a NO, NO, NO. Finally a hesitation. I pounce. Cheese quesadilla, leftover apples from Sj's lunch, and some carrot sticks. I eat cheese as I'm cutting it off the block for the quesadilla. I nibble on some apple slices, a carrot stick. I'm satisfied, that was lunch right? Once again negotiate with GL how much more she needs to eat. Sometimes it feels like 1/2 the day is spent over food consumption negotiations with her. Sigh.
Get GL ready for school with all the appropriate outerwear as her school has a strict outside playtime everyday policy. Potty, check! We are all ready to go, hat, snow pants, two mittens, water bottle, book about the moon for sharing, and ONE boot. Spend a ridiculous amount of time looking for the other boot. Finally find it in the laundry room, hidden under a pile of dirty towels. Curse laundry, yet again. Feel stressed as we are running late. Boo.
Drive across town behind the world's pokiest drivers. Drop off GL at school. Grab notice for tuition due. Oops, forgot to pay this month. Sign her in, linger watching the kids play until she's comfortable enough for me to go. Hop in the car and peel out of the parking lot to bask in my 1.5 hours of FREE TIME! I don't rush to dance class or yoga for that matter. I have to make this time count. Post office to check PO Box, make mental note to forward mail to our house. We can bag the PO Box now, it's time. Hit Whole Foods for dinner fixings, pull into the Do Not Enter exit only lane of the parking lot to score a spot really far away, but it's better than sitting in traffic. Curse Whole Foods parking lot. Get lost in Whole Foods because it's all redesigned and wonder where in the world the meat counter is. Pay $1.00 more a pound for ground turkey than my regular Whole Foods the next town over. Feel robbed. Find the check out, pay with cash. Stop at the bank on the way home, put the remaining cash from my wallet on the visa card. Throw the ground turkey in the refrigerator and head out the door to pick up Sj. Check the mail. Wow, what an exciting 1.5 hours of free time, wouldn't you agree?
Read mail in car, running with the heat on, while waiting for dismissal. Feel like a slacker for not walking to pick up Sj. Oh well. Swoop up Sj. Drive back across town to pick up GL, but we are early. Sit in the parking lot with Sj for 15 minutes playing Angry Birds on my iPhone. She's awesome at it, basically just hand the phone over to her. Sign GL out of school, get stuck in traffic. Use the time to ask how school was for both girls. Wonder why I always go this way, when I know I'll hit traffic. Laugh that rush hour starts at 3:30 in this random city I live in. No one works, everyone must be rushing to get to high tea or yoga.
4pm- Home. Grab all the girls' stuff, head into the house. Prepare snack for my hungry girls. Demand hand washing. Ask them if they are up for turkey tacos for dinner, they yell simultaneously, YES! Start prepping vegetables, grating cheese, cooking meat, dishing out accoutrements. Load the dishwasher as dinner is cooking, turning around to keep stirring the meat. Burn the taco shells in the toaster, score an old 1/2 box of shells in the pantry. Break up the girls fighting over the beanie babies and their new wooden block palace. Convince them to be nice, so mommy can just make dinner. Encourage Sj to work on homework. Wash pots and pans, cook dinner, and monitor homework completion, all at the same time.
Eat dinner as a family. Pile dishes in the sink. Give the girls a square of dark chocolate for dessert, eat 3 or 4 squares myself. Melt into the couch while J gives the girls a bath. Check in on Twitter and email, waste time on my iPhone. Try to convince myself to get off the couch and do the dishes. Mental encouragement a failure. Place bills in the bill basket, check bank account to see if the mortgage check cleared. Answer knock at the door, forget I had a meeting about Girl Scout Cookies. Ooops. Ask the girls to play in their rooms, read a book, anything but be up my butt during my meeting.
7:35- Tag team bedtime duty, give meds, nasal rinse, fill humidifier, potty, teeth brushing, find must have stuffed animals, fill water bottles. Kiss the girls good night. Blog. Typically this is when I would watch television, but I find it boring. Nothing but crap, so I no longer watch tv, unless it's a movie. I'm kind of happy about that. Avoid dishes, putting away laundry, and anything that may remotely seem like work. Ignore the fact that the girls' wet towels are sitting in the middle of the living room floor or that their dirty clothes are strewn haphazardly in the hallway in the entrance to the bathroom. Chat with hubby. Realize that I forgot to get cake mix at the store and that I am hosting friends the next day for a tea party. Curse that brilliant idea. Get home with 4 bags of groceries, even though I went for one thing. Put the stuff away that needs to be refrigerated, but leave out all non-perishables on the counter in their bags. Decide instead I should read blogs, surf the web looking for a couch. Collapse into bed , even though there is so much to do.... Feel grateful I'm having my close friends over that don't expect a clean house as I fall asleep full of regret for being lazy.
That is just a snapshot into the life of this working mother. If you made it this far, BRAVO!
You may enjoy this article with editorial corrections on the original Gwyenth post from today! It really is funny, check it out.