As my 4:30 lull set in, I was chauffeuring my daughter and her friend home from ballet. I sat at the stop light and yawned, going through the never ending list of things I wanted to accomplish that night. My to-do list never gets completely checked off, and the awaiting tasks haunt my thoughts. I know that I am going to drop the ball at some point, and I just hope my family and friends will once again forgive me for trying to do too much. At the corner a Starbucks called my name. I knew that if I grabbed a venti caffeine concoction my brain would be wired until midnight, allowing me time to catch up on contracts, do a few loads of laundry, clean something (anything), and pack lunches for the kids. However, my alarm is set for 5 am and I would again wake up sleep deprived for tomorrow.
Everyday seems to be a rat race between getting the kids to school, making sure their homework is done and shuttling them to activities. Let alone working, trying to have a social life, dating my husband, and keeping everything else together. Every mom I talk to, including the wonder-moms, know that if we step back and take a look, our lives are like a roller coaster of activity. We just have to accept the craziness and enjoy it as best we can, as it will all be over in the blink of an eye.
As I sat at the light I thought, what shall it be tonight, coffee or wine? Pros and cons: coffee will give me that burst of energy I need to accomplish so much (I hope), and I will give myself a big gold star in the morning for everything I achieved. However, I will have to double up on my daily caffeine intake the next day to compensate for my lack of sleep. My makeup will cover the dark circles under my eyes, my tell-tale sign of exhaustion, and I will be able to check a few more things off of my list. Or is it wine, my dear friend? I can put on my slippers, pour a tall glass, and cook a nice dinner as I wind down from my crazy day. Then possibly another glass in the bath after the children are fast asleep for the night. I rationalize this by telling myself it can all wait until tomorrow. I’ll just set the alarm a few minutes earlier.
I’ve come to the realization that today, as working moms, stay-at-home moms, and women in general, we have gotten used to this crazy pace. We have a million things that we expect of ourselves and that others expect of us. We must enjoy this crazy pace, and know that we won’t and shouldn’t be able to do it all. We have to leave room for days of reprieve and quiet. We have to learn to say no, and accept that laundry, to-do-lists, work, and all the many things that coffee aids us in accomplishing each night, will be around the next day. Granted, there are days that we need that little caffeine boost to make those cupcakes at 11pm for the kid’s school the next day, or to do that load of laundry that’s been rewashed 4 times and left to sit because we never found time to put them in the dryer, or to meet the deadlines for work, but more often than not, they can wait.
As women and moms, we need to learn to slow down and realize that it’s ok not to accomplish everything on our list. Be it a glass of wine, a bubble bath, reading a magazine, cooking, running, or whatever it is that takes you away from it all for just a moment, we must indulge in it more often . We need go easier on ourselves and others, and know that at the end of the day, it’s okay to take a break. The privilege of being a mom will fly by in an instant, and the last thing we should do is look back with regrets of precious time lost. Time spent with our families without a phone ringing off of the hook, or hacking away at a keyboard for work is what we will really remember when it’s all over. We need time to step back and enjoy this crazy ride we are on. I’ve finally resolved to take a deep breath and slow down. So the next time the question runs through my mind, will it be coffee or wine, the hardest decision I’ll have to make is will it be red or white?