Being a stay-at-home mom who works from home, I get rather used to having a reduced schedule. Not to say I don’t do anything during the day, but I get used to working at home, managing the household and just being in one place. So when I have a busy week like I do this week, a sense of panic grows in me and time gets out of proportion in my head.
All I can think about is how every calendar date on my Android phone is yellow, meaning there is something scheduled in that day. And no matter if something is scheduled, I still have to do all the things I normally do to manage the household: laundry, dinner, grocery shopping, cleaning (okay, I don’t clean on my own).
As my sense of panic grew this weekend in anticipation of the busy week ahead, I decided I needed to rein in my thoughts. I know I am not nearly as busy as most people, so I decided, this Sunday morning, to scrutinize my schedule and break it down. I’m always helping my kids break down large homework tasks to make them less overwhelming, I figure I should be able to do the same with my schedule.
The first day of the week starts off well. It’s laundry day, but there is nothing on the calendar, except for my daughter’s symphony practice at the school, which only requires someone to pick her up.
The next day I have a morning coffee meeting. It’s just coffee with a co-writer to go over a future business meeting; no pressure. That evening is a bit of a juggle with my youngest in driver’s education along with a parent meeting and my oldest going to a teen group at church. But aside from the required parent meeting at the driver’s ed school, it’s once again just driving.
The following day I’m free in the morning, but my oldest has a scheduled drive instruction after school and my youngest has driver’s ed an hour later. Ironically, more driving for the parents when the kids are learning to drive.
The next day is “take your parent to school day” and for the first time in four years I’ll have to choose which child’s classes to go to because I have a freshman and a senior this year. However, I believe my youngest is too cool to let me follow her around all day and I will spend most of the day with my oldest, who has never been too cool to let me follow her around. However, I may join my youngest in the classes where I haven’t already met the teacher through my oldest; whether she wants me to or not. As you can see, this is the biggest decision I have to make all week; otherwise, it’s just more driving.
Friday there is a football game, in which my oldest daughter plays in pep band. So although we have no particular player we are watching, we’ve always gone to support the band and the team. It’s a homecoming game, so there is also the optional tailgate party before the game. My kids probably won’t want to go to the tailgate party until I tell them it’s “what’s for dinner.” More driving. My youngest won’t want to stay for the game, my oldest will have to. So we’ll be running one kid home.
So as I stood in front of the calendar, breaking down my week into manageable time slots, it occurred to me how much driving I do; most of it for my kids. Then I thought of all the parents who drive their kids everywhere for seasonal and recreational sports all year around. I’ve never had to do that as my kids have never been interested in team sports. Suddenly my week got much less complicated.
There is nothing like comparing your driving schedule to a soccer mom’s driving schedule to make you count your blessings.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com. Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.