Mummy Confession: I hate that dreaded time window.
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We all know it exists. The window. That humble reprieve amidst the day’s routine. That time of completely uninterrupted accomplishment. Progression without interference.
You know, those precious ten minutes after the kids fall asleep (because before that, you need to tiptoe around, hoping not to awaken the tiny monsters). You can finally breathe and reconstruct your thoughts. The specific number of windows and amounts of time for accomplishment differ even day to day, and it is up to you to negotiate them for maximum potential.
My windows exist in the midst of raising children. The 15 minutes of peace after starting a new Tv program until a brother is sent into a flying rage over his sisterly companion playing, “I’m not touching you.” (Dishes done.) Thirty seconds of peace as you hide behind the only locked door in the house before tiny fingers poke under the threshold of your sanctuary. (Snack eaten.) The most elusive of windows is the gold medal of achievements: when your child sleeps through the night. (And you can finally get some unbroken sleep!)
If you have more than one child, aligning these windows of opportunity becomes some sort of tightrope act (especially if you have to slowly manoeuvre your way out from under a sleeping baby.) As you add more children, the more difficult, or hilarious, it gets.
For example, right now I am enjoying one of those “windows.” I managed to get a baby to sleep and the others are a bit distracted with screen time. Do I write, or try to deal with folding the tonne of laundry that has amassed by the week’s end? In order to negotiate with myself, I weigh, albeit very quickly, the pros and cons to my decision. Writing will help me de-stress and be more emotionally sound, but laundry will, obviously, mean that’s one more tidy place in the house.
It seems my life as a mother is controlled by these time windows. Sometimes, I may have a mere thirty minutes of opportunities spread throughout the day to achieve all that needs to be done. There are days when there is a baby who won’t be put down or a toddler who has decided at the age of two that it is her sole purpose to keep me on my toes. (Can anyone say, “baby powder coating every possible surface”?)
It gets exhausting.
I constantly remind myself that these windows of time do not measure the success or achievement of my whole day, though. Though my life seems consumed by things that eat away at the time of my day, I am doing what I need to do to survive, and help my children thrive. Yes, there may be a pile (or four) of laundry folded but not put away, but my children are happy and clothed. The dishes may have piled up, but my children are nourished and content. The house may appear overrun by Lego and Shopkins, but my children have learned to negotiate their problems with each other and share.
Each unconquered mess resembles an accomplishment in a sense.
I rest in that as I sit thankfully mulling over the events of the day.
(I also compile a list of things I need to do with that nighttime window, since it seems to be the only time of day any chore gets completed.)
And there it is. Over. The baby is awake and needs to be held. Someone is whining in the other room over an un-shared snack and obstructed television. My work has just begun.
As I continue through my day, I just hope that wasn’t my only window.
And may your windows be long and bright!