I spend too much time rushing. Rushing to get out in the morning. Rushing to work. Rushing from meeting to meeting. Rushing to meet child care pick up times.
Rushing to feed the kids. Rushing to get out the door to some kind of evening activity. Lately it feels like I am constantly watching the clock and trying not to be late.
A few weeks ago when our four-year-old was sick, I saw the other side. I stayed home with him for a week and worked remotely while he slept, watched a show or just quietly snuggled on me. Everything about that week was different from a usual one in our house. Most notably was how much better everyone’s moods were, including mine.
Because we didn’t have to fly out the door at exactly 7:30, our mornings were much more relaxed. I ate breakfast with the kids rather than packing lunches while they ate. I was able to chat with them and be ‘present’ as they got ready to leave in the morning. I’m usually getting myself ready, loading our son in the car and throwing computer bags and his backpack in the truck while the girls are getting dressed and ready. There were no morning fights about ponytails, dilly-dallying and lost mittens. I also remembered every library day, gym day and hot lunch day.
To top it all off, because I didn’t have to drive anywhere, I was actually online and working earlier than usual.
In a usual week, I arrive home around 5:15. This is the time we need to pick the girls up at their sitters and to make it is one of the maddest dashes of all. We tend to fly in right on time (or a few minutes late) after leaving work, picking up our son and nephew at their preschool, dropping our nephew at home on the way and fighting traffic to make it home. On most days, we then have 30 minutes to feed the kids and have them get ready so that we can make 6pm starts for basketball, Sparks and Brownies.
The week I was home, though, I was able to work until later in the day than usual. I was able to put something in the oven for supper so we ate much healthier meals than usual. The girls were able to come home for 5pm which, when combined with healthy meals being ready to eat just after they got in, made for a much more relaxed pre-activity supper.
Although working from home on a regular basis isn’t an option for me at this particular moment in time, I have to admit that I found myself happier, more productive and feeling more in control of my life than I have in a long time. At the same time, the kids were fighting less, talking more, eating healthier and seemed much happier themselves.
It was truly eye-opening and definitely something that has stayed with me. Although I wouldn’t ever wish for a really sick and lethargic child, that week showed me how small changes in a household can actually change the entire dynamic of the house. It made me change some habits – I became a better meal planner and it made me try to get up a little earlier in the mornings so that I can get some of my stuff done earlier.
It’s not perfect but it’s better than it was. Baby steps.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller