Every night after bedtime, I just want to sit down. But I’m not the type to sit and then get up and get things done. I get things done and then sit. With two of us working on the chores, we’re hardly done with things before 9:15pm, and if it’s only me, as it often is, I’m lucky to be settling down by 9:45pm. And that’s the bare minimum. When did I last mop the floors? Clean the bathroom? Vacuum? Scrub the tub that I put my kid in every night? When will I plant the garden? What will I do when I am on my own for four nights? But oh some nights how I long to just sit down and let it all go – no cat boxes to scoop, no dishes to do, no lunches to pack, no toys to put away. Not that night. That night I’ll just curl up and read for hours, choosing from one of the many books on my to-read list, before drifting off to a full night’s sleep, not awakening before my body feels ready or my alarm clock goes off, not jumping into action instead of easing into consciousness. Or maybe I’ll get up before the sun and meet myself on my mat, not worrying about turning lights on or flushing the toilet. Wouldn’t that be lovely. That seems far away. A distant memory. A day when I would come home, with nothing to do and wonder, what in the world should I do with my time? Life is different, that’s all there is to it. It’s no worse, in fact it’s much better, and just different. I wonder if other’s reflect as much on the difference or just move forward with no thoughts of the past. Maybe it’s just as much a part of getting older as it with being a parent. I see a young co-worker’s fun photos of weekend concerts and I remember all the really fun times I’ve had seeing Phish or Ani Difranco more times than I can count. Someday I know my daughter and I will do these things together. And then she’ll want to do them by herself, and that terrifies me too! I have to laugh at myself when I get so frustrated at her “fighting” with me about something as trivial as brushing her teeth – I know that in a matter or years, maybe even months, I’ll look back and laugh about the things I used to get upset about. She’ll be a teenager someday, and we’ll fight about much crazier things than teeth brushing! I think parenthood is a lot about lowering your expectations for yourself.
So maybe one day I’ll treat myself and just sit down after she goes to bed. But my rational self says, the dishes will still be there and the lunches will still need packing. The cat will get mad that her box isn’t scooped and just cause more mess to clean. As for the toys – who cares, they’ll be gotten out all over again tomorrow! Well, for now, I will use these feelings as a sign to really cherish the time I have – both with my family and with myself, and make them mean something. And hey, look at that, I’ve sat down and taken some time to myself now haven’t I? Feels rather therapeutic.