Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Working Mom's Long Day

It was a long day.

Up at 4:30. (Ada is really a trooper when she's sick, but she takes it out on us by getting up extra-early.) I drowse and nurse until 5, when Ada decides it is time to crawl-dance around the bed. I pick her up and we go downstairs.

At 5:45 Ada decides she's tired. I put her in bed and crawl into my own bed. Despite setting my alarm for 6:15, I wake up at 6:30 when Chris pokes me. I make a mental note to get a new alarm clock one of these days. I shower, dress and put my stuff together before Ada wakes up again. I pick her up, kiss her and hand her over to Chris before leaving the house.

On the way out I notice that the tomatoes I planted this weekend are looking wilty, so I grab the watering can. After an hour drive I'm at the office. I work on the introduction to my report, review my presentation, pump, talk to my boss, check only a few blogs. I try to decide whether it is better to wear a slightly stained (what is that, milk? toothpaste?) sweater or a ten year old suit jacket to the presentation. My big boss assures me that it is ok not to wear hose, for which I am eternally grateful.

I hold out until 11:15 before eating my leftover husband-made shrimp fra diavolo. At noon I take a short walk to the farmer's market (snap peas and shortbread cookies). I talked to this great woman standing on the corner with a pro-peace sign:The sign behind her reads: "War, An Unnecessary Evil" How awesome is she, standing on the corner with half a dozen other pro-peace activists, just letting people know how she feels? So awesome. When I am 70 I hope I am half as cool as this woman.

Back at the office I start to get nervous about my presentation. For some reason it is scarier to talk to a group when they are all up in big chairs in a semi-circle around you than it is to talk when everyone is sitting around a table. I'm thinking it would have been less stressful if I'd been presenting to this group instead:
I arrive early and sit in the back of the almost-empty hearing room. I introduce myself to the woman staffing the task force and scope out the members to get a better sense of the their level of interest and knowledge. When it is my turn I walk up to the desk as the previous presenter is getting up. This woman, who administers a program at my old agency, smiles broadly when she sees me. She's one of those people that always looks in command and under control, so I am buoyed by her small gesture.

The presentation goes fine, but I intermittently feel that my tongue is too big for my mouth. I don't say anything obviously stupid, but I wonder whether I should be so casual with these people. Plus, I forget the etiquette, and only remember half-way through the meeting when Joel addresses the legislators correctly. Damn.

I stop by the office to pick up my milk bottles, cookies and sweater. I talk to my big boss about the presentation and vainly attempt to organize my files. The ride home takes 80 minutes. Instead of using the time to talk to a cross-country friend I listen to OPB's coverage of yesterday's primary. I decide that it is okay that I didn't turn in my ballot. This was first time in as long as I can remember that I've missed a chance to vote, but apparently I was not alone. With only about 30 percent turn-out, apparently a few of my fellow Oregonians were unmotivated as well.

I'm home in time to sit on the bed with Chris and Ada. She is in a great mood, and he's pretty happy too. I start the bath and then go downstairs to clean up a little before nursing Ada. When I put Ada in bed she looks up at me with a little smile before turning over to talk to herself a little before sleep.

While I plant the few remaining plants that I've been putting off dealing with, Chris makes us (a delicious) dinner and mojitos. I send a work email and then eat, read blogs, vegetate in my post-mojito stupor. (What a cheap date I've become!) I should be heading to bed but instead I'm watching Lost from earlier tonight. And thinking how great I have it.


  1. Thanks for sharing that. I am amazed at how much you accomplish in a day and still have brain cells leftover to blog.

  2. Wow. That is impressive. I am always amazed at American mothers who are able to work and tough it out with nursing. We are fotunate in Canada to have a year off with pay, and still only one in 6 moms nurse to the 6 month mark. So kudos to you for doing it all.

    PS: Apparently John Coltrane's son is playing at one of our Jazz festivals this weekend (Toronto has 3). I might try to check it out and let you know how it goes.

  3. That is a long day.

    I love that you dwell on the best of it all and your good fortune in your lovely, healthy family overall. Blogging is good when I read stuff like this. Have a great weekend.

  4. you're one of the most poised people i have ever met, i can't imagine you being nervous, but it sounds like your cleaned up all over the place. nothing like a long day that turns out to be a rewarding one, no?

  5. It's hard sometimes to realize you've got it so good, much less at the end of a long day. Great perspective. (I still cant get used to be up and moving around at 5:30- seriously- 5:30!? Don't they know it's riddiculous to get up before 6?)