Posted by: penelopefly | November 12, 2008

Between Kids and Food Prep, Distractions are My Life

ulyssespostWhen my girls started school this fall, I expected that the three hours gifted to me each morning would open a whole new world. In my fantasy, this window of time would find me wearing chic clothing- deep cut shirts, cashmere, a heel maybe? All items I avoided in my daily food flinging, running after, bending over mommy life. While my girls were happily finger painting and learning their letters, I imagined myself heading downtown to the independent coffee shop where community activists, homosexuals, drum circle members, liberal professionals and artists hang out (typically without their children). There I would power on my computer and sit for the entire time, sipping espresso and polishing a story until it was as perfect as a tumbled stone.

Though, I did get to actually do this yesterday (not the perfect story part), most of my mornings look vastly different. Typically, I manage a few lines before the dogs arrive from their beds barking for food, then my youngest wakes up and requires PBS kids, blanket and milk. Maybe a sentence, a description of a hat perhaps, before it is time to wake my other child up. When food has been made: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, more coffee and they finally launch out the door, the kitchen looks like a raccoon has rummaged through it.

By the time I made it to the coffee house, I had 2 hours left. An hour into my work, I suddenly felt compelled to take a quick run to the grocery store to pick up dinner ingredients- doing this without children takes half the time and actually feels like a luxury. If I left right away, I could make it to my oldest daughter’s class in time to visit her during lunch (she loves this). Off I go.

How quickly I can replace my personal time with activities that serve my family. Yet, sometimes I think these distractions are self-imposed. As I head into my first semester of graduate school, I am hoping that I become more disciplined about protecting this time. Is this business of distraction a mother thing, a woman thing, or a Penelopefly thing? Is it rooted in guilt or simple procrastination? Thoughts?



  1. I know I self-impose distractions. I have tremendous guilt about taking time for me. My physical and mental health have both suffered. The four hours a week when both my children are in school, was going to be MY time. I was going to run, do yoga, read the paper. That lasted about two weeks. Now I use the time for grocery shopping, making gifts for my kids friends’ birthdays, cleaning the house and doing laundry. My husband is able to exercise or recreate without this guilt. Why can’t I?

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