Thursday, January 26, 2006

Unsolicited Advice from the Mother of Chaos

I have some utterly unsolicited advice for all those out there who may be considering a return to the workforce after, say, two years at home with their Adorable Offspring™.

Unless you have a personal valet to follow you around ‘handling it’ all for you, don’t attempt to start work on the Monday following a five day trip. Especially if said trip involved most of your ‘work-appropriate’ clothing being packed in a suitcase and worn during said trip. Doubly so if you also have an Uber Commute – one that, say, has you standing on a train platform at 6:00 in the morning which you won’t see again until 7:15 that night.

Because what will happen is this: come Thursday, you will find that you have no clean bras, are wearing the same pair of pants again and hoping nobody notices and/or gives a darn, have dug a sweater out of the dirty clothes and, upon sniffing deeply, decided that it will do for now because otherwise, well, you’ll just be going to work topless and for most of us – that’s a bad thing.

I share this with you because I care. I don’t want anybody else to go through the kind of mayhem I’ve been enjoying this week. We got back from our trip at almost 7:00 Sunday evening – and I had to be at the train station by 6:00 the next morning. I had planned to do a load or two of laundry, put together some lunch stuff, etc. etc. etc.


The suitcase still hasn’t even made it upstairs. It is sprawled open in the middle of the downstairs hall, and both the husband and myself have been picking items out of it all week. “Oh, there’s my belt!” “…I’ll just grab a pair of underwear here…” “…are my new earrings still in here?”


I’ve also forgotten my lunch three times. Well, Monday I didn’t bring one because I didn’t know what the ‘lunch’ situation might be (fridge/no fridge/microwave/ban on eating at desks, who knew what mania might be attached to consuming calories in this new world?!). But the rest of the week…I just forgot. Shot right out the door and didn’t realize I’d forgotten until I was already on a train chugging over the hills.

And let me tell you, nothing irks me like shelling out $6 for a lukewarm meal of greasy chow mein noodles and steam-table kung pao chicken. Add to that the dreaded ‘every single meal out’ routine and you’ve got one pissed off and $20 poorer mommy stomping the mean streets. $6 for coffee (very good coffee, but still!) and a scone for breakfast. $6.50 for lunch. $5 for a truly vile cup of coffee-flavored that had as its one and only redeeming value the fact that it was hot enough to remove barnacles from the underbelly of a tanker and a stale muffin in the evening. Plus another $3 for a mocha with ‘the team’ to be sociable after the meeting.

The majority of the problem is that I have no work-groove yet. I don’t have a system. No procedure. A complete lack of A Plan. I have nothing I can grab ‘real quick’ for breakfast or afternoon tea, no stockpile of muffins (prepackaged or otherwise), no cookies (ooooooh, the sheer unmitigated horror of a house with NO COOKIES IN IT!!!!!!), no stash of pre-measured baggies loaded with nuts, crackers, dried fruit or anything else to sustain the system in the late afternoon.

It isn’t that I don’t know to do these things. I’ve even stood in front of the cabinet where I usually keep the pre-loaded baggies staring at the dried pasta resentfully thinking, Where are my dried apricots?!

Oh. Yeah. Didn’t…do that part yet…

The good news, of course, is that the weekend is a mere day and a half away. I’ve got two whole days to sleep in, plan the meals, do laundry, clean the bathrooms, get the suitcase put away, bag up my edibles, pat the children on their little heads, vacuum, dust, polish the silver, do my yoga and Pilates, hit up the library, supermarket and dry cleaners, pay the bills, catch up on the stock market news…


Very Herodotus said...

You are gone for more than 12 hours every day? Good lord!! How can you get anything done? You must be wiped out.

I leave the house at about 8:15, drop the kids at daycare, and am to work around 9:30. I won't get home until 6:15-6:30, and my kids go to bed an hour after that. So I only see my kids for an hour in the morning and another hour at night. And I am always feeling sorry for myself that it's not enough. I can't imagine 12 hour days. Truly. I'd be a basket case.

PipneyJane said...

6am to 7.15pm? I thought this commute was only an hour each way. What sort of hours do they expect you to put in?

- Pam (I was expecting you to be on 9 to 5 or 8 to 4)

21st Century Mom said...

I hope it gets easier for you soon!