I never feel fully prepared for my job. Papers sit ungraded for weeks and lessons are planned at the very last minute. Keys are left at home, passwords are forgotten and deadlines are missed. I'm late for morning help, behind in my curriculum and I can never seem to find a pencil.
At the same time, I never feel fully engaged as a parent. My kids spend nearly nine hours at daycare/preschool. NINE. The morning is a delicate fusion of mad rush and gentle coaxing. Getting the kids out of their nice, warm beds and comfy pajamas in order to be at their respective schools by the ungodly hour of 7:30 am. Prying toys out of their little hands and shoving waffles down their throats as we stuff their arms into jackets and strap them into car seats. We drop them off, give them kisses and hugs and don't see them again until around four o'clock that afternoon.
Some weeks are better than others. Some weeks we almost seem to make it all work. This was not one of those weeks.
The brief time we spent as a family was earsplitting. Liam was crying. Will wasn't listening. Liam was screaming. Will was acting crazy. They were fighting over toys and snacks and sippy cups. Liam demanded to play with staplers and scissors and kitchen utensils; preferring to just dump his eleventy billion toys all over the floor and throw them against the wall rather than actually play with them. Will was running in circles, refusing to share or clean up and
talking shouting like a baby, giving us his best "Max" impression.
From experience in my work, I've learned that when a lesson goes badly, the students are rarely to blame. It's usually the structure of the lesson or the decisions made by the instructor that are responsible. I have a similar attitude towards parenting.
Bill and I were tired this week-- mentally and physically. We didn't get down on the floor and play. We didn't pull up a chair and color. We cooked and cleaned. We gave baths and changed diapers. We dolled out snacks and brought down baskets of toys from shelves too high to reach. We warned and yelled and gave time-outs, but ultimately, we weren't in the trenches as usual. We were counting down the hours until bed time, wishing away the few precious hours that should be most important.
So I'm renewing a promise that I often make and occasionally forget. Dishes and laundry can wait and dinner can be grilled cheese or pancakes and eggs. Mental baggage from work can be checked at the door. When patience has been depleted at the end of a school day, it must be renewed. When energy is exhausted, it must be restored.
Next week will be better.
And in the meantime... thank God it's Friday.