On having it all

Many years ago I read a quote on the art of trying to balance work and family and everything else. The woman (whoever she was) said: ‘you can have it all, just not at the same time.’

Which, in my current life is turning out to mean: on Mondays, I can run errands. On Tuesdays, I can cook a decent dinner. On Wednesdays I can spend time with my children. And on Thursdays I can clean the house. For it is not possible to do all of those things on the same day, unless a nanny and a housekeeper are involved. Or, at the very least, a baby who sleeps through the night.

So Wednesday rolled around and, since, Calgary had stopped impersonating Seattle with its grey skies and perpetual rain, I decided the best use of my time….would be to play outside with my kids. After all, I had some (homemade) frozen burritos in the freezer, which could serve as dinner. And save me from having to hole up in the kitchen with three children imploding around me.

When we got home from school, I put the baby down for a nap, and headed outside with the two older boys. The Gort had some ‘science’ homework due the next day: finding four different seeds and gluing them on to a piece of paper. So we sat on the pavement and dug through pinecones and various berries to see what kind of seeds we could find. And then we labeled the seeds with awesome names like ‘from a berry’. Because, dear teacher, I do not know the names of any of the plants that produce berries. Sorry.

After the homework, we sat down on a blanket with colored pencils and paper. The Gort and I tried to draw leaves, while he told me about chlorophyll. The Hen, who’s still in the scribble stage, filled three pages with wild, multi-colored artwork.

At some point the Gort said ‘mom, can I ride my bike on the sidewalk?’ Which was music to my ears. For whatever reason, the kid has displayed zero interest in riding a bike, or learning to ride a bike, and this has bothered his father, and me, because don’t all kids want to ride bikes? So I got very excited at the mention of the word ‘bike’ and agreed – very enthusiastically – that he was welcome to ride his bike on the sidewalk. ‘You see, Nicola’ I thought to myself, ‘kids really do learn at their own pace. He just wasn’t ready to ride his bike before now.’

And, the next thing I knew, there was my kid. On his bike.

Not what I’d envisioned. At all.

When it was close to dinner-time, I went inside to reheat my frozen burritos, and gather plates and utensils for a picnic in the yard. But, when I opened my plastic-burrito-container, there were only two burritos left. Apparently the professor had been taking them to work for his lunch.

Two burritos….for five people. Four of them, boys? That’s a problem, Houston.

Since the professor wouldn’t be home for at least another hour, I decided to feed the burritos to the boys and figure out something else for the adults. Later. So the boys nibbled on burritos and apple and peach. And then Mr. Johnson came home, earlier than expected. With a ‘what’s for dinner’ look on his face. I pointed to the burrito crumbs on the plate. And handed him a piece of apple. ‘Piece’…because I only had two apples.

After ‘dinner’ we capitalized on the beautiful evening and the pleasant demeanor of our children and went for a walk around the neighborhood that ended with a stop at the playground. Apparently our oldest has some sort of homing instinct when it comes to finding playgrounds.

It was a near perfect afternoon-evening. Except for the fact that I was starving.

10 thoughts on “On having it all

  1. There needs to be a rule that the people who are not in charge of maintaining the kitchen inventory must ask permission to take food.

    I have run into that exact scenario where I planned to use something we had in the pantry, only to find when I needed it that my dh had taken it. I have considered labeling food like in college – Mom’s, Dad’s, kids’.

    He approaches it as “when I was a child, I had to ask, but now that I am an adult, I should not have to.” But when he is not the one shopping, meal planning, and budgeting, then he does not know the purpose of said item and how its disappearance will end up hurting me the most.

    And then they wonder why we still have to treat them like a fourth child at times.

    1. I hear you D! I basically need Jason to (1) read my mind and (2) predict the future. I get mad at him when he lets leftovers go to waste. And I get mad at him when he eats leftovers that I’d intended for something else. It’s a lose-lose for him!

      1. Different state, same problems. And once this situation is mastered, I’d appreciate some work on getting the leftover containers back home in a timely manner. I simply cannot put soup in a sandwich box.

  2. Our 6-year-old has displayed zero interest in riding a bike as well. I figure he’ll be ready when he’s ready, or when the other kids start making fun of him (hopefully the former).

  3. What I want to know is why did you give your spouse the single piece of apple left? That is true self-serving”ness”, if ever I saw it! (OK I know that is not a word – it just fit).

  4. first of all,
    i am so ridiculously far behind on your blog that my reader has stopped showing me how many posts I’ve missed. It just keeps at a constant 17. I’m sorry. But I want you to know you’re not the only one. I’ve fallen off the face off blogearth–so overwhelmed that I can’t keep up with reading them or writing them.

    all to say, my ocd is tempting me to go back and reread every.single.post.i’ve.missed. so i can stop beating myself up about it. but instead i’m just going to content myself with knowing that someday these will all be published in a book, and i will be able to flip through the pages at my leisure.

    most of all. if anything super life changing happens, please let me know via email ;o)

    maybe when summer jayne comes back, i’ll have time for blogs again ;o)

    yours will be the first ;o)

    until then, i’ll stop in every now and then.

    You’re Great!!

  5. Shouldn’t all husbands read minds and predict the future?? Otherwise, what’s the point? 🙂

    And I love that pic of Gort on his, um, “bike.”

  6. Anne, you have no idea how much better you have made me feel about my kid’s lack of interest in his bike. I seriously see four year olds riding little bikes. Without training wheels, even! Ah Jaqui, just go sit on a beach in sunny Australia and then you’ll forget all about the two weeks of Fall! VS, I couldn’t agree with you more. Really. (The Gort might hate that picture when he’s in middle school, but for now…)

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