- Getting up at least two hours before it's time to leave to ensure that my children are up, fed, cleaned, and clothed, with fresh breath to boot. Oh, and me too.
- Packing the 867 things needed for the day, including but not limited to: an insulated lunchbox containing prepared breastmilk bottles, communication sheets for my daughter’s teachers, my breast pump and all parts needed to pump throughout the day, a freezer bag for the pumped milk, my children’s bookbags, my purse/diaper bag, and various odds and ends, such as extra clothes for the kiddos, snacks for me, solids for my daughter, my son’s nap blanket, etc.
- Dropping off my kids at “school,” which involves getting both of them in and out of carseats, keeping an eye on my toddler while navigating the parking lot with my baby in her heavier-by-the-minute carseat (and, more often than not, breaking a sweat before we even enter the building), getting each child in his/her respective classroom with all their belongings in their cubbies, checking in with two sets of teachers, and so on. Whew!
- Feeling like I have run a marathon by the time I actually get to work. What? The work day is just starting? Oh man.
- Putting in 150% while working full-time in a busy children’s hospital so that I can ensure I do not have to bring work home with me. This often means going non-stop from the time I walk through my office door until the time I leave and also managing to fit in 20-minute pumping sessions every 3 hours.
- Spending a good 30 minutes simply picking my children up from school, thanks to needing to gather their belongings, check in with their teachers, and…oh yeah, collect each of them. By this time of the day, I am too tired to lug the carseat around, which means bringing the stroller into the school so that I can push my daughter around while trying to track down my son, who can often be found running around outside with his friends at the opposite end of the building.
- Arriving home and bringing in the 867 things I took with me that morning, assuming I managed not to misplace anything along the way. Oh, and quickly getting my kids inside and out of the cuh-razy summer heat that envelopes the South this time of year.
- Starting on my mile-long to-do list to prepare for the following day. I won’t bore you with the details but will tell you it involves preparing the next day’s bottles with the milk I pumped, selecting outfits for myself and my little ones, gathering all breast pump parts, and so on. Trust me. It takes a long time. This also means I often do not change out of my work clothes until after both kids are in bed at 8:00 pm.
- Soaking up every.single.second. with my babies from the minute we get home until the minute their heads hit the pillow. This means trying to split the little time we have together each day equally between the two of them, so that neither feels slighted. This is hard. This means momma guilt when I feel like my time is unequally shared. Nonetheless, we do lots of science experimenting, imaginary playing, sports-engaging, block-building, book-reading, and memory-making in the weeknight hours we share.
- Trying to figure out dinner plans since, more often than not, at 5:30 pm we typically have NO IDEA what we will be eating that night. I despise cooking. Maybe, in part, because it takes time away from my children-and no, I don’t find it fun to get them involved in meal preparation when I can’t stand that activity myself. Blech.
- Attempting to squeeze in both “me” time and “hub” time after the kiddos go to bed. This means trying to do any or all of the following between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 pm: catching up with my hub; going for a run; drinking an adult beverage or two; checking off all the “to-do’s” from my laminated list for the following day; straightening up our "for sale" house so that it is ready for showing; doing dishes, laundry, and other household chores; showering; writing blog posts; watching DVRed shows; and so on.
- Finally passing out way later than I had originally intended, knowing that I will wash, rinse, and repeat the following day, assuming it’s a work day.
Y’all? This is exhausting. This is especially exhausting when my hub has to travel for work, and I am left to go it alone. Yee-ikes.
Much more importantly though, I am just not getting in enough time with my babies during these precious young years, which are apparently going by at warp-speed, because didn’t I just give birth to my nearly 3-year-old son yesterday?
While I certainly have a very rewarding professional career ahead of me, I feel an innate, heart-wrenching pull toward my little ones during this amazing, ever-evolving time in their lives.
What’s more, I read a quote recently that really struck a chord with me: You can do anything but you can’t do everything. I couldn’t agree more. I cannot be the kind of wife and momma I want to be while also doing my best to excel as a full-time pediatric neuropsychologist.
This is why, while I will still be Doc Momma, I am going to be a stay-at-home momma for a period of time after we move before eventually becoming part-time Doc Momma.
I couldn't be happier.
Cheers to more time with my family.