Friday, August 01, 2008

"Who I Admire (and Adore)" by Carol S.

Introducing Jack, the almost-6-year-old son of my office mate and my newest bestest friend, Rebekah who, in her mid-30's, is mostly buddy but also just a tiny bit daughter for me. I adore her good-natured humor, her warmth, her total optimism, her smarts, and... well, her KIDLETS, Jack and Nora.

I mean, look at this face:

Admit it -- all it took was one glance and you were in love too, huh?

Don't tell the Big Boss (who happens to be away on vacation), but Jack spent an hour or so at the office today and just blew me away with his smarts, his charm, his ability to draw an ice cream cone eating snake with wings half in and half out of a river, and -- let's face it -- his disarming good looks. (I asked him to be my boyfriend, but he turned me down... and with a giggle, no less!)

Rebekah is a fellow project manager who has made a fine art of project management -- not just at work, but 24 hours a day. You know what my day looks like and how stressful this job is because I've whined and kvetched about it repeatedly on this blog. But how dare I complain! Rebekah has basically the same job I have, but in addition to the gazillion details and balls to keep in the air at work she's a single mom to these two sweet, adorable kids (who, by the way, I get to babysit for on Sunday)! I won't get into details of her life here, but let me just say that she deserves only the very best and I know that someday she'll find it. And that she has my complete and total admiration.

She mentioned yesterday that she'd sent a run-down of her daily schedule to her mom (who she says I'm "exactly like, and not at all like") and I asked her to share it with me.

Then I begged her to allow me to share it with you. Hold your breath and ready that rum and Coke because when you finish reading this, you'll need it:

"5:30 AM Alarm goes off. Sigh. Press snooze
5:39 AM Snooze again
5:48 AM Ok, just one more time
5:56 AM Get out of bed grudgingly
6:00 AM Push 'start' on coffee maker; while coffee is being made, unload dishwasher, make lunch for the day
6:15 AM Take coffee downstairs to basement where breast pump is set up; pump. Check work email on cell phone. Read day's news on cell phone
6:30 AM Put milk in fridge, wash breast pump and containers - get things ready to sterilize later
6:40 AM Take a shower; use shower to wake up, making up for the fact that I'm drinking decaf coffee
6:50 AM Contemplate getting out of the shower
6:55 AM Get out of the shower; feel guilty about water usage and killing our planet. Moisturize and throw on bathrobe
7:00 AM Start hair and makeup.
7:10 AM Stop hair and makeup because Jack is up and wants breakfast. Give morning hugs and kisses.
7:11 AM Realize that Nora is also awake
7:13 AM Change Nora's diaper, dress her. Challenge jack to get dressed and "beat" Nora to the finish line.
7:20 AM Everyone is dressed (except me) and ready for breakfast. Start breakfast
7:25 AM Nora starts fussing; needs to eat. Warm some of the milk in the fridge.
7:28 AM Give Jack a bottle to feed Nora. Finish making breakfast. Put breast pump funnels into microwave to sterilize.
7:32 AM Give Jack breakfast, pack up breast pump.
7:35 AM Eat my own breakfast with Jack; feed Nora while I eat.
7:37 AM Remind Jack to sit in chair and eat.
7:39 AM Remind Jack to sit in chair and eat.
7:41 AM Remind Jack to sit in chair and eat.
7:45 AM Nora is done with bottle; burp her. Finish own breakfast.
7:50 AM Put Nora in bouncy seat; go get dressed.
8:00 AM Nora is fussing. Change diaper.
8:05 AM Finish hair and makeup while Nora lays on the changing table in the bathroom.
8:10 AM Wonder where Jack is.
8:15 AM Round up Jack because he's outside without shoes and he hasn't had breakfast.
8:17 AM Demand Jack finish breakfast; become frustrated; put Nora in the swing.
8:20 AM Start packing up the car - laptop bag, breast pump, diaper bag, 2 bottles, lunch, Jack's backpack.
8:22 AM Jack has eaten half his bagel, which is good enough. Ask Jack to find his shoes while I gather everything for the car.
8:25 AM Ask Jack to find his shoes.

8:27 AM Ask Jack to find his shoes.
8:30 AM Jack has found shoes, car is packed up, but Nora is now tired and cranky.
8:31 AM Put shoes on, turn off all lights, tell Jack to get buckled in car, put keys in door.
8:35 AM Buckle Nora in car seat; await screaming.
8:36 AM Quickly lock house and get Nora's car seat in car. Run around to my side and start car. The motion from the car will quiet the baby.
8:38 AM Start to back up, but notice Jack isn't buckled. Tiredly instruct Jack to buckle (again)
8:40 AM Back out of driveway with screaming baby and race down street.
8:43 AM Nora asleep.
9:00 AM Drop Jack off.
9:05 AM Race to get to the freeway, only to …
9:15 AM … sit in traffic
9:40 AM Arrive at Nora's daycare. She wakes up. Give kisses, instructions, etc.
9:50 AM Leave
9:51 AM Let out enormous sigh of relief that everyone is where they should be
10:00 AM Arrive at work; realize I'm ready for a nap and in need of some caffeine.
10:30 AM Think about pumping but put it off.
10:55 AM Realize I must pump THIS MINUTE or explode.
11:00 PM Pump (or as I like to say, "contact my suppliers")
11:20 PM Back to work; eat lunch at desk and try to get as much work done as possible.
1:20 PM Call Farah to see when I should feed Nora.
2:00 PM Leave to go see baby and nurse; check work email on phone and respond (typing with one hand).
2:40 PM Back to work.
3:55 PM Pack up everything so I can leave right at 4; get urgent email from client that needs to be responded to asap …
4:15 PM Crap! Still at work. Leave in a huff, listening to the traffic report as I race off to get the baby.
4:20 PM Pick up and pack up Nora.
4:30 PM Leave daycare to find that the traffic dude was right: it is a mess; sit in traffic and stew.
5:30 PM Arrive to pick up Jack, apologizing furiously. Chat with whoever is watching him.
6:15 PM Arrive home; unpack car.
6:30 PM Try to ignore messy house and start dinner; sterilize bottles/breast pump while making dinner.
6:35 PM Nora is hungry. No time to nurse; warm bottle.
6:38 PM Argue with Jack about feeding her a bottle.
6:40 PM contemplate running away to Tahiti as Nora screams from hunger and Jack screams in exhaustion/defiance.
6:42 PM Refuse to make dinner until Jack feeds the baby; Jack complies.
7:00 PM dinner is served.
7:05 PM ready to explode again; sneak downstairs and pump.
7:10 PM yell at Jack to stop spying on me and go back upstairs.
7:12 PM use convincing tone to say, no, seriously, GO UPSTAIRS.
7:20 PM Put milk in fridge, pour glass of wine, start shower for Jack.
7:23 PM Get Jack in shower; change Nora's diaper and put her in jammies and swaddle blanket.
7:27 PM Wash jack's hair.
7:30 PM Get Jack out of shower, moisturize and get him in jammies.
7:35 PM Ask Jack to brush his teeth.
7:36 PM Ask Jack to brush his teeth.
7:38 PM Ask Jack to brush his teeth.
7:40 PM Have Jack go to the bathroom and get in bed while I put Nora in her bed.
7:41 PM Nora is very sleepy. Put her in crib; turn on Fisher-Price aquarium; give pacifier.
7:43 PM Sneak out of room.
7:44 PM Find Jack doing something besides being in bed; scold
7:45 PM Get books and get in bed with Jack.
7:47 PM Start to read but hear Nora fussing.
7:48 PM Go in room, turn on aquarium again, plug in pacifier; tiptoe out.
7:50 PM Get back in bed and finish reading.
8:05 PM Cuddle and talk about the day.
8:15 PM Make some excuse about getting out of bed; make Jack lay very still with eyes closed until I return.
8:30 PM Praise genius plan when I return to find him sacked out. Nora is also asleep.
8:31 PM Rejoice … then furiously clean kitchen, putting breakfast and dinner dishes in dishwasher.
8:40 PM Boil water to sterilize breast pump and the days bottles; get coffee ready for next day.
8:45 PM Make up bottles for the next day; put in fridge.
8:50 PM Start laundry/dishwasher, etc.
9:00 PM Pick up living room.
9:10 AM Put Nora's clothes for next day on changing table.
9:15 PM Put on pajamas, brush teeth, wash face.
9:25 PM Boot up computer and get online with work.
11:00 PM Finish work (or just stop because so. very. tired …); pack up laptop.
11:05 PM Go downstairs to pump; try not to fall asleep.
11:25 PM Wash breast pump and container bottles and quickly sterilize in microwave for next morning.
11:35 PM Get in bed.
11:36 PM Asleep.
3:45 AM Wake up because Nora is fussing; get her from crib and nurse her in bed.
4:00 AM Doze off again.
5:30 AM Alarm goes off. Time to start another day!"

I know that I had days a bit like that when I had four kids under the age of five, but I didn't have the commuting and daycare part of it. And when Rebekah says "back to work," she's leaving out about a million different details of her job, from meeting with clients to devising project briefs and workback schedules and juggling contractors and, yes, keeping those pesky balls in the air.

So my nomination for Mother of the Year goes to my dear friend, Rebekah, who does it all without complaint, with a smile on her face, and with a sarcastic wit that keeps me laughing all day. (And in case you're wondering -- yes, she is beautiful, too.)

I want to be just like her when I grow up.

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kim-d said...

Okay, I did not have time to read Rebekah's whole list right now, but I WILL come back and read it because, HELLO??? Project/Life Manager Extraordinaire. And I would be back anyway, because I DO LOVE ME A RED-HEADED CHILD :)!

Shriyansi said...

Ok, that made me feel like an absolute wuss for complaining about how busy and tired I am!! I knew she was busy, but this is incredible!! My admiration for her just rocketed through the roof... again!! :)

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