Sometimes in the early evening I find myself sitting down.
This is dumb.
As you should never really sit down if you have small children. Because if you sit down, you will never get back up. And if you don’t get back up, how will you get everything done you need to do? (Besides developing a meth habit, of course.)
So there are two mantras I’m currently focusing on to get me through the evenings with the kids.
- Don’t sit down.
- Don’t look at your phone.
Did you know these two things are related? Because they are. If I sit down, I will look at my phone. And if I look at my phone, I will want to sit down. And then I will fall down an iPhone rabbit hole and my kids and house will be neglected and it will be like “Cat’s in the Cradle” but even sadder because I’m a mom and I’m sitting next to them but I’m not with them.
I have two or three hours with my kids at the end of the day. I have two or three hours to get on top of the housework.
Did you know I’m kind of messy? It’s true. I’m a messy person. And so is my husband and my children.
But when I think of all the bad things you can be in your life — a liar or a cheat or a mean person or a white supremacist — being a messy person really isn’t up there. So I forgive myself for this fault.
But just because I forgive myself, doesn’t mean I can’t work on it.
So, I need to be efficient. I need to be picking up things off the floor. I need to be straightening up or packing lunches or folding laundry or washing the dog bowl or any of the amazing, mystical things moms get to do day in and day out.
That means: No sitting down. No staring at my phone. My magical, magical phone.
This is hard.
This is hard even though my children are much more interesting than my phone (even though they don’t know tomorrow’s weather forecast). My phone is my comfort zone. If things get overwhelming, and sometimes in family life they do, my happy place is looking at my phone. It’s just a nice reset. But just because I may need a reset doesn’t mean that I should be more absorbed in my phone than in the precious few hours I have with my kids. Or the precious few hours I have to make sure my house doesn’t get swallowed alive by pantry moths.
Now when I get home at 5, I keep these two things (1. Don’t sit down. 2. Don’t look at your phone) in the front of my consciousness.
I went to college. I can remain standing for two or three hours and not look at my phone and be present for my children. I CAN DO THIS. And, usually, if I keep thinking about it and working at it (don’t look at your phone; don’t sit down) I don’t.
And then, at 8, when the kids are in bed, I look at my phone and sit down like WHOA. (Actually, that is a lie: I sit down, look at my phone, and turn on the TV.)
And it is glorious.