Everything I have lived by when it comes to meal times, bedtime, candies, chocolates and french fries for the kids have, by now, gone out of the window.
Not entirely, but almost. I wonder how long more it would take before I totally say fuck it.
Our days are shorter but at the same time, longer.
Shorter because we are now right smack in the middle of a period where day light begins just before 8 a.m (that’s essentially 9 a.m if not for daylight savings) and it starts getting dark again at about 4 p.m.
And on some days when it’s foggy and rainy, the day feels like it’s been robbed out of its light. The only consolation to this is that short days are only seasonal. It’s a matter of time before we have longer days again.
Still that don’t bother me; at least not as much as our days getting longer and apart from me considering if I should re-consider working at all, there really isn’t much we could do.
It really has been some exhausting weeks as we re-juggled our routine around because our offices are too far away from where we live. These days we are out of the house before 7 a.m and we don’t get home almost 12 hours later.
For the kids, that means they are hauled out of bed before 6 a.m (resulting in very grumpy, tired kids), a long day outside of home in day-care, school then back to daycare. They get picked up by 6.30 a.m, have their dinner after 7 (sometimes 7.30 p.m when I realise they have nothing to eat so I need to whip up something quick) and only in bed after 7.45 sometimes even after 8 p.m.
They don’t usually sleep immediately and it would take them longer before they get to sleepy land.
Those timings are a far cry from my usual 5.30 pm dinner and no later than 6.30 p.m bedtime. Ask anybody who knows me and they’ll tell you that I can be quite the Nazi when it comes to routine. This happened in the last 6 years (after children).
With a flexibility range of +/- 35 minutes (sometimes up to an hour on special occasions), I’ve really been quite the stickler for routine. And darn proud of it.
These days, the timings I solemnly abide by have all gone out of the window since I started working. Getting the kids home before 6 and in bed by 6.30 p.m are unheard of these days. Hell! They’ll be lucky to even get fed by 7 p.m!
Our days have been loooong and I feel so sorry for the kids. They wake up exhausted every single day and by the end of the day, I see how shattered they are from the full-on stimulation when we pick them up from daycare.
Poor kids are usually the last few to get picked up too! While most kids would he happy to see their parents after a long day, ours didn’t really give a crap. In fact, for most of the time, it’s quite an effort to peel them away and hurry them up as the daycare will be closing for the day.
Funny little imps. I can only take that as a good sign.
For us, we spend a great deal on the road. We live too far away from our respective offices. On bad days (which have been often), it would take us more than 2.5 hours to get to work. And that’s one way.
And, on days when I have to take the public transport home, it would take me no less than 2 hours each way; but first with a stop-over to my in-laws to pick up the kids who have kindly spared us their time to help us release the monkeys from day-care.
It’s a whole new set-up, a whole new routine, plentiful of inconveniences and a bunch of screwed up timings. As much as I don’t like messing up with the kids’ meal and bed times, I have since given up feeling stressed out about it.
These days, I’m more nonchalant and sometimes, I find myself stretching their bedtime a little bit just so that I could spend a little bit more time cuddling with them. Some days, they are even begging to go to bed already!
“Mama, I’m really starving!” also seems to be a regular mantra these days when we pick them up from day-care. Not something I used to hear often, mind you but music to my ears nonetheless (because they really do want to eat!). I just feel bad that they have to wait while I prep.
On weekends, we are now mostly doing brunch or lunner. And lots of snacks in between.
As if that is not enough, I let them have more sugar than I used to (some chocolates here, ice-cream there, candies here and puddings there) and given the Dutch food culture, I am a little more lenient with them consuming french-fries, pancakes and hagelslags (chocolate sprinklers) than I used to.
I still have yet to hear them begging me to stop already with the sweets.
Heck! I’m baking even more than I used to, too.
Then comes the question: How long more before I actually say fuck it (with proper meal times, early bedtime and lesser sugary food)?
Internally, I have to admit that I’m struggling. After more than 6 years in training, twice over, I cringe in discomfort with the kids erratic meal times, bedtime and sugar/junk intake. Í don’t like the idea one bit.
But in reality, I think I’m kind of there with the fuck it (with timing and routine). Until we find another place elsewhere to go back to some decent timings, we’ll just have to wing it. Along with errands, laundry, ironing, chores and cleaning up after 3 cats thrown in.
The good news is: Despite the erratic routine, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, we are still breathing, the kids are still alive and the cats are still around (although there have been the odd occasions we forgot to top up their bowl).
At the very least, we have a roof over our heads and we are not starving. Something to be thankful for. Time will tell if the kids will grow up to be dysfunctional or get the crazies. I’ll keep you posted.
That is the long and short of things. Bring it on!