Lesson Learned During Month Eight of Parenting Two: Cramming on a Whole New Level

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who thought she was the pinnacle of the Type As. She fashioned herself a multi-tasking extraordinaire and took pride in the fact that she possessed the magical ability to do things like listen to audio textbooks while getting in her daily run or carry on a phone conversation while grocery shopping. All the world was hers for the taking, as she had learned to efficiently navigate her life by whirling through her never-ending “To Do” list one task at a time. And then she had a baby. And then another one. And now, she’s unstoppable.

Okay, maybe I’m embellishing just a bit. I may not be unstoppable (Lord knows my two darling daughters and husband of seven years have been known to give me a run for my money every now and again), but I have definitely stepped up my game. And being a parent two has really allowed — er, forced — me to take my affinity for multitasking up to a whole new level — I can now handle three, if not more, tasks at once. At any given moment, you may find me on the phone, ordering my groceries via Peapod, nursing Elyse and keeping an eye and ear on Clara. Just for fun, you can even throw in noshing on a random snack or meal. This is just how I roll now. Or, this is just how I’m forced to roll as being the almost sole caregiver of three humans (myself included) does not allow for much extra time in the day. What I wouldn’t give for an additional hour (or 12) every once in a while! But since days here on Earth are only a short 24 hours long, I must work with what I’m given — so that means a lot of cramming.

I used to associate cramming with final exams. You know, you get a whole month/quarter/ semester to learn the material, but of course, you wait until the night before the big test to start reading said material. I know we’ve all done it — why do today that which can just be done tomorrow? Believe me, I can procrastinate with the best of them — and, in fact, I still do to a point (i.e. potty training). But, not everything can be put off (i.e. potty training) and some tasks must get completed in a timely fashion (i.e. did I already mention potty training?). This is where cramming comes in. I don’t cram because I procrastinated, though. I cram because I actually have a few free minutes at my disposal and must try to get as much accomplished in those precious few moments as possible. So, I basically spend a majority of my day running around the house finishing up those tasks that I started earlier, but didn’t get a chance to finish until now. You should see what I can get done in an hour. It’s astounding. If I ever had three straight hours to myself, I could take over the world.

So, during Elyse’s eighth month of life, she was learning to sit up while I was learning to

I can sit up!

appreciate just how crazy my life has become. As productive as cramming can be, it also seems to distract you just enough to completely absorb all of the time around you. I swear while I was rushing around trying to pack as much into my days as possible, I completely missed October. And how is it that Thanksgiving is two weeks from today and Clara will be three years old in a mere 17 days? Oh, and don’t even get me started on how Taylor was able to convince me to agree to putting up the Christmas decorations two weeks from now. Sometimes I wonder if it was even worth cramming the “Must Put Up the Fall Decor” task into that Tuesday afternoon not too long ago.

As the final hour of this chilly autumn day erases another Thursday from the calendar and I bring this reflection –my last task of the day — to a close, it is worth noting that in spite of all of the cramming, I do pack some downtime into my day. Just as all brides should take a moment to enjoy the fruits of their labor come their wedding day, I make sure to take a moment or two to enjoy the fruits of mine everyday. Today two of those moments consisted of resting on the floor beside the girls as Clara showed Elyse how to play with one of her favorite baby toys and watching Clara reduce her little sister to a fit of giggles when she pretended a discarded toilet paper roll was a telescope. It really are the little moments that make all of the cramming worthwhile — it’s just too bad that the only way I can find these moments is by rushing through a whole host of other ones…

As an aside, while I composed this week’s reflection, I was simultaneously nursing Elyse, eating a snack and icing my sore ankle. Multitasking FTW!

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