This morning I got up a 4:30 A.M. I drove to a doctor's appointment 45 minutes away, then quickly turned around, so I could be back in time for my husband to drive an hour to his job. Then, I did a workout. Afterwards, I got my three kids up, dressed, fed and off to school, which involves putting one on the bus, and driving two. I stopped for gas. I checked my email, walked the dog, and did a load of laundry. All before 9:30.
This is what a typical day is like for me, so when I read mom Liz Petrone's Facebook post about everything she accomplishes before many people even wake up, I was like, um, yeah I get it. And clearly, a lot of other parents do as well!
"This morning I woke four sleepy humans," Petrone begins her viral post. "Some I gently patted, some I prodded, and one I pulled the covers off and tried to roll onto the floor when the pat and the prod fell short. I'm not proud of that last one."
She goes on to recount how she made five beds, took a shower, flushed three toilets, and, most importantly, "made two very strong cups of coffee."
Petrone's post continues with an account of the start of her day that would make most people just want to get back in bed and hide under the covers! Between hassling her kids to brush their teeth, driving carpool, waiting at the bus stop, while her younger kids got stuck in a tree, and then dealing with all the emotions of sending your children off to school, and then walking back to an empty house, to say this mama had a full morning is an understatement. But it was far from over.
"I cleaned their breakfast out of my car and my kitchen and my hair," she goes on to write. "I dismantled pillow forts and unhooked Paw Patrol underwear from table lamps and threw in a load of laundry and reapplied the lip gloss I'd left on four cheeks in goodbye kisses. I fed and watered the dog and wiped down the counter and turned off the TV and the coffee maker and a hundred lights and locked up and fielded 12 text messages and 2 phone calls and 384 red lights."
And yes, this was all before 9:00 A.M.
"By the time I sit in my chair at work and fire up my computer, my Fitbit says I have walked 2.5 miles," Petrone writes. "All just to get us ready and out of the house."
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She is quick to add, "I don't tell you this to look for sympathy. Not at all. I am lucky to have a job that affords me flexibility. I am lucky to have a job. I am lucky to have four healthy kids and not need to spend extra hours taking care of special needs or going to extra doctor's appointments or managing an IEP with the schools. I am lucky to live in a culture where women can and do work freely outside of the home. I am lucky to be healthy enough myself to mostly manage all this."
The reason this mom is sharing an account of her busy start to the day: She is sick of people saying to her, "wow, it sure must be nice to be able to waltz into work at 9:00am."
There was no waltzing! We moms know there is no waltzing, at any time of the day. There is scheduling our needs around our kids. There is praying you'll find time to shower before having to go out in public. There is furiously sipping coffee while you brush hair into ponytails, and make beds, and pour cereal. There is making sure all your kids have their lunches and water bottles, and homework, and shoes on. But no waltzing.
"To the working mamas, I feel you," Petrone ends her post. "I feel you so hard right now. But more than that, to ALL the mamas, I'm raising my cup of (now cold) coffee. You keep on doing you, sister, whatever that looks like."
Petrone told Parents that she understands why the blog post resonated with so many parents. "I think it's because as parents we are all being pulled in so many directions at once, regardless if we work or stay at home," she says. 'Society only seems to value as 'work' the time that we spend earning wages, but I'd argue that some of the hardest work is taking place outside of the office. Raising small children is beautiful, but it's also really hard."
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She adds that we busy moms don't have time for judgment. Amen to that! And I join this mom in saluting all the parents who lived an entire lifetime, seemingly, well before noon.