The Powerless Hours

Sometimes - MOST of the time - I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.*

*This may or may not involve overuse of Internet and/or interference from needy children.

Seeing as nobody is rushing to insert extra time (unless you count Daylight Saving Time, which all parents know is a colossal pain in the anus), I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to squeeze everything into the same twenty-four hours as everybody else.

One suggestion pops up over and over as the most practical solution to getting stuff done: do it in the morning before the kids wake up! Do it at night after they go to bed! This is the resounding advice about writing, particularly, from some of my favorite bloggers and authors. "Oh, I write while my kids are sleeping," they say casually, like it's easy or something.

It sounds so simple in theory, but here's my question: are people who do this some sort of superhumans whose brains just work whenever they need them to? Because getting mine to cooperate when it feels like sleeping is an exercise in futility.

My kids wake up just after six. (EVERY morning, not just on weekdays.) That would mean that in order to get anything done before they wake, I'd have to get up at like four-thirty or five. Like when it's still dark outside. Darkness signals that I'm still supposed to be sleeping. And when my body is forced to wake up when it's still supposed to be sleeping, it's not happy. It rebels in the form of crusty, heavy-lidded, blurry eyes and total brain-deadness. I peel open my lids, shuffle to the toilet, and sit there staring blankly for like five minutes after I've peed because I can't physically muster the strength to get up. My mind slogs numbly through the ten-bazillion things I have to do, and I feel defeated, and the urge to go back to bed is overwhelming and my eyes well up with tears, which is the only thing my body has the energy to do.

From that sleep-addled state, it takes me at least an hour to feel awake. And by that time, the kids are awake. So there goes my productivity. And yes, I know: this would be greatly enhanced with the drinking of some coffee, but I don't like it. As much as I've tried, I can't stomach the stuff. Boo hiss.

So we're on to Plan B: getting my crap done after the kids go to bed. Maybe this will work out better for me as my kids get older and more self-sufficient. But first of all, I practically have to herd the older three to bed with a cattle prod, and overseeing teeth-brushing alone is exhausting. ("Stop bothering your brother and brush your teeth. ... Yes, you have to use toothpaste. ... You didn't brush nearly long enough for them to be clean, do it again. ... Your toothbrush isn't even wet. ... Well the toothpaste tube wouldn't be gummy if you'd put the cap back on once in a while. ... Stop watching TV and brush your teeth. ... Yes, this is the only flavor of toothpaste that we have. ... No, you can't just brush the front. ... Stop running around and BRUSH! your TEETH!")

Then after the older three are in bed, I've still got a toddler to put to sleep - which, at this point, requires laying with him. Did I mention he sleeps in my bed? I have to lay my head on my own comfy pillow, in the darkness and quiet, and snuggle. Hoping this scenario won't make me tired is like taking six shots of vodka and hoping it won't make me drunk: completely unrealistic. So by the time he's asleep in fifteen or twenty minutes, I have to force myself out of the bed (if I'm not asleep myself). I can't even form a coherent sentence, let alone a quality blog post. And of course, I don't feel like doing laundry or unloading the dishwasher then. Because that sucks enough when you're not exhausted.

So until someone comes up with a way for me to snap awake and be brilliant at a moment's notice (come on, science!), I'm gonna have to keep trying to figure out how to get everything done during the day.

... Or just keep griping about it. I'm pretty good at that.


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