A Day in the Life

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living
The alarm on my phone is chiming away and I reach over and fumble around until I've turned it off. Pale sunlight fills the room and I reluctantly push back the fluffy down comforter and stumble into the bathroom to begin the day.

I shower and dry my hair, smear concealer under my eyes, pluck an errant eyebrow hair, and hurry down the hall to the toddler's room, where he's slowly ramping up from his early morning chirps and burbles to the thing where he angrily rabbit-kicks the side of the crib. He greets me with an excited monologue about horses as I wrestle him onto the changing table and into his clothes.

My 4-year-old emerges from his room, stark naked, and demands to know where his shorts are. We find them in plain view next to the bed (men!) and both kids run into the bathroom to chatter at their showering father.
In the kitchen, I toast waffles and pour milk while priming the coffeemaker and dumping chicken into the Crock-Pot. As the kids eat, I gulp coffee, fry myself an egg, remind the 4-year-old for the thousandth time to feed the dog, and put away the bags of food which have been delivered overnight by Amazon's grocery service.

I rush back to the bedroom to get dressed as my husband helps the kids into their shoes, and everyone kisses everyone else good-bye at the door before I drive toward work and my husband takes the kids to school. During my traffic-choked commute, I listen to an iTunes U lecture about the gastrointestinal system and try to remember what the hell the pancreas does, since I've got a nutrition class quiz tomorrow.

At work, I do my work thing, taking a break at lunchtime to make phone calls for pediatrician appointments, download class notes, and research upcoming preschool soccer schedules.

On my way home, I listen to NPR, because the soothing voices are a nice distraction from the ever-present traffic, and I try to remember what enzymes do. 

When I get home, I cook noodles and cut apple slices for the kids, pour juice and milk, prepare the Crock-Potted chicken, empty the dishwasher and put the dirty stuff in, pull the wet laundry out and toss it in the dryer, and greet the kids at the door when my husband's truck pulls up. We eat a chaotic, messy dinner and talk about bugs and Transformers, then we head out to the backyard to hunt Decepticons.

At 6 p.m., I cajole the 4-year-old into his swimming gear, pack up his towel and a change of clothes, and rush off to the aquatic center for his lesson. Afterward, he takes a bath back at home to rinse off the chlorine, and everyone gets into pajamas and we sit down to watch a nature show, which unfortunately includes a rather graphic glimpse of a shiny red monkey penis.

At bedtime, I hold the toddler in the rocking chair and we sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" while my husband reads books with the 4-year-old, then we quietly close doors and tiptoe away. I go to the living room, struggle into my running gear, and head out the door for a 3-mile run, which I have no interest in whatsoever, but it's either this or setting the alarm for 5 a.m., so.

When I'm done, I slip into comfy yoga pants and crack open my nutrition textbook for half an hour, and I try to remember what the liver does. 

It's getting late so my husband shuts his computer down, I put my school stuff away, and we settle into the couch for an episode of Firefly. Afterward, I head down to the bathroom to soak in a tub full of bubbles until my fingers are wrinkly, then I crawl into bed where I email and Twitter on my phone for a bit. Briefly, I open the book that's on my bedside table, but I only get a few pages in before I'm fading, so I put it away and click off the light and I'm ... out.

I'm amazed by how much you can really stuff in a day if you try, but it's true there isn't room for everything. Sometimes, something has to give. In my case, it's reading for pleasure. I used to read all the time; I'd spend entire evenings and weekends with my nose in a book, but no more. Now I'm lucky if I can through a decently paced book in ... well, a month, sometimes.

When I look at my life these days, I see a rich and busy existence. It's tiring sometimes, and the balance can get off-kilter when unexpected things happen (see also: midnight barfing). But overall, I'm happy. My kids are happy. Our family is doing well. 

But man, I miss reading things that aren't focused on, say, the small intestine.

How about you? Have you had to give up something important in order to make the pieces fit in your busy life?
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