There are infinite ways to be tortured as a mother. There’s guilt for working too much or not
working at all. There is the torture of
sleeplessness and the constant chaos that comes with raising children. There are also all the worries that nip and
tug at my serenity all the time—worries about money, bullying, eating
disorders, discipline and the sexualization of our little girls. All of it tortures me.
But the thing that tortures me the most is something that should be as welcome as a glass of water
to a woman lost in the desert: one free
hour. When I am in the frenzy of
balancing work and motherhood—as I’m running to pick kids up or drop them off—I
fantasize about how luxurious and decadent it will feel to have one free hour
Then, when then it happens, I freeze. The little chihuahua that is my brain spazzes
out because I can’t decide how to spend my one precious hour. I spend the first 10 minutes trying to decide
“the best” way to proceed. Sleep? Read? Write a blog post? Call a friend? Go
for a run? Get a massage? Clean my closet? Watch an episode of Girls? Make a photo album?
As the clock ticks down, I realize that I have wasted 20 minutes whittling down my list.
On and on, my brain does this annoying thing where it
convinces me that it would be sinful to squander my one precious hour so I have
to get it right. After all, I have no
idea when I’m going to get another one. I try to eliminate possibilities. I decide to screw sleep, because I
usually get at least a few hours at night. Then, I decide I’ll call a friend later while I am cooking dinner and
the kids are playing. The massage is out
because it would take longer than an hour and I need more lead time to make it
happen. I ditch the idea of watching TV because I could do that with my husband
But I still have to decide between reading, writing and
exercising. As the clock ticks down, I
realize that I have wasted 20 minutes whittling down my list. If only
there were a way to combine exercise and reading. I decide to sit on the stationary bike and
read my book. I feel a twinge of guilt
for opting not to write, and for a second I consider typing on my laptop while
cycling. I realize that’s a crazy, and
possibly dangerous, idea.
So, I take a deep breath. I pick the best I can. I try to concentrate on the pages of my book
while my legs go around in circles. Luckily, all the fretting and perseverating amped up my adrenaline so I
get my endorphin rush.
When the hour is up and I am back on duty, I curse myself
for turning a delightful treat into torture. I promise myself I won’t do it next time. Next time, I swear I will just pick the first
thing that comes to my mind. And if it
happens to be running while online shopping and talking on the phone, well, so