I'm not daft.
I very well understand that when you see me pull into the preschool parking lot, a few minutes early for official half-day pick-up, you ponder why it is I sit there instead of running my saggy, slightly overweight rear-end through those appropriately alarmed double doors right into the waiting, excited arms of my pint-sized offspring and her growing like a weed, soon-to-be-in-Kindergarten brother.
But, as I mentioned, I'm not that senseless. I know that once I leave the cozy -- albeit, dirty and smelly -- confines of my Town and Country S minivan that I am back "on," and likewise will be my children's whiney and nonlistening behavior which they so stealthily hide from their educators and lovingly serve up for me once I am in their presence.
I'm fully cognizant of the fact that to some, my hesitation to hop right out my vehicle and scoop up my love nuggets whose bodies and brains have been working hard to grow all morning, makes me look selfish.
Scratch that -- makes me selfish.
But, here's the thing; that extra five to ten minutes in the car by myself is not just for me.
On a typical weekday, I (attempt to) wake up around 5 am.
FIVE IN THE MORNING. That's pretty freakin' early when you don't go to bed until after 11:30 pm because you are working or in my case, writing.
I wake up, attempt to make myself look presentable, pack the lunches, make the breakfast, and at about 6:15 am, I wake the kids. I spend time with them while they eat and get dressed, then I feed and take out the dogs, make sure everyone (myself included) has brushed their teeth and each day we aim to make it out the door by 7:15 am.
Additional responsibilities between 5 and 7:15am include cleaning up any leftover messes from the day before, starting or finishing (or both) a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher from the previous evening's meal, compiling age-appropriate practice worksheets for each child for afterschool and packing any extra items/supplies we need for any of our after-school extracurriculars.
Oh yeah, and if I want to keep building my business and marketing my brand, well, then I also must tend to that responsibility via periodically answering emails and posting to social media.
Once I have successfully delivered each child to their school safely, and with a smile on their face (the latter is a super important piece of the puzzle in my opinion) I rush my longing-to-go-back-to-bed behind to the gym.
Do I want to go every day? Of course not.
Do I try to go most days? Yep -- because taking care of my physical health is one form of self-care that I cannot allow myself to skimp on.
So, when I finally make it back from the gym, there are more emails to be read and business marketing to be done. Then there's the actual writing work, which I enjoy, and the other more dire tasks I must complete like taking a shower so that everyone in elementary walk-up line doesn't plug their nose and stink eye me later.
When I'm no longer 'Sweaty Betty' and have taken the time to make myself look presentable(ish) again, I do more laundry, because there is never a lack of it to get done and I begin to plan for the evening's dinner.
Well, would you look at that, it's now time to get the kids and all I have done is workout and shower, think about a future meal and write -- in a hopefully comprehendible way -- a few paragraphs detailing the first few hours of my day for you lovely people.
Of course, there is all that other stuff I told you that I did, but those things happen day in and day out and have seemingly become standard, and pretty much unimpressive.
What is impressive to my husband and others, I'm sure, is how I am so quick to confidently boast/complain/whatever you want to call it that "I have no time" and that "I can't get it all done," when time is just what us SAHMS and WAHMS supposedly have plenty of.
I get it.
I know that some of you are reading this and are thinking that I get to choose what fills my day and therefore, I cannot and should not complain about it.
Am I blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my children for the hours they are not in school?
Am I thankful to be healthy enough to have the chance to work out my body in the gym and my mind in front of my keyboard and push myself past my self-imposed mental and physical boundaries?
I am slightly, or some days, majorly overwhelmed by #allthethings I should be doing, want to be doing, need to be doing, think I should be doing, and what others think I should be doing?
You flippin' know it.
And then the clock hits noon, and if I am not already sitting in the preschool parking lot by then, you will find me busting my yoga pants encased butt to arrive there before 12:15, 'cause this momma is not one for being late.
So, yes -- upon my arrival, I take between two and ten minutes to sit in my car and get my head back in the mommy game. I try to answer a few more emails, peruse social media real quick, check the weather app to see if we are all good for our outside afternoon activities and then I'll sit a few more moments in search of a motivating or inspiring quote with the hopes it will be just enough to help me "wooozaaah" myself into a mommy who will continue to get sh*t done the rest of the day AND be present for her children LIKE.A.BOSS.
It may take me a few extra minutes in the minivan each afternoon to reach the closest I will ever feel to serenity for the next 16 years, but so be it.
I ain't apologizing.
That extra five to ten minutes in the car by myself is not just for me; it benefits my kids as well.
All that the majority of us mommies require most days, is a nonempty cup, and a few minutes in the car by ourselves, well, that's plenty of time to fill ours slightly.