At any rate, I have a day unexpectedly free. Sure, I'll have to go out two or three times to keep the driveway clear (a Sisyphean task if ever I saw one), and make sure the kid and I get fed lunch, but otherwise, I've got about five hours of unexpected free time. You would think this would be a good thing, but really, I'm sort of dreading it.
It's not that I'm sick of being home with Liza - we were travelling so much over break that we haven't had much time to just sit around and do craft projects and annoy each other. So I want to take some time to do stuff with her, obviously, now that I've got the time.
Which isn't to say that I'm above parking her in front of a screen somewhere so I can get some time alone ... these blog posts don't write themselves, you know, and they don't happen at all if I'm on "Mom I need a snack Mom I need help with this Mom I can't get my finger unstuck" duty all day. So she can spend some time online playing the math games she's supposed to work on for school, and I'm sure there's a Mythbusters in our future at some point. There are worse ways to spend a snow day than that.
But back to the dread. You see, I spend a lot of my life with a tentative mental schedule in place. Things like, I have to work on Thursday, so I'll have to wait until Friday to do the cleaning, and the Christmas decorations can come down over the weekend when Jason is home to help out. Generally, things go according to plan, or close enough that it doesn't cause a problem. But sometimes - like today - the schedule gets altered at the last minute or due to things out of my control, and that throws me off.
In my mind, I have lots of options for what to do today, and no matter which one I pick, I'll feel guilty or deprived or angry, or some other negative emotion. For example, today I could:
- Do something useful around the house, like put away the Christmas decorations or clean. Doing any of these things will make me feel resentful that I'm spending my free time doing "work" instead of something I enjoy, guilty that I'm not spending my free time with Liza doing something fun, and grumpy that I have to do it on my own even though I'm not the only one who lives in this house, thankyouverymuch.
- Do something just for me, like knit and watch something on Netflix. This will make me feel guilty for not using my extra hours to do something useful, and ashamed that I'm not getting some exercise or something.
- Do something just for Liza, like do craft projects and watch her choice of television all day. This will make me feel resentful that I'm spending MY free hours doing something for HER, and guilty that I'm sitting around painting butterfly magnets when there's so much that needs to be done around the house.
- Work on my writing. This will make me feel bad I'm not working on housework, guilty that I'm ignoring the kid, ashamed that I'm not getting some exercise, and annoyed that I feel bad about myself when I'm doing something I'm supposed to enjoy.
I'll end up doing some combination of the above, trying to balance the guilt and annoyance equally among all of the categories. It's frustrating to know that no matter what I do today, it won't ever be right, it won't ever be enough. There will always be more cleaning, more craft projects, more writing and knitting that could have been done. The only answer, obviously, is to say screw it, drink some cocoa and go take a nap to rest up for my next session with Grunhilde the Snowblower.