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Gripping the steering wheel, my knuckles turning white, I fumed for the umpteenth time over making the all too preventable mistake of choosing this route to pick up the kids and my husband. How was I to know when I veered away from the visible traffic jam outside the exit of The Jerusalem Post's lot that taking this detour to the new road next to the convention center would be even more backed up?
I had planned it perfectly: leave work at 3:15, pick up Ya'ir and be at twins' daycare by 4, get husband from university by 4:20. With plenty of time and a realistic schedule, there was no way I'd be late this time in picking them up. Or so I'd thought.
Sweat trickled down my forehead as I saw the minutes move much faster than any vehicle. While the traffic lights changed their merry hues I noticed that some frisky soul had made a smiley face on the amber light. Even he was mocking me as I sat and sat.
I made all the necessary phone calls to the daycares from my trusty speaker car phone, cursed my husband yet again for not having a cell phone, and tried to enlist my mother-in-law in picking up Ya'ir (she has a car seat) and my husband (the anti-techno man was her son after all). She set out, but was also soon mired in the spontaneous traffic jam.
As my blood pressure rose, I found myself muttering nonsensicals like, "serves me right for leaving work a little earlier," and terse, "I haven't made it to my first daycare and should be at my third stop!'"
And then I realized - I was alone! I could listen to grown-up music and think of more nourishing things than what to make for dinner. Obviously getting upset was not going to get me to the daycares any faster, so why not take this opportunity to spend time with myself?
Like most parents of young children, I am my last priority. And this manifests in a variety of ways, such as pushing off that way overdue dentist appointment, forgetting about the concept of exercise or in something more potentially serious such as neglecting my health.
Mea culpa: Twice in the past couple of months I've made it to the doctor much later than I should have. My "maybe if I leave it alone it'll go away" philosophy has not been working recently. (In one case, the doctor told me that had I waited much longer, I could have been in danger of blood poisoning! Perhaps the grapefruit-sized swollen glands should have given me a clue a few days earlier.)
Between work and my second shift at home, taking care of me doesn't seem as important during my precious free time from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. And it shows...
However, now that the almost 16-month-old twins are getting up less (relatively) during the night, I don't collapse by 9 p.m. and can fit in quite a lot before hitting the hay. Like, for instance, speaking with (or at) my long-suffering husband, vegging out in front of the TV or reading a good book. Or giving myself a leg-up by catching up on my email correspondence for work.
But see there, I've done it again. How easy it is to slip back into work-mode.
Last night I made a real effort to pamper myself. After stumbling upon a long-overlooked toiletry set given to me by a well-intentioned and more experienced colleague when the twins were born, I hunkered down and used that tempting mint foot scrub for the first time.
The result of those five all-too short minutes of massage and aromatherapy?
Smooth exfoliated feet and a much happier, more relaxed me.
The writer is a mother of three-in-diapers.
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