Friday, 28 October 2016

How to do it all

Hello out there! This poor blog has been quite neglected lately. Work seems to be 99% typing these days, so my writing energy is flagging. But, it’s 8:30 pm on Friday night and the kids are asleep – so here we go!

Life these days is a little hectic. I’m often single-parenting and my job is pretty demanding (many fledgling professors like myself claim 80-hour workweeks. I definitely do not, and could not, physically work that much even without kids, but it is relatively demanding, nonetheless). I’m often flattered and surprised by friends exclaiming things like “wow, look at you doing all of this and keeping your shit together!” The truth is that (1) my shit is about as together as this 
but (2) thank you, and it’s because of a lot of moral support and tricks I’ve stolen from other folks.

Here are some of the most useful tricks I use to semi-successfully parent two small kids while not completely sucking at my career:

  1. When the kids are in bed at night, I do the life-stuff that must be done, like contesting parking tickets, trying to figure out what the fuck excise tax is, and paying the seemingly endless bills. 
  2. I also have started cooking after the kids are in bed. I used to really enjoy cooking (especially when paired with wine and good music) and I do actually want to feed the kids good food, but the idea of getting home from work/school/Boston traffic hell and then cooking while the kids whine about being hungry and claw at my legs is awful. So, I just pull something I made the night before out of the fridge (or the week before out of the freezer, respectively) and zap it in the microwave. Voila! Dinner is ready in a few minutes with minimal effort, yet it's not always just Trader Joes packaged food (as it had been before I figured this out).
  3. My dad gave me a Roomba for my birthday, and…let me just say that if there were a fire and I could only save one thing aside from the children – it would be the Roomba. 
    forts >>orderly houses
  4. Most of my social life these days consists of texting, social media interaction, and commiserating with other parents of small children while the kids destroy one of our houses. 
  5. Ryder often goes to bed in clothes ready for the next day. His school serves breakfast, so as long as he is wearing clothing, I can just get shoes on his feet and get him to school and he will be fed and set for the day. I love the idea of changing into PJs each night and having breakfast at home in the morning together, just like in the cereal commercials. But the reality was that I was spending the 60-90 minutes of our time together in the morning nagging him incessantly to get dressed and/or eat his breakfast so we weren’t late, and we were still invariably rushing every morning. When he sleeps in his clothes, he can spend 45 minutes carefully arranging tiny scraps of paper on his desk, watch a cartoon, and harass his sister before we have to leave. We can be on time and he can eat French toast sticks and other delicacies served by the amazing school cafeteria that I don’t have the energy to prepare.
    A prime example of why my car is a pigsty. But, at least snacks like this keep the small people from mutiny during drives
  6. I shower as infrequently as possible. This saves time, and also makes me virtuous because we are in a drought. 
  7.  I only cloth diaper on the weekends.
  8.  I make the kids do errands with me. This usually requires bribery, often in the form of a sugary treat.
  9. I don’t work when the kids are awake and with me. If they aren’t asleep or at school, I try my hardest to focus on them (with the occasional foray onto Twitter or email when they are occupied and I crave a moment of fleeting virtual connection with other adults). We read books. We go on walks. We look for treasures in cracks in the sidewalk. We visit museums and clean pennies and count blue plastic gems and draw and decorate the porch with fake spiderwebs and go down slides and do all the wonderful things that we should be doing. I remember that I’m the luckiest person alive.


  1. I love your honesty, fresh look, optimism, and humor. You're awesome, Carilli. See you in Feb!