Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Exhausted in Rio de Janeiro

Being a parent in Rio de Janeiro is exhausting. I used to talk major shit about all the non-working Moms with nannies here.  I've changed my tune. I have two now. I'm out numbered and I get it.

It's unacceptable to stay inside all day here. For starters, your place is 2 feet x 2 feet if you have money. It's about 13 in x 17 in for normal folk. Parents and children alike will go insane inside all day. 

Then there's the weather.  98 % of the time it's beautiful. Who can resist being out and about on a beautiful day? Not this girl and not my kids!  Then again, my maid will be the first to tell you that I'm the one who badly accustomed (in her words) them to life out on the streets. Makes me sound like I have them begging for change.  Outside boys!  Earn money for your pricey private school tuition! 

So this whole post comes from an argument I had with my husband this evening. It was the "who had a harder day" argument.  It's impossible to win, especially when the working husband can say that I, at least, got to have a wonderful day with our children. 

What do you say to that?

No, I didn't! I've raised hellions! 

I did have a wonderful day with the kids.  But I thought I'd take a moment and break down what a wonderful day is:

730am - make and serve breakfast
8am - clean up breakfast
845am - prep kids for beach with Tio (Uncle) Japi.  Aka. smear sunscreen, pack bag, give out last minute snacks and drinks, pack car
910am - pick up Tio Japi and head to beach
930am - beach.  That means, play in sand, make sure baby doesn't drown in ocean the ENTIRE time we are at said beach. Thank Tio for taking turns making sure baby doesn't drown
1045am - leave beach because kids are already tired and baby has to take a bath and eat lunch before bath.
1115am - home
1120am - bath time for everyone
1135am - make plates and serve lunch
Noon - put baby down
1215pm - tidy after lunch
1230pm - quality time with oldest who did not nap
1pm - finally get to read a book while snuggling oldest who is watching his favorite show (Ben 10)
130pm - baby up
145pm - snack time
215pm - go to the grocery store with kids
245pm - meet friends at park
4pm - come back to the house with said friends
530pm - make dinner and serve to kids
6pm - clean up after dinner and run bath
615pm - give kids a bath
645pm - chocolate milk time for kids
7pm - youngest bed
730pm - finally get youngest to sleep and Daddy FINALLY arrives home from work
8pm - start teaching private English class
830pm - give oldest a kiss during class and then continue with class as Daddy puts him to bed
930pm - class over
now - BIG glass of wine and blog :)

I decided to not put in potty breaks and I eat at the same time as my kids when I can. If I can't, I grab something on the go. Wonder how I lost the pregnancy weight...

It's amazing how the time flies by!  It's as if the day is over before it begun.  If I put some effort into it, I could break the list down even further into play blocks with boys, do puzzle with oldest, color with youngest.  But that would be obsessive.  The point being, I don't stop all day.  You see the one time I got to, which is rare, was when I read my book for a half hour. Golden!  I don't usually get to stop. 

So I get the nannies and full time maids.  I was wrong and you were right. Does that mean I get one or both? Nope.  But I see your point. 

1 comment:

  1. Rachel I totally feel your pain and exhaustion, I could've written the same thing more or less, and I only have one little one to worry about!

    It's a never-ending argument in terms of which "job" is harder. Of course I will say that stay-at-home parents have it harder because I am one myself ;-) I think it's like trying to compare apples to oranges. Because getting up and going to work and dealing with all the pressure, politics, deadlines, and other work issues can not be compared directly to the exhausting, consuming, never-ending and thankless work of stay-at-home parenthood.

    Not only do I ditto every word of your post, but I'll add a few ideas of my own (and I'm only speaking for myself of course):

    As a SAHM I feel that I pour my life and soul into the needs and wants of my child. I devote my whole being to her. Most of my thoughts, actions, plans, etc. are focused on what she needs or wants, how to discipline her, teach her manners, teach her how to be a polite little girl, how to feed her healthfully (a very consuming daily worry!), getting my day aligned correctly so she eats and sleeps at the same time every day, keeping her entertained, explaining everything to her, teaching her preschool concepts, trying to potty train her, etc. The list is actually endless...

    What makes it hard for me as a SAHM is the fact that I give, give, give AND GIVE all day. EVERY DAY. And I take nothing. I don't get to detach at the end of the day or the end of the week and check out and then return hours or days later refreshed.

    It's 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. NO HOLIDAYS, SICK DAYS, VACATION DAYS. It's constant. C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T.

    And forget about sleeping in...what is that? :-)

    And then there are the broken nights of sleep due to one thing or another and then dragging the next day as a result.

    Throw into this mix a sick child (vomiting, diarrhea, wide array of illnesses, etc.) on occasion which results in canceling plans and a whole new set of worries and angst about the child's health.

    I'm always in the mode of thinking and planning 10 steps ahead. Always preparing for a what if, a spare this or a spare that just in case, etc. There's an unending amount of intangibles that go into being a SAHM, and it's the intangibles that I have to stay on top of constantly. It's hard to explain what I mean, but if you've ever spent 24 hours a day 7 days a week with a little one you know exactly what I mean.

    Pretty much all that I do goes unnoticed and unacknowledged, but yet it takes so much effort just to get the house to look back to zero. Toys don't magically float back into their tidy little boxes, laundry doesn't magically get done on its own, the fridge doesn't get replenished spontaneously, carpets don't vacuum themselves, etc.

    There's also the fact that I never get to use the bathroom in peace, have an uninterrupted conversation, or heaven forbid a peaceful meal! All of these simple things that I used to take for granted now seem like rare/impossible feats.

    I once heard a quote that went something like this: it's easy to take care of children...as long as you don't try to get anything else done.

    I should try that sometime!

    No wonder I've just recently shipped my little girl off to summer school for 10 hours per week. So I can finally get some time to myself after 28 months. Oh, and what do I do in those 10 hours of "freedom?" Something for her of course (shopping, cooking, laundry, etc.)! It never ends ;-)

    Btw Rachel what about your own dinner and/or dinner with your husband? I would imagine that dinner would be yet another thing to tackle at the end of an already long day...