Predictably, the morning went to pot since I had to get out of the house a half hour earlier than usual.
To my new bosses it probably felt like a nominal request. “Can you come in a half hour early on Friday?”
What’s a half hour to most people?
But for me, it required making “arrangements,” two sets of arrangements to be precise. One for my grade school kids and one for my preschooler. A neighborhood parent was kind enough to see the older guys onto the bus, and I was able to drop off my toddler a half hour early at her pre-school. For a fee.
But it was my fourth day on the job, and I hated to say no, to their minor request, even though I had to scramble to make it happen.
An “important client” was coming in that morning, and most of the staff was out. The receptionist was out. The Operations Manager was out. Everyone was out, as a matter of fact, except me. I needed to open the building, put on lights, start the coffee, and answer the phones – and get to the office a half hour earlier than usual. Not difficult, right?
I’ll let you decide.
7:30 I ask my kids what they want for breakfast.
7:40 I ask my kids what they want for breakfast again.
7:45 Throw breakfast on the table and tell them to eat (“Shared ownership,” by the way, has gone out the window. I am again a drill sergeant).
7:46 My kids protest in unison, “I didn’t ask for that.”
7:47 I tell them to eat what I’ve put in front of them or they will be grounded from play dates for the rest of the year.
7:50 I tell them to eat quickly!
8:00 I tell them to brush their teeth and get dressed.
8:02 Toothpaste explosion all over the bathroom sink which I am now cleaning up while trying not to get pink Cinderalla Crest Kids on my work clothes.
8:05 The dog pees on the carpet.
8:06 The other dog pees on the carpet.
8:07 I scrub the pee out of the carpet with a rag, while trying not to get dog pee on my work clothes.
8:10 I realize that I have not yet packed lunches!
8:11 After screaming many exploitives, I quickly prepare three lunches.
8:17 I holler for the kids to put on their shoes.
8:20 I throw my two older kids at a mom from the bus stop, toss my youngest into her car seat, and haul ass out of my driveway.
8:30 I walk my girl into the “before care” room at the preschool and after 20 rounds of hugs and kisses, make a beeline to the exit and hop into my car.
8:40 I arrive at work 5 minutes earlier than they asked me to get there! Psych!
8:41: I unlock the office, turn on the lights and radio and start the coffee.
8:50: I answer the phone without stammering.
8:52: It came almost as no surprise that the phone call was from the 9:00 client rescheduling due to car trouble.
I slump back in my chair and exhale.
Was it for nothing? Maybe. Did I stress way too much about getting there early and doing everything right? You bet.
That half hour took effort. At least for me. There’s been a lot of changes in my life recently, which have required this Diva to trade in her Doc Martens for a pair of big girl shoes. Being the only parent in the house and getting to a new day job hit me almost simultaneously. This Diva has had to grow up pretty quickly, and the new shoes need a little breaking in.
Look, I’m not naïve to think that a slight change in my work schedule was a hugely big deal – because to many of you, this is nothing. It’s what you do every day and then some. There are those of you who drop your kids off at daycare by 6:30 am to make your train, and those of you who work a day job and go to school at night on top of taking care of your kids – and some of you single moms. There are those of you who pick up your kids from the sitter after work and hop on a bus to get to a Laundromat and others, still, who work a second job so that you have enough money to take that bus to the Laundromat. And to those of you who do that, my bopping around in my high heeled boots and mascara and feeling like a rock star because I figured out how to use the coffee maker may seem trite.
But each time we step a little bit out of our comfort zone, even if it’s a comfort zone of thirty minutes, we get to prove to ourselves that we CAN step out of our comfort zone. And as I sit here and struggle right now, struggle in a way I haven’t struggled in a long time, that little tiny step out of my comfort zone is a sign that I can take more tiny steps out of my comfort zone and be OK.
And it’s a safe bet that I’ll be taking those little tiny steps while wearing these.