Walk 24 hours in my shoes, if you will...
8:00 AM – Comes far too quickly when you're a 30-something momma of two young children and work until the wee hours of the morning. I beg my four-year-old to play in his room awhile and give my one-year-old some toys in his crib, hoping they will give me just a little more sleep.
8:30 AM – Thirty minutes is about all the boys are willing to graciously give me in extra rest. Not that it really counts--they were sort of loud the whole time anyway.
9:30 AM – Breakfast might be over by now. It depends on whether I can get my four-year-old to stop talking long enough to eat something.
11:00 AM – I've spent the last hour and a half checking my various email accounts, responding, and updating information. No real tasks have been accomplished because there will be more emails to respond to in a few hours. But my husband must get ready for work and has tagged out of child duty.
Noon – I've been working for another hour because the boys are playing well next to me.
1:00 PM – Some chores done. Crap! Where did the time go? It's lunch time already!
2:00 PM – Lunch is finally over... again with the talkative preschooler.
3:00 PM – Kids go down for a nap and I can finally get some solid work done.
3:30 PM – My toddler is still not asleep. Turns out his diaper was dirty.
3:52 PM – My toddler is screaming his head off, refusing to nap.
4:30 PM – My toddler finally fell asleep and NOW I can get some work done.
5:00 PM – My preschooler comes down from his nap. I stick him in front of the TV (don't judge).
6:00 PM – Deep in the thick of work, but have to go get the toddler, who won't go to bed if I don't get him up. Making dinner.
7:00 PM – Finally getting in some play time with my kids. Which is short lived if they need baths.
8:00 PM – Bed time routine – a 45 minute ordeal.
9:30 PM – I am now bathed and back at the computer to work. Write. Edit photos. Write some more.
11:30 PM – My husband arrives home from work and I still have fingers glued to the keys – much more to do!
1:00 AM – Crap! I'd better get to bed.
1:20 AM – I finally head up to my bedroom. But my brain won't shut off. So I play Scramble with Friends until my eyes won't stay open.
8:00 AM – Again?
Are you as exhausted as I am after reading that?
A Little Bit of Comparison
My maiden name is Sgroi. That's right, I'm a quarter Italian. My great-grandpa emigrated from Sicily some 80 plus years ago, married a fully-Italian bombshell here in the states, and my grandfather was the product of that marriage. At the top of my bucket list is a trip to Italy (tentatively scheduled for my 15 year wedding anniversary).
I'm annoyingly proud of my heritage for 1,000 reasons. One of them is the Italian work-ethic. In case you're not already aware, Italians see work in a different light than Americans (and northern Europeans for that matter). Work will always be there for them, so it can ultimately wait. While lunch breaks are 30 minutes to an hour long here, they're about two hours long every single day in Italy. Many businesses are open until 7 PM to compensate for that, but the overall approach to this culture is flexibility in work. In fact, nearly two years ago, this laid-back work ethic was starting to become a problem for manufacturers like Fiat, who wanted more devotion to work from its employees, but found their priorities were somewhere else.
Now, mind you, I have the utmost flexibility in my own work schedule, since I work for myself, from home. This crazy work schedule of mine (after all, I work three jobs as far as I'm concerned: Ink'd, my photography business and SAHM), is all my own doing, right?
However, it's built into our culture to work our tails off all the time, whereas, Italy prioritizes the enjoyment of life. Mind you, the country's economy is sort of in the tanker, but how is that any different from the U.S. economy? At least the Italians as a whole are happy, while many of us feel like we work all these ungodly hours and have very little to show for it.
So, while I daydream of my future visit to Italy – the trip that I must continue working my fingers to the bone in order to afford – I'll also daydream of my own little utopia where the world is more laid back about all that working stuff and I don't feel so obligated to be superwoman.
In the meantime, I'll start small and remember that some things actually can wait until tomorrow. And maybe I'll go to bed at a decent hour tonight so that I don't wear my jaws out yawning all day.