"Where do you get the time?" is a question I get a lot. Where do I get the time to bake? Where do I get the time to sew? Where do I get the time to blog? The answer is always twofold - "after the kids go to sleep" and "you just gotta make time".
So right now it's quarter to twelve on Friday night and instead of heading out to a bar or club (which would be so 1999 anyway :), I'm sitting in my kitchen writing a blog post on my tiny smartphone screen and waiting for a couple of pies to finish baking. This is a particularly late "after the kids go to sleep" scenario as the bedtime has gotten later now that school's out and my youngest is very unpredictable in her feeding habits.
Now often my hubby and I would spend this precious time between the kids' bedtime and us passing out watching some late night TV and talking about our days. We'd probably crack open a bag of chips, maybe some beers, possibly a Dairy Queen Blizzard that we had stashed in the freezer... Oh yes my children, you were right all along to suspect mommy and daddy telling you to "just go to sleep, we're not doing anything fun, we're just sleeping too"... But I digress...
Anyway, today instead of dulling my mind with unnecessary reality shows and indulging my own waistline with unneeded calories, I'm baking up enough butter pastry goodness to indulge our ten or so dinner guests coming over tomorrow. Of course, I could always just buy dessert but this is where the "you just gotta make time" comes into play, "gotta" being the operative word. Believe me, making time extra time at the end of the night to pursue leisure activities was, and is still not, easy for someone who would consider themselves a morning person and who would prefer to up at the crack of dawn rather than the stroke of midnight. However, it's easier to count on the children staying asleep than relying on them not waking up, so the making of time has "gotta" be at night.
But I guess the bigger question, bigger than "Where do you get the time?" is "Why?" And my only answer is that despite the four kids, or perhaps for their sakes, I don't want to let myself drown in the drudgery that comes with the title "mother of four". I want to think that I don't have to give up Jane, the baker or Jane, the knitter or Jane, the runner just because I became Jane, the woman who couldn't stop getting pregnant. ;) I want the kids to know that you can become a parent and still have other identities too - that I'm their mom but I could also be their powder hound buddy or their fellow foodie or their nerdy mmorpg partner. I want them to know it and I want myself to believe it.
I stay up late to nourish and maintain some interests of my own in the hope that I don't forget who I am while I love and care for four little people who are slowly discovering who they are.