Some, yes. On good days, I can do "some." On good days, I get a shower and we all eat fruit or vegetables at every meal and the kids wear cute, clean clothes and the bed is made and the hail of crumbs and pools of milk around the high chair have been banished. I answer emails, jot down notes about what brilliant things Griffin says and what new things Gwyneth can reach, play board games with him, play peek-a-boo with her, read to them both.
On good days, my husband and I make each other laugh, compliment each other, and talk about stuff besides "where-do-we-have-to-be-when-and-what-errands-can-we-do-on-the-way-home-if-neither-kid-has-a-meltdown" and Gwyneth's bowel movements and Griffin's birthday party.
On good days, I don't have to wake her up from her nap to go pick up him at preschool--oh, I hate having to do that!--and I don't have to leave the library early to take him to music class, where I fret about how I'm going to get all my work done when I can't even squeeze in 15 hours a week at my job.
On good days Gwyneth sleeps till 5:00 am instead of waking up at 2:00am or 4:00am or both, and Griffin doesn't wet the bed.
On good days, we're not in such a rush that I have to drive Griffin to school, meaning that I can accomplish 30-60 minutes of exercise by walking him back and forth. (It goes without saying that on good days, it's not snowing or broiling in the upper 90s.)
Notice that even on "good days," I don't usually make time for writing. I don't visit other people's blogs any more, and forget about Facebook and Pinterest and Words with Friends and practicing my French by reading online--not gonna happen most days. I don't record those scrawled notes from so many post-its and envelope backs into Griffin's scrapbook or Gwyneth's baby book. (Full disclosure: she is 18 months old. Her baby book has nothing written in it. And Griffin's scrapbook was last updated in--wait for it--January 2009.)
I hardly ever read novels any more. Or cook from scratch. Or grow more than tomatoes in what used to be a verdant vegetable garden. Or exercise vigorously enough to work up a sweat. Or leave work thinking, "Great! Now I'm all caught up!"
Thinking about all the projects I never finish (or start) and the obligations that I neglect depresses me. I disappoint myself on a regular basis.
Even on a good day, I have one or two children with me nearly every moment that I'm not at work. Right now, I'm typing this blog post while my sister-in-law watches my little rascals for two hours; next week, I'll take my turn with her two kids. That makes two hours of alert alone time twice a month that I can count on. (Unless blearily clipping coupons or folding laundry after the kids have fallen asleep counts as alone time?) No wonder I'm not blogging much any more. And I'm really sorry that I haven't kept up with all of your inspiring, funny, thought-provoking, fascinating blogs!
But I remind myself that overall, even the exhausting and unproductive days are still good days, because Ed and I have each other and two healthy children and supportive family and friends. I don't have to work 40+ hours a week while paid caregivers get to watch my kids grow up. I remind myself that at this point, 18-month-old Gwyneth is at the apex of neediness: like an infant, she can't feed herself, use the toilet, or articulate clearly what she wants, but unlike an infant, she is always in motion and needs constant supervision. She will slowly get more autonomous; she will eventually sleep through the night. And starting in August, Griffin will be in school from 8:00 am till 2:30 pm instead of just 11:45 till 2:30. Dare I hope that these schedule changes will allow for more alone time and more Ed-and-Sarah time and more work time?
And I also remind myself that on all days, good and bad, I still speak French, and only French, with my beautiful children. I can't do it all--but at least I can do this.