I have a relentless, age-old problem that has become especially acute since I gave birth to my son: too much to do, too little time.
Prioritizing my to-do list goes something like this: first comes parenting, always, without exception; then job-related items; and finally, the hodge-podge mixture of “everything else,” which covers being a friend, daughter, sister, neighbor, citizen, cook, seamstress, plumber and whatever else I’m forgetting, in whatever order works for that particular day. Oh yeah, and wife.
And no matter how much time I devote to my ever-present task list, check marks indicating “done” are occasional at best, while incomplete items multiply and linger. And I shouldn’t be complaining—my husband kicks in at least 50%, we only have one child (albeit one with special needs), and we’re lucky that we’re both employed “in this economy.” And nobody likes a whiner. And yet…
So I had this crazy idea. Two words: “parental assistant.” In the hands of some brainy MBA, I think this new job title could become more ubiquitous on Craig’s List than “weekend barista.” Not a nanny or babysitter who takes care of the kids and the house when the parents are out, but, rather, someone who’s there when the parents are home so that we can actually get something done without the guilt of encouraging our children to watch “Nemo” for the umpteenth time “so Mommy can do some work.” And the beauty of this idea is that it could also jump start our ailing economy. A whole slew of highly educated and accomplished folks lost their jobs last month—how about if the middle-class families of America put them back to work?
I don’t know about you, but I’d be willing to dip into the cookie jar fund for a former Wall Street trader to come over a few days a week to help me restructure my credit card debt and also teach Brooks the ins and outs of Monopoly Junior. And I think at least one of the big three auto CEO’s will be available soon…
President-Elect Obama: would you consider making this a part of your public works program?
I warned you that this was a crazy idea. Maybe it will get easier as Brooks gets older, although parents with older kids have told me it doesn’t. Different, not easier. I think the best we can hope for is that the extra vacation days this holiday season will give us enough breathing space to approach 2009 with renewed vigor.
Which reminds me: I need to order New Year’s cards.