Last night I had the best time recording a podcast with Kerry of CarryOnFriends.com. We talked about work – life balance, and how being a Caribbean woman impacts the effort to balance it all. You’ll have to wait for the podcast to hear my answers, but one of the things that had us laughing was what Saturday morning means in a Caribbean household. My Saturday mornings may have Caribbean moments, but they are nothing like traditional ones. Is your Saturday morning thoroughly Caribbean, do you have your own weekend routine, or is a combination?
Caribbean 5 am: Mommy is up – fixing breakfast, having tea, getting ready for the day.
My 5 am: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…………… *goes to pee* …………….ZZZZZZZZZZZ
Caribbean 6 am: Kids hear mommy start to gather clothes to wash, and hope that it isn’t the signal that they need to get up… even though they know that it is.
My 6 am: *alarm goes off* “Somebody turn it off! Who set the weekday alarm for a Saturday?!” *STEUPS*
Caribbean 6:15 am: Kids should have gotten up when they had the chance. Mom has been up for an hour and a half, first set of laundry is washing, and no one has moved. Mom starts non verbal cues and muttering… *STEUPS*….. “But wha de…” “Dees BLASted chirren…” “ Eh eh…” and so on.
My 6:15 am: *alarm goes off* “If… You… Don’t… Turn… That… Off. I don’t mean ‘snooze.’ I. MEAN. OFF!!! Doh mek meh tell allyuh again.” *STEUPS*
Caribbean 6:30 am: One child feels Mommy’s frustration and gets out of the bed and says ‘Good Morning’ to Mommy. This is a smart child. This is Mommy’s favorite for the rest of the day. The one that all other children in the house should aspire to be, but never will be… at least not on THIS Saturday.
My 6:30 am: I am still staring at the ceiling because the multiple alarms have ruined my chances at a peaceful sleep.
Caribbean 6:45 am: Mommy has had enough. She is waking everyone up with a shake, flipping the blankets back, and a cuss. The Child of the Day is peacefully eating his or her breakfast at the table, basking in their winning status.
My 6:45: *stares at ceiling* I start making decisions from the bed. If there is milk in that fridge… they are having cereal. *Checks Twitter to see who else is up and miserable on a Saturday*
Caribbean 7 am: If the kids haven’t brushed their teeth, washed their faces, changed clothes, and had breakfast by now, this is going to be a long day for everyone. It is time to assign chores, and mommy has already started washing up the dishes from breakfast. For the late risers, ah piece ah bake in a paper towel it is.
My 7 am: I finally have given up on going back to sleep, so I consider studying for something. I look at the clock and realize that it is 7 am, and I may never get this alone time back, so I head downstairs to watch something from the DVR, have some tea, and eat my English muffin in peace.
Caribbean 7:30 am: Chores are in full swing. Kids are mopping, dusting, washing walls, vacuuming (or using the sweeper) sweeping, hanging clothes on the line, moving furniture to clean under it, cleaning out school bags, beating rugs on the step, and scrubbing bathroom tiles. Mommy is supervising, picking up things here and there – but eventually sitting to have tea and talk to friends on the phone about how these wotless children don’t do anything.
My 7:30 am: I am sitting an inch away from the TV, and laughing into my shirt so that the kids don’t wake up. Laughter is like a magnet to them. It attracts them… then they have to make it stop or join in. Apparently parents are not allowed to have joy without them.
Caribbean 9 am: Chores are winding down, and the person who woke up the latest is charged with cleaning out the refrigerator. The one who got up first gets to finish chores early and go with mom to the grocery. Any remaining children must continue cleaning. The place should be spotless by the time mommy gets home.
My 9 am: The kids are up. Someone has made turkey bacon to go with their cereal. I look at everyone’s hair – they boys need haircuts, and little bit needs hers washed, blow dried, and braided… Daddy is looking at the clippers like… no. I am looking at the idea of braiding for the next two hours like… no. We start making excuses. The boys have soccer in a few minutes. Dance class starts in a few hours, and I don’t want her to be too tired to dance. The excuses don’t even have to make sense. We just resolve that the boys will have one more day of hair hats, and I will pull all little bit’s hair into one and be done with it.
Caribbean 10 am: Mommy is back from the grocery, and the one who woke up last must put everything away. Chores should be complete by now, but if there are any dishes in the sink, they need to be washed and put away, counter tops clear, so that if there is a small girl, she can have room to lay on the counter with her head in the sink to get her hair washed, or if she is a big girl, she needs room to lean over the sink to get her hair washed.
My 10 am: The kids’ Saturday activities have likely begun by 10. We check (and pray) for cancellations. If there are no activities, I may revisit the hair thing… if I was unsuccessful in convincing myself that it could wait.
Caribbean 11 am: Girls’ hair is still being done, and boys have either gone outside to make mischief or are completing any school assignments that they have. Mommy better not get a call during the week saying that so and so didn’t complete his or her work.
My 11 am: I have picked three things to clean and started cleaning them. If the kids are home, they have joined me so that they will have enough mom credit to play video games.
Caribbean Noon: Everything is done. House clean, hair fixed, calls have been made, and the day can start.
My noon: I’ve cleaned what I plan to clean, done what I plan to do, and depending on the season, I have started making snacks for the family so that they can watch whatever is on and not bother me for anything. Now I can do whatever I need to do – wash my hair, read, study, answer email, organize for the coming week – anything.
See how I organize myself and manage work/life balance soon on an upcoming podcast with Kerry of CarryOnFriends.com. Follow us on twitter to find out when and where to listen in… @socamomdc and @carryonfriends.
I guess we aren’t so different, are we? By noon, the essentials are complete. I spread things out during the week and get up earlier on weekdays to get everything done. Saturdays? I want to relax just a little if I can. What is your Saturday morning like? More Caribbean or a schedule of your own creation?