This evening, at the GIPNA 4th Annual Fine Wine and Cheese party, I ran into my friend Meredith, who asked me about my new job, and whether I was still blogging, although not necessarily in that order. She told me that she used to read this blog and feel guilty because I was always taking my children on fabulous adventures, while she was working.
I now understand what she means, as I’ve neither written for pleasure in almost a month, nor done anything enriching with my children in twice as long. Where I used to have five solid days each week to take my children to museums, on playdates, and to IKEA, I now have but one (the other taken up with football with the cousins until early February). And that day is also the day that suburbanites trek into the city to see the fish, tourists on a mad-dash Windy City trip gawk at the Bean, and all of Lincoln Park/Lakeview goes shopping. Add in my regular chores of laundry, bill-paying, dry-cleaners, menu-planning, Target runs, and catching up on my sleep. Not to mention squeezing in quality one-on-one time with each child (one of whom insists that that time include a ride on the trip and a trip to Starbucks), and well, there’s hardly time to breathe, let alone muster the energy to pack three children into a crowded museum for the day.
Yes, I know: this is a uniquely middle-class problem, and I’m fortunate to count myself within it. I’ve been spoiled by years of visiting the Field, the Shedd, MSI, the Notebaert, the zoos, the Arb, and the Garfield Park Conservatory (not to mention the big blue box) pretty much on my own terms. But: I now understand why people take vacations. I have not worked long enough to feel guilty, as Meredith did, about the adventures upon which I am not or no longer taking my children. Someone ask me in a year if this is still true.