I worked for years in sales and advertising running between client meetings, cold calling, delivering materials to the printer. I would pick up the kids from daycare, grab a bag of potatoes as a side dish for dinner, shush the little ones so I could take a conference call while they were pleasantly distracted in the backseat.
I had deadlines. I had surges of adrenaline when things all came together just under the wire. I loved meeting and bringing new customers on board and being able to help new clients understand the value a partnership could bring to their business.
Skip ahead a staggering number of years, now a stay-at-home-Mom, that bag of potatoes is the only constant and is consuming a dangerous amount of my working brain.
I had lunch with my sister-in-law recently–the “Banker.” I have another sister-in-law– the “Lawyer” and two others; “Teacher” and “Orthotist” (that’s a real thing). I wondered if they referred to me as—“Mrs. Potato Head.”
Something has happened to my brain this past nine years that my sisters-in-law had a taste of during their maternity leaves. They too became obsessed with mundane, household stuff like organizing a cupboard. They noticed marks or crumbs on their floors. They nit-picked about a cobweb on the crown molding in their dining rooms. Now, back to work, those seemingly important daily nags no longer exist. It’s because their focus has shifted and the part of their brains being chewed up by mundane chores was swallowed whole by deadlines and coworkers, staff meetings, bosses and making bionic limbs for lab rats (I think?).
I am still laser-focused on that bag of potatoes.
I can’t quite pinpoint the actual moment this shift into lunacy happened but I can try to explain it.
I used to wake up and my brain would flash between; emailing three clients, fixing an error, editing a photo or write-up, laying out a design, returning calls and then I would make my oatmeal and start my day.
With those heavy-weights no longer in play, I’m left with; alarm clock, wondering what I’m going to do to fill my day and then deciding, I’m going to make stew for dinner—enter the potatoes.
I’ll make my oatmeal and ask myself, “What would be the best time to pick up the potatoes for the stew today?” I could go around 11am which would get me home by noon. This only gives me a few, short hours to get some of the household stuff in order, get the kids organized for school and their after school activities. Or, I could pick up the potatoes early, say, 9am but that cuts into my walking around the block time. I can’t go at 3pm because I’m busy picking up the kids from school and driving them to swimming! Man, the world would be asking a lot of me if the only time I could pick up the potatoes was 3pm. How would I even get the stew served by dinner time? Do people really trust those bogus claims on the Insta-Pot? That’s a life risk I’m not willing to take. Not now. Not ever.
Then I think of all of the Moms and Dads who have no time during the day to pick up the potatoes—poor souls. What sweet hell is that? I’m ridiculously lucky.
Do I shower now? What time is it? Potato-time is 11am so I should maybe shower now and then see if there are any cute, cat videos on youtube potatoes on sale and I’ll choose a 50km area because that savings could carry over into tomorrow’s invented problem.
I considered sharing this new way my brain has opted to function with my sister-in-law but how could I possibly begin to explain this is my new reality?
“So, just the potatoes then? You plan your entire day around buying them? Would it make more sense to just stock up and batch cook a bunch of meals all-day Sunday?”
When the epicenter of your day is a bag of potatoes you need them as much as Zehrs needs you.
Tomorrow—I need a red pen for Chloe. Better rest up.