And I’d been so optimistic.
The successful feeling of Day 1 casein-free was followed the next morning by daycare asking, “Just milk, cheese, and yogurt, right? If something is baked with milk, that’s OK, right?”
It turns our first official day of CF hadn’t been so “F” after all.
No, I explained, all milk needs to be removed. Oh, they said. Well, in that case, we’ll need to go over our menu more closely. The day after, I was handed a menu with pink highlighting on just about every meal that month.
OK. It’s just more work than I thought. But I can do it—I’d expected some of this.
Menu item: Muffins.
Plan: Bake substitute muffins night before.
Major glitch: Yesterday afternoon, I was told by the college where I teach that I would have to teach night classes next semester. Now, I’ve told them I can’t do this. I have young children, I’ve said. A baby who insists that her mommy—not her daddy—to put her to sleep, and a 3-year-old who is very reliant on routine. The last time they put me on a night class, we’d been seeing improvements in Logan’s behavior, but when I suddenly wasn’t at home in the evenings anymore, his aggression at daycare got worse. It could be a coincidence, but I suspect the two are linked. So I told my boss, please, I cannot do night classes.
Apparently something changed.
So because I do not want to see Logan regress again, I spent last night instead of baking muffins searching for new jobs. And even if I hadn’t had to job search, it seems something random usually does come up that takes up my evenings, anyway.
How do people find the time to bake all these GFCF foods? I’ve gone over my schedule with a fine tooth comb trying to find places to save time. What can I possible cut out? I wake up every morning at 5 a.m. to “workout,” by which I mean walking my dog. I could cut this out, but when I do, I feel guilty that the only attention and exercise my dog is getting is gone; plus, since I no longer have time to run and lift weights, walking is my only exercise and if I don’t get a walk, I start to feel heavy and ugly and bad about myself. Which makes me irritable and therefore a worse parent and partner. So the walk cannot be cut.
Then I have a slim 45 minutes to shower (which sometimes I do cut in favor of longer sleep before my walk), dress, wake my kids, dress my kids (which is incredibly slow with Lgoan), feed my kids, and assemble everything they need for the day (Sadie’s blanket, show-and-tell items, paperwork … and now CF foods). I also try to unload the dishwasher now, to ease the even-more-hectic afternoon. None of that can be cut. The next 10 hours and 15 minutes are taking kids to daycare, commuting to work, working/pretending to work while writing, and commuting home from work. From 6:15 to 7:15 I try to play with the kids, pet the dog and get her to stop begging for another walk, set the table when my husband shouts at me from the kitchen where he’s cooking supper, review Logan’s sheet to see how his day went, try to engage Logan in conversation about his day, firmly tell the kids that no, they can’t have a sugary snack right before dinner, corral them out of the kitchen and try to lock the pantry, pick up Sadie after her never-ending “up!” demands, corral the kids back to the kitchen to the dinner table, coax them to eat their vegetables, remind Logan to stop banging his spoon, remind Logan to stop spinning his plate, remind Logan to keep his hands to himself at the table, jump up to get the forgotten milk in the refrigerator, tell a crying Sadie that no, she can’t sit on my lap while we eat, jump up to get a forgotten fork in the drawer, and remind Logan yet again to stopping banging his spoon. Oh, and try to eat.
I hate dinnertime.
But it obviously can’t be cut from the schedule.
Next, I have to get Sadie in the bathtub, get her into her pajamas, read her books, and rock her to sleep. Then repeat with Logan. Again, nothing that can be cut to save time.
Luckily, both kids do go to sleep pretty easily, so from 8:45 on, I’m free. Yet now I have to clean the kitchen (which I do at a bare minimum, by the way), usually do some homework for the MBA program I’m almost finished with, or fill out the endless paperwork that comes with kids and particularly kids with IEPs. I could stay up until midnight or later baking Logan’s CF substitutes, but honestly, if I’m not in bed by 10, I can’t get up at 5 in the morning. Which leads back to feeling gross.
So seriously, when do people do all this GFCF cooking?
On weekends? I guess, but on weekends I try to devote more attention to the kids since we get so little time together during the week, on top of more homework and more thorough cleaning (and even after my “thorough” cleaning, the house still looks worse than my mother’s house’s messiest day). And laundry. And church. And any birthday, housewarming, baby shower, or other parties that are scheduled.
I’ve already given up working on the book I’ve been writing for the past three years, my lifelong goal to be a published author. I’ve given up on book club, and any form of exercise more than walking. What more can I give up? How can I find the time to be the parent my children deserve?
Feeling: Lost and numb