When your wife is on live TV every day starting at 4:30 a.m. and you have three children between the ages of 3 and 7, your morning routine is, well, challenging. Children are unforgiving, buses are never reliable and you always have enough milk for only two bowls of cereal. Did I mention that I also work from home? No? OK, I work from home. Combine the two, and if I make it to 5 p.m. fully-dressed it’s a Christmas Miracle.
In an ode to the early-2000s, peak Bill Simmons era, here’s a running diary of a random Tuesday in the life of a work-from-home, executive search consultant, Ballantyne Dad with morning kid duty.
Alarm goes off. Get up, grab phone off the dresser, hit the bathroom, return to bed with phone. Read Charlotte Agenda e-news. Cry self back to sleep realizing I’ll likely never try “Charlotte’s Top 17 Cheeseburgers.” Eventually roll out of bed and into my all-lycra uniform. Hair wall is north of seven inches this morning. Nice.
Earthquake upstairs. No… that’s not humanly possible… oh, that’s right, it’s my oldest, whose been up practice-dunking on a Nerf goal since 3:57 a.m. He’s certifiably insane. Scan monitor to see if other two kids are sleeping, and… sigh… the middle kid is jumping up and down in the youngest’s crib. SHE’S THRILLED. Every morning I tell him not to wake up his sister, and every morning he… YEP.
7:15 to 8:15 a.m.
Feed children, point them towards toilets, tie shoes, fight over clothing selections, cue up Netflix, break up fights, yell, search for chloroform.
Neighbors avoid eye contact with my hair. School bus arrives. Wait, no, hold on…
School bus arrives. Thanks, CMS!
Take 3-year-old daughter to day care. Spend the next four hours letting her unlock their front door and type her entry code into their welcome computer. “Can I help, sugar? NonononononononoNONONONO I GOT IT!!!!”
I have been de-childrened. Finish handle of gin.
Grab coffee from the Bagel Bin & Deli. I go every day; I love the NY/NJ feel. I lived in Hoboken for three years. Everyone was so nice! Upon entering, I yell hello, and they mutter, “Hi, Jeff.” My name is Jake. I’ll take it.
Collapse at desk. Put on headset. Make joke in empty house to no one in particular, asking if someone would like for me to supersize their fries. I do this every morning. I’m hilarious.
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Make dreams come true.
Page arrives home. It may be 11:30 a.m. for me, but it’s essentially 11:30 p.m. for her. I want to “talk” and “hear about her day,” she wants to nap. Afternoon De-NIED.
12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Weekly staff conference call. Several of us are remote now. It’s a joy. I could make one of the million conference call jokes here, but they aren’t jokes when they actually happen. Echos, birds, dogs, espresso machines, and the incessant dinging of people getting kicked off and re-entering the call dominate the 90 minutes. We all agree at the end of the meeting that we really should move to a video call. Spoiler alert: We will never move to a video call.
Run to Chopt in Blakeney. The line is only to Banana Republic today. Sweet. I am once again the lone representative of the entire male race in Blakeney. This can no longer be a coincidence.
2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Page, up from nap, retrieves children from bus. My office now becomes a Panic Room.
Can no longer ignore the Cat 5 hurricane I hear developing downstairs. Open office door and find 75% of the human beings downstairs crying.
6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Throw football (at) with oldest son. “Yes, you look EXACTLY like Kelvin Benjamin, buddy!” Encourage youngest son/middle child to spray insecticide on burgeoning ant problem around house. Try to explain to daughter for the 4,781st evening in a row that I don’t know where her pink ball is.
Page walks outside, sees one of her children handling ant spray, flashes look of I’m furious and will now go vent in the shower while you start bedtime. I go start bedtime.
7:02 p.m. to 7:29 p.m.
“Brush and Pee” is going to be the title of my memoir.
7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Books, milk, tears, bribes, bedtime. I would liquidate my 401K to watch Pete the Cat and Curious George in a fight-to-the-death cage match.
Wait for it…
Sons come spilling out of their shared room in a fight over whether or not the Hornets could beat the Panthers in…baseball. Idiots.
9 p.m. to 9:11 p.m.
Page and I make it through exactly 11 minutes of the People vs. OJ before she ditches me and heads to bed. At this rate we should finish the series by 2032.
Text from Page to “TURN THE $%*!ING VOLUME DOWN OR ELSE!!!” followed by the knife and eggplant emojis, whatever that means. She has to be up in four hours. I suppose I should turn it down one notch.
In bed. Finally, peace and quiezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Page’s alarm goes off, glance at monitor, dream of chloroform…