The green, green grass of home

9 Jan

This is a long post, so I’ve tucked some of it away under the fold.  Click “Continue Reading” to see the rest of my ramblings. 

Single working parents of small children, I salute you.  I am only on my second work day of this stretch of single-parenting, and I already feel beaten.  For the second day in a row, I went into work 40 minutes late, after being up until 1 in the morning trying to prepare for the day, hoping it would get off to a smooth start, which it didn’t.

I decided this morning that I just wasn’t going to get stressed out about being late.  I’ll simply keep track of the time I owe my employer, and when Michael gets back, I’ll go in to work and make up the time on a Monday that I usually stay home.  When I rush around, I tend to get into accidents, which slows me down, having to clean up the mess I wouldn’t have made if I’d just been slower in the first place.

The main problem these last two mornings is that Jade has been waking up in the night or early in the morning, and by the time she goes back to sleep, it’s the time we’re both supposed to be getting up, but I’m exhausted.  Her routine has been off since our Christmas holidays started (so many parties!) but I was hoping it would be back to normal by now.  She’s tending to sleep in and isn’t napping as well in the afternoons.  If it weren’t for work and daycare, I’d be happy to sleep in and have shorter naps (or no nap) later in the day, especially with the short sunlight hours we have now.  But the necessity of getting to work on time and of trying to maintain a routine similar to what they do at daycare makes this a non-option.

At times like these, I dream about being a stay-at-home mom.  Now that Jade is old enough to entertain herself for good long stretches, I’m often actually able to get things done on the days I stay at home, so I imagine that I might actually be able to stay on top of the dishwashing, toilet-scrubbing, laundering, paper filing, dusting, mopping, tidying, and many other ings that are currently neglected until absolutely necessary.  Perhaps I’m just dreaming, but even though I know being a SAHM is not a picnic, I feel like I’d be more in control of my house, at least.  Yes, I know there are disadvantages to being a SAHM.  Heather down the street definitely feels some isolation, which I also sometimes felt when I was home with Jade in her first year. And before Jade’s time, I had some strong concerns about what multiple years of unemployment would do to my employability post-kids.

There are also lots of good reasons for me to be working right now: financial security, health benefits, employment insurance when I go on maternity leave (whenever that might be), adult interaction.  And Jade has been thriving at daycare.  She’s clearly a little extravert and loves being with the kids and caregivers there.  She also does things that I never would have attempted with her at her age (like crafts with scissors and glue and sparkles) and is learning all sorts of great things.  Besides that, a recent study showed that kids who attend daycares end up having fewer inflammatory diseases such as asthma because of the excellent immunilogical effects of being exposed to lots of germy kids.

Anyway, the truth is that except for when Michael goes away, our current arrangement is working out okay, if you ignore the untidiness of our home.  One thing I can tell you, if I were ever a single working parent on a full-time basis, I would not have a dog; having to get him out for an hour’s walk on workdays is one of the single biggest stressors I have. 

Yesterday I decided to try fitting the walk in after work and before dinner; I do like the idea of Jade getting some outside time every day, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  I got dinner mostly done in the Crock Pot so that it would be ready more or less on time.  By the time I got Jade changed into her warm outside clothes, it was later than I’d hoped, so I decided to use Michael’s strategy of sledding down the bobsled run 2 or 3 times and giving Nanuq his exercise that way. 

The run was good because it had been roughed-up by snowmachines, so it wasn’t too fast for me to control… until we got to the last bit of the hill, which we entered on a slant because of the curve in the path.  We built up a lot more speed than I expected and started UP the hill on the other side.  We ended up stopping abruptly by hitting a tree.  *sigh*  It was the same hill I injured myself on on Boxing Day, although it was a different tree.  I was terrified because Jade was, of course, in front of me, and not really held back by anything because I had my arms out in an attempt to steer.  She did bounce forward and bump her head on the tree, not too hard, thank God.  She stopped crying within 2 minutes and didn’t even have a bruise.  But you can bet I won’t be trying that again.

So in the end, Nanuq didn’t get much of a walk yesterday.  I guess I’ll have to revert to begging others to take him out and/or begging poeple to come over to the house for an hour after Jade is in bed so that I can walk him.

The thing that really gets my goat is that Michael can’t possibly understand how much work this is.  I mean, he knows, but he doesn’t KNOW.  You know?  Even if I went away for 2 weeks, he has a lot more flexibility in his day than I have.  And he isn’t nearly as reluctant as I am to ask people for help.  For some reason, that just really bugs me.  I suppose I’m just looking through the fence and thinking that THAT grass really does look greener.

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One Response to “The green, green grass of home”

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  1. With a little help from my friends « Fawnahareo’s Place - January 16, 2008

    […] in it. Curious, I clicked on it and was brought to a page that included my most recent post (”The green, green grass of home“) and a couple of pictures of Jade from the Halloween photo album. It also said […]

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