Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The New Mondays

Have I mentioned I'm home with the kids on Mondays this summer? During the great lay-off scare of 2009 (now a part of history, you see), we cut back the girls' preschool attendance to save money. Once E got the new job, we re-enrolled them for Fridays, but I am still staying home Mondays with them. Addie has ballet at 12, and Nolie has gymnastics at 3. So I'm basically driving them back and forth to the gym all day, and get to feel like a real suburban mom.

[Ooh. I'm thinking of the gender/class politics of that there statement. Chew on that].

E's new job also has him working much later, so I'm getting used to picking up the kids from school, making dinner, getting lunches ready, and in general being entertaining until he gets home at 7. I've even had plates ready for him to re-heat. It's gloriously domestic.

[Another lie. We split household duties pretty evenly. In fact, he's pulled a lot of load the past few years while I've settled into this tenure-track business. The load is simply shifting to accommodate our new circumstances.]

I'm super-grateful all of this is happening in the summer, when the schedule's a bit more flexy and I don't have classes to stress about. But I do admit to feeling a bit antsy about what's to come in August, once the semester kicks in (and it promises to be a bruiser, with three or four trips--professional and personal--classes, and mucho articles and conference presentations due, which I've been ignoring this summer in favor of focusing on getting the book out the door. Ouch).

Because it means I'll need to be getting up super-early to get to work so I can get a full day in before needing to pick Addie up from kindergarten at 3:30. Then I'm full-on mommy with them until Eric gets home at 7. And may need to work evenings to keep caught up.

One voice in my head says: you can do it. It will be fine. You've worked the kooky split-schedule before.

Another voice: Wah-wah. Welcome to the real world. Everyone else has to do this to make ends meet.

Yet another voice: You don't really have to do any of this. You could, ostensibly, get away with working a "normal" schedule, get all your stuff done, and still get tenure in a few years. You still don't have to work nights and weekends. You're the only one making you feel like a fraud.

The last voice: I hope nobody on my tenure committee reads this. The Chronicle of Higher Education warns that it could be used against me. They'll think I could have worked harder, and blogged less.

Anyway, I think what I'm really worried about is losing the spaces I've built up for myself. I'm worried about the re-negotiations E and I will have to go through as we figure out how to make it all happen on not-quite-enough time; I'm worried about losing my few free hours in the morning and night to work; I'm worried about dropping the ball on important work commitments. And I can't even fathom what might happen if another family crisis hits, like it did last year. That was r-o-u-g-h. Rough.

Ah, yeah. But everything's going to be okay. Yesterday, Monday, we did all the crazy driving around and dancing and gymnasting, and then made dinner together, the girls and I, and sat out on the back patio, throwing frisbees and making mud pies and having a tea party and eating ice cream sandwiches. And all was well.

All is well.

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