Seeing as this is a habit, next year I plan on using my vacation time in a creative way and working five days a week, but reducing the number of hours a day I work. In part I’m inspired by my new work schedule, which begins in September. It may sound hellish at first, but in truth it is brilliant:
I will be working six days a week: Monday – Saturday.
I know you’re all thinking I’ve lost my ever-loving mind. How in the hell fire will working more days decrease my stress.
Let me explain.
First of all I had several things to consider:
- I AM the interlibrary loan department at the library. If I miss a weekday we fall woefully behind and that makes the rest of the work week chaotic. So working Tuesday – Saturday isn’t a good idea.
- I hate closing a night at the library. I don’t get home until 10:15, I have trouble falling asleep, and then I’m up again with the kids at 5 in the freaking morning. It is just too much.
- Hope has ADHD and needs me to be present in the evening to supervise homework. Sam is in college — in addition to working 40+ hours a week — and needs quiet time in the evening to study. Atticus and Persy need me to be present in the evening: nursing, cuddling, playing, bathing, tucking in. And I desperately need some time to recharge at some point in the day.
- ACK! But all this other stuff needs to be done too! When will I make doctor appointments and pay bills and look through homework? What about the laundry and cooking and cleaning and errand running?
- Speaking of appointments. With the three kids all the ortho/dentist/doctor/school appointments are eating up my sick leave at work.
Yeah. Our current schedule just isn’t working. I wake at 5 in the morning, have the babies to daycare by 7:30, get to work at 7:45, leave work at 5 and then spend from 5pm to 9pm being a complete bitch. I’m trying to do too many things at once. Sure I’m there with the kids, but while I’m nursing I’m paying bills. While I half-listen to Hope explain her math homework I’m chopping vegetables. I put the laundry in the wash and forget to put it in the dryer because I’m on the floor playing. Too. much. to. do. Then I get everyone in the bed, pack my lunch, shower and then try to read for 30 minutes. My husband and I both lack the energy to spend time together because we are exhausted.
What to do? If I just had some time to myself with the kids in school to do the domestic things, had some quiet to myself, was able to be a fully-present parent in the morning and evening, AND could keep my top of my duties at work I would be GOLDEN.
Then it hit: WHAM! I need mama mornings.
Here is what my schedule will look like:
Monday / Wednesday: 10:30 – 5
Tuesday / Thursday / Friday: 11-5
Saturday: 9:45 – 6:45
Here is WHY this is going to rock:
- I have my mornings before the kids go to school to SOLELY FOCUS ON THE KIDS. I needn’t worry about my hair or makeup or purse. My job is to wake them, dress them, feed them, and not be a screaming banshee. I’ll don my exercise clothes and brush my teeth and then I’m all mom.
- After dropping off said lovely children I will have time to go for a morning walk. It is cooler. I have my Audible account. I can think and burn calories. Healthy introvert win.
- Each morning I have a specific task after my morning walk. Mondays it is to throw something in the oven and settle the weeks bills / file things / etc…. Tuesdays will be my thrifting day. Wednesdays will be my 1-hour cleaning day (set the timer and do what I can). Thursdays I will pick a particular project or room to work on and do things that are difficult to do with tots underfoot. Fridays I will go grocery shopping BY MYSELF. I can also schedule all necessary appointments for mornings and know that it will not impact meetings or eat into my sick time.
- After work I will come home, wrap up dinner, and then I’m DONE. I can focus on my kids and my husband. And when the kids are in bed I can knit or read or hang out with Sam. Football games, teen sleepovers, and band recitals are no problem because I’m not having to work a night (at my library everyone works a weekend day or a closing shift).
- Saturday will be a long workday, but a productive one. NO MEETINGS and no new emails coming through. That means I can just work. Yay! And I’ll have my mornings with the kids since I wake with the early birds and I can still tuck them in bed at night. I also think it is good for Sam to spend time with the kids alone.
- Sunday is family day. A day where everyone is home, we can do yard work (or not), I can cook a big pot of soup, and we can relax as a family.
I really like the idea of focusing on my kids in the morning and evening. I want quality time with them. This also means I need to change a few other things to *truly* be with them. For one, 5pm – 8pm is no technology time. Atticus may watch some Netflix while I cook dinner, but no blogging, no mindless scrolling through facebook, no Kindle reading while nursing. Just being. I’ve also deleted the Facebook app off my phone. I can check FB on my lunch break and at night. I don’t need to stare at my phone when I’m bored.
I know it seems like I’m just thinking about my family and ignoring that craving for some time alone. A morning walk with my thoughts. A Saturday to work without chatter with a cup of coffee in hand and some Arcade Fire playing on the computer. Putting a loaf of bread in the oven. The quiet stillness of my empty house with the dryer humming in the background while I fold clothes. Reading and night and when my morning projects are done. This is enough. Just enough solitude to sweeten the joy of seeing my family.
I cannot wait.