It’s the First of the Month

Hello, dear readers!

I say this each month when it happens, but I love it when the first of the month happens on a Monday. Seems nice and tidy and fitting.

How was your weekend? We did a ton, starting with a Friday dinner trip to Ella’s Deli, where Miss Red proceeded to cry at the flying Bart Simpson over her head. She perked up for the carousel ride, though.

Saturday morning she and I walked to our favorite neighborhood coffee shop, The Victory. She even asked for it by name. It’s like Cheers for the caffeinated – owner Patrick remembers you by name and your coffee order, too. Miss Red likes going because it means blue moon ice cream or a cookie of sorts.

That afternoon we purchased a twin mattress to accompany the frame I found on Craig’s List. We then headed downtown to catch a free screening of the original Muppet Movie at UW Cinematheque. Miss Red lasted an hour, which was impressive.

After that, CH focused on taking down the toddler bed and assembling the new bed. For the first time in months, she didn’t get out of bed after we tucked her in (note, this only lasted one night).

Sunday was another day of awesome. My favorite cousin, whom I grew up with and lived with us for a while, was in town. We all had brunch at Ironworks Cafe and caught up. She’s a midwife now and I find that so, so cool. It has been her dream and it happened.

Miss Red and I were both due for a hair cut, so I headed to Alice first and then she came in the middle. We both lost a few inches, but have fresh new dos.

Then, the best finale to a weekend ever, we headed to Grandma’s house for the beginning of birthday celebrations. Grandma and Lady CH, CH’s sister (Miss Red is also CH – ha!), had decorated the house with balloons and made homemade macaroni and cheese. And per Miss Red’s request, there were cupcakes. Red Velvet, to be exact. Presents were opened, and we all settled in to watch Lilo and Stitch, one of Miss Red’s gifts. Again, she lasted about 45 minutes, which was impressive. Lady CH is thankfully back in town, and spending more time with her has been awesome for the whole family – Miss Red gets to know her more, and our little Madison enclave gets to be like, well, family.

And that brings us to the first of the month. And Miss Red turns 3 this week. All good, big, awesome things.

If you need a little more oomph to start your month, why don’t you listen to what I think of every time I hear the phrase “first of the month.” Talk about dorm memories, circa 1996.

– MD

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Working Stiff

I recently got a new job. I haven’t started yet, but it will be a good change for me and an incredible opportunity for my family. I’m headed back into non-profit-ish work, where I started my career.

I am looking forward to it, but I have also have been up at night and unable to fall back asleep in the middle of the night. For purely selfish reasons.

See, with my new job I will now need to work five days a week. I know, cry me a river. Most people work at least five days a week or on schedules that don’t fall into a “standard” 9 to 5 work environment, or in the Midwest, the 8 to 5 workday.

At my current job I worked five days a week, but in planning for maternity leave I approached my supervisor and asked to go down to four days, with Fridays off. I was fortunate that there was another woman who had done the same, and luckily, when I came back to work after 11 weeks, I was only in the office Monday through Thursday.I’ve had this schedule for 19 months.

Those first few months back to work were hellish. I rarely spoke about it to my co-workers, because who wants to hear how tired someone is, but honestly, I had a nocturnal baby and was going on, like 4 hours of sleep a night. Total. I would spend Fridays napping whenever C did and happy if we got out for a walk.

Then we hit our stride. She got older, got on a schedule, and we started connecting with other parents with similar schedules. I started smuggling her into a toddler story time at the incredible new library on the other side of town or we headed to a great play area. We went out for coffee with friends, had lunch together, and in nicer weather, C tolerated me slogging her to garage sales or St. Vinnie’s. And yes, when she napped in the afternoon, I often found myself doing the same more often than not. What a difference it made for our family! We rolled into the weekend, and even if I didn’t run errands, I never, ever felt rushed during the weekend and honestly, have never, ever felt guilty about working.

But now I do. I do because now our special day, our Friday, is gone. Soon. I’ve been fortunate and had opportunities in the past two years to take different work, but it was never a great fit until this new gig came along. This is a great fit and it means that our special day is gone.

My husband reminds me that it’s not like it’s the last time she and I will ever have a special day together. She’s older and loves her daycare and we love it, too. She probably has more fun with her buddies at daycare than with me, but I always felt that I had *it*, that elusive balance between work and life. And now I can feel it slipping away and I haven’t even started the new job.

I know, cry me a river. This comes from a place of privilege. I also know that yes, she will be fine and our family will adjust and that I’ll take time off here and there so that we can have special days to roll into the weekend. This isn’t the end. It’s a new beginning. And C won’t notice at all. It’s really me.

So as my lip quivers as I type this and each time I think about it, I know that this is good. It will just take some time. Some adjusting. And maybe a few sneaky naps on the weekend.

– MD

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