Back to school is good for everyone. The kids were amazingly peaceful for a few days there (despite having complained gently about the holidays ending). Max is again falling asleep in seconds, after struggling to sleep in the break. It’s very nice.
Was a pretty hectic week though, with a little freelance work and a lot of parenting. Besides M’s birthday on Thursday – and the kindergarten party on Friday (parents bring snacks and stay to celebrate, so that’s another morning’s work lost), and the family party on Saturday – on Wednesday it was my turn to accompany the kindergarteners on their weekly forest outing. It was a beautiful morning, and overall a lot more enjoyable than I expected, but still: I really, really didn’t have much time to myself this week.
And I felt it immediately. Missing my morning quiet time means I have that much less patience with the kids in the afternoon. It’s not even about feeling any specific work pressure – I just really need to be alone a bit every day, and when I’m not, there is such tension. For years I was ascribing that feeling to the whole cocktail of parenting stress (sleep deprivation, frustration, etc etc), and all of those things really do suck, but just never being alone is the thing that really pushes me over the edge. And I suppose it was fine over the holidays because that was expected, and there was a more relaxed feeling generally, everybody pottering around on go-slow… but as soon as we’re back in our crowded day-to-day schedule, I need some time alone to cope. I really need it a lot. Hoo boy.
This kind of schedule also makes for an amazingly draining week, considering how little I actually get done. The few hours left in between mommy stuff are not enough to do anything useful, but they feel like they should be, so there’s a lot of awkwardly trying to figure out how to be useful in the next half hour or so. Combined with the annoying mental weight of all the stuff that Needs Taking Care Of Shortly (but not just yet). Pretty often, I just gave up and took a nap, muttering “radical self-care!” as if that actually meant anything. I honestly don’t care though. I feel more than ever that it is neither possible nor desirable to be productive all the time, and I am suuuper happy to finally have just enough space in my life to look after myself. Kindergarten removes that level of desperation from my schedule. It’s pretty great.
The coming week isn’t that much better, except that, crucially, my child-free mornings are not interrupted. More dentists, and M’s birthday party, and a blood drive – which I might just skip, frankly, they don’t need my haemogoblins all that much. And the week after that (sob) is a perfectly fine week except that I’ll be solo parenting, with A in Davos as usual for WEF. (Apologies to the actual single parents out there; I know it’s not comparable; but it’s a really useful shorthand.) January sucks, basically, and the cold and dark don’t help. I really have to remember to avoid scheduling anything extraneous at this time next year.