I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, since I’ve always felt that my new year actually starts in September. But I miss this space, and I miss making time to write about all the random parts of my life, so I thought I’d try to fool myself into thinking that starting to write again now was a most logical decision.
We’ll see how it goes.
I finished a five-year journal at the end of 2018 (I use this one and and love it). When I looked back at the start, before I boxed it up and tucked it away and opened the new one, I saw that my goal word for 2018 had been ‘less’. I wanted less. Of everything. Less stress. Less pressure. Less chaos.
It’s not that 2018 was a terrible year (unlike 2016 which, birth of P. not withstanding, really was). It’s just that, as I discovered, working full-time when your partner is also working full-time and having two little kids isn’t conducive to ‘less’ in any of the ways I was hoping for.
2018 was when I dropped the balls, over and over and over again. Sometimes little balls, sometimes big ones. I learned (the hard way) that if I didn’t write down EVERY.SINGLE.DEADLINE in my online calendar, I’d forget important things, even if I’d just been thinking about them the week before.
2018 was when I felt like I could never quite catch my breath, could never quite catch up, could never quite get to everything I really needed to.
Q. and I felt like our household was on a high spin cycle for most of the entire year.
I’m not expecting the first half of 2019 to be much better. I’m still on the postdoc, which means I’m still expected to be working full-time hours. Things are improving slowly on the domestic front because as P. gets older she’s happier to spend forty minutes playing by herself (usually an elaborate game involving dolls and Playmobil people), which means I can cook dinner without a screaming toddler attached to my leg,which means that Q. isn’t trying to cook all the dinners on the weekend and freeze them, which means our weekends gain some breathing room.
Still, our weeks remain action-packed, including a truly ludicrous arrangement on Tuesdays this semester that sees me leaving the house at 6:45 a.m. and only getting home again at 9:30 p.m. after teaching two courses at two different universities in two different cities. I don’t see the kids on Tuesdays. Meanwhile, Q. has just enough time in the mornings to drop E. at school and P. at nursery school and still get to the university in time to teach for four and a half hours straight.
We call them Terrible Tuesdays. E. made a countdown calendar with a huge sad face and we put happy face stickers on the numbers every time we finish another one.
Our schedules for the rest of the week are more sensible, but there’s no getting around the fact that at this point in our lives, having the first parent get home at 5:30 on workdays is not working well for our family. I’m looking forward to the second half of the year when the postdoc will be over and Q. will be on sabbatical and we will have some breathing room to sit and think and determine what comes next.
In the meantime, we’ll just keep trying to stay afloat. I made nachos for dinner last night, because they are fast and easy and, as it turns out, E. will devour all the ingredients that he would usually refuse to eat if I put them in a chilli (including spring onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and six kinds of beans). Turns out if you cut out the rice and add tortilla chips and a whole lot of cheese instead, it becomes “one of my favourite dinners ever”. Neither Q. nor I really believes that nachos are an appropriate food for dinner, but whatever. He didn’t have to cook and the kids ate it. In this current phase of our lives, we call that a win.