Some weeks, everything falls into place. Like last week.
Even though My Guy was gone for four days on a business trip, with the act of precarious balancing and, more importantly, asking for help, I managed. Despite missing his flight home, which contributed to a lot of sadness all around, there was still a happy ending.
He came home at nearly 9:30pm last Friday to two wired little girls excited about being the surprise for their daddy. At two hours past their bedtime, he hadn’t expected to see them, even though he was crushed that he couldn’t.
The stars amazingly aligned for us that day when I surreptitiously moved their naptime after a deliberately long morning at the Children’s Museum, where face(and-body)-painting themselves (and me) was the highlight, so they were able to stay up to welcome their daddy home.
Not only that, they slept in till 8:30 the next morning - another present for the travel-weary parent and the plain exhausted one (that would be me). It was the cherry on top to an already good week despite the solo-parenting and the absence of our favorite guy.
As my friend Julie says, saying yes to help is a good thing. If there’s one thing I learned about parenting, it’s that it truly does take a village, and boy do I love mine. I also get that, since many of us don’t actually live in real villages, this help is a luxury sometimes, and I am certainly grateful for all the extra hands during the week where my two seemed so woefully inadequate.
It also made me even more appreciative of My Guy who I already knew does so much around the house, but only truly felt it when he was away. Every morning, when I’m most bleary-eyed and utterly useless, he gets the girls up and fed, and he usually drops Little Miss off at preschool (or picks her up that day). He also makes me coffee before my feet even touch the ground (bless his heart).
In the evening, when every ounce of my energy has been zapped by the toddler who stays home with me, the chores around the house, and sometimes a freelance project or two, he does bath time and puts the girls down to bed by himself. And that is after his own full day at work.
We’re a good team. Partners in every way.
When he left the first time, three weeks ago, it was interesting for me to challenge myself - and I do thrive on challenge, in case you didn’t know - by filling the void he left behind. I
barely handled the early mornings and the late evenings, and, for extra credit, because I’m such a nerd, I even changed the sheets on all the beds and took the trash out - tasks I never touched when he was around.
I felt pretty good about myself. This solo-parenting thing wasn’t a bad gig after all.
When he came back from his first trip, we both had exciting news to share.
The girls are alive! We all survived, was mine.
The meeting with the CEO went well! And because it went so well, we’ll be traveling to different cities every other week for the next two months, was his.
I didn’t like his news.
But it paid our bills, and it meant he’s kicking ass. His fledgling business is taking off. It’s all good.
On the other hand, the freelance project I took on to give myself a little more financial autonomy, something I miss desperately from my days as a working parent, is also adding more to my plate on top of everything else. That’s the price I pay for not wanting to ask My Guy for money to buy myself new running gear or to get a haircut.
However, with kind neighbors, understanding friends, and paid sitters, I am able to manage most of it. I don’t look forward to challenging myself at this solo-parenting gig anymore though. I just get on survival mode and look forward to the moment My Guy gets home.
Our routine is not quite the usual; our rhythm is disrupted. Out of whack. Broken. While I’m a proponent of finding balance and making sure I meet my own needs as well as that of others at home, this week, maintaining that balance is proving to be a Herculean task.
A new project in the beginning of the week threw me off my writing schedule (for work and for this blog), and I’ve been trying to keep up since. And just when I think I finally have the time to catch up, I am unexpectedly derailed by my toddler’s fever, a sick babysitter or my own lack of focus.
I learned that just because you sit down to write, doesn’t mean the right words will come. But when you’re dying to say so much and are afforded so little time, you do what you can.
You type in a stream of consciousness, you ramble, and you even make mistakes. But you still do it because you can’t not write anymore.
I can’t not write anymore.
I can no longer push these words, bubbling and boiling to the surface, aside to make room for deadlines and babies and babysitters who cancel. That’s the thing about writing or not writing, rather - when the words need a place to go but have no outlet, it begins to crowd my insides and the silence I crave to unwind and recharge will no longer do.
Yet, sometimes when you have to balance that which feeds the body and that which nourishes the soul, something has to give. Often times, it’s that which is unseen. The insides must wait. Boiling. Bubbling.
And when you finally get the chance, in between putting a sick child down to nap and sending a progress update to your client, you seize the moment, sharply inhaling as your body breaks the surface of the waves that consumed you.
So here I am. Purging. Unleashing. Unburdening.
And profusely apologizing for this raw post. I can barely manage the time to put my thoughts down, let alone try for eloquence.
Now that this is finally done, I can return to keeping up with the living. But barely.
Yes, there are weeks like this too.