Friday, November 18, 2011


It's Friday.  I almost can't even say that without singing that dumb song from this summer.  I also then can't help giggling thinking about the review of the song where the author said it sounded like she was singing "fried eggs."  And THEN I can't help thinking of all of the parody versions that came out, including my all-time favorite, the Bob Dylan version.  If you haven't heard it, go find it on You Tube.  Totally worth it.

But this isn't about that song.  This is about MY Fridays.  I have always been home on Fridays since I quit  my job when Nathan was 8 months old.  It was a good deal in that we could get stuff done before the weekend and even had some play dates to keep us social.

Something changed in Nathan though when he started Pre-K 4 in September.  Suddenly he liked school.  He was all about playing with his friends.  He started asking me why he had to stay home with me on Fridays.  I explained to him that I don't work on Fridays so he and I can be together.  This did not seem to impress him.

On Mondays, Nathan stays with my in-laws.  Nathan did not at any time ask me why he can't go to school on Mondays.  I have to admit, this hurt my feelings a bit.  I think just about every kid thinks it's more fun to hang out with grandparents than parents.  His grandparents don't have to clean my house or grocery shop or buy his friends birthday presents or do laundry.  They only have to play with him.

I have to get on his case about eating his meals, cleaning up his toys, taking a bath and all the other mom things.  I have to drag Nathan all over town running errands.  Sometimes I even have to take him to work to get a few things done.  I am NOT fun.  I totally understand why Nathan doesn't want to hang out with me.  I don't want to hang out with me.

The end result is that for the past few months, I've had to play with Nathan while juggling chores and errands.  He gets frustrated because he doesn't have my undivided attention and I get frustrated because I can't get anything done.  The chores and things I was going to do on Fridays were spilling over into Saturdays which were supposed to be family time.  No one was happy, everyone was frustrated.

So, as this struggle went on, Nathan again asked me if he could go to school on Fridays.  After some parental thinking, we decided to enroll Nathan in school a fourth day.  I felt terribly guilty about this.  I am home.  I could try harder to make his days more fun than I do.  The house shouldn't be a priority over spending quality time with my child.  And the thought of just hanging around my house doing me-stuff while he's at school made me feel like the worst mother.  And then if I were to actually enjoy my time as opposed to simply engaging in Cinderella-esque tasks...  that might make me feel worse.

But then I thought about it some more.  What if I actually DID get something done on Fridays?  Getting the house clean, working on home improvement projects that I've been putting off, getting the errands done, all that stuff out of the way would mean that Saturdays could be family days.  We wouldn't have vacuuming getting in the way of enjoying ourselves.

And what if one of the ways I took care of my family was to take care of myself so that I can help my husband take care of himself?  What if I planned meals better and exercised?  What if I wasn't running around like a lunatic all the time trying to juggle everyone's needs while trying (unsuccessfully, I might add) to pretend that I don't actually have any?

I'm also hoping to devote at least one hour of my Fridays to writing.  I suppose that now if I have predictable, uninterrupted time there is no reason I can't write at least weekly.  And I'm hoping to get to the gym (not today, I cleaned out my basement instead).  If I have all day Friday to take care of me, where's my excuse not to?  And where is my excuse the other 6 days for not doing for others what needs to be done?  Exactly.  There is no excuse.   Instead, I only the accountability to actually accomplish the things I really want to.

Now, as soon as this episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager is over I can get back to cleaning the house.

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  1. I can relate as I went through similar feelings when at 4 years old Amanda told me, "I love my little sister, but I need to be around kids my own age". I felt it defeated the purpose of me staying home, not to mention money was tight and paying for the 2 mornings a week hurt.

    I have a much different outlook though the second time around. I don't have the downtime since I now work for the same hours the kids are in school. It's awesome that I can be home with them after school, but I would welcome a day each week or even 2 hours each day to myself while they are in school without the guilt that I would have felt with the first child.Our generation is overloaded with responsibilities and not enough help to handle it all.

    You do need to take care of yourself. If he's happy at school that's a great thing. Use that to your advantage to manage the things you need to do while he's in a good place. If you feel like skipping chores or personal stuff one Friday to make it a special day with him,you have the luxury to do so. The last thing we mothers need to throw on top of all the other things we balance is guilt. You are a great parent.

  2. Thanks Danie! I think you said it very well - it's a generational thing. I think it's wonderful that the women older than me paved the way for me to be able to have a career and I completely admire the women who stayed home and cooked 3 squares every day and cleaned and did all the other stuff. Honestly though, I think that both sets of women (and mind you, not all of them, but some) felt they were missing out on what the other "type" of woman had. I feel like my generation is the first to try to both completely and it just isn't possible. I predict that we will see a shift to more women choosing one or the other as primary and that being OK. The perception now is that you have to try to do both and excel at it and not feel guilty when something slips. I think we all need to find a rhythm that works for us and go with it without guilt. That's the kicker -without guilt. I'm still working on that, but getting there!