Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You'd be amazed at how many doubletakes I get for being at my desk during regular business hours

This week I'm getting a taste of how the majority lives. I was asked to oversee an annual special project at the paper, one that is very labor-intensive, and it has required that I work a regular daylight shift to coordinate with the ad services department.

Once I knew Jerry's mom could watch Allison, I reveled in the feeling that I would have even one week of 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.

Granted, it turned into Sunday through Thursday in order to make my first deadline, and 9 to 5 is more like 8 to 6 without a break, and I'm working 10 days in a row, and I'll probably have to work at least a partial night shift on Thursday to help my coworkers with Friday's daily paper, but I still can't complain.

I'm well rested. I get to eat an actual hot dinner with my family every night instead of something heated in a microwave or garbage picked up in desperation from a fast food place. I have way more patience with Allison because I want to savor the few hours I get with her each night. Jerry and I get some alone time once she's in bed to reconnect -- even if it's over folding laundry or watching one of the million TV shows we have DVR'd that we usually never have time to see together. And going to bed at the same time is a luxury we've rarely gotten throughout our entire relationship.

The first words out of my mouth when I got home Monday?

"People who work this shift have nothing to complain about."

But after my second day, it was a little harder leaving Alli in the morning knowing that I wouldn't see her again until 6:30 or so, factoring in my commute. That leaves so little time before her 8 p.m. bedtime -- just enough for dinner, a bath and a bottle.

And even the most well-coordinated effort to get both of us and all of our things -- my purse, my lunch, her diaper bag, a handful of blueberries because I forgot to put them away from breakfast and Alli spotted them, a toy, keys dangling from my mouth and sunglasses falling off where I propped them on top of my head -- out of the house in the morning, has so many chances to go awry.

It isn't easy to obey the clock when your toddler dumps milk down the outfit you just changed her into, forcing you to change her from head to toe. Which takes effort because that was the last clean outfit other than the backup one in her diaper bag. The rest of her clothes are in the dryer, which requires a frantic trip down to the basement to try to unearth something that matches while she screams from above, rattling the stairway gate at your absence. And another trip upstairs to take advantage of the changing table in her bedroom so she won't run away half-naked, making the process even longer.

Then, just when you get downstairs, get your coat on, put her shoes and coat and hat on, she poops.

And you have to do it all over again.

As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to each schedule, but it has helped me realize that getting to raise my little girl on my own instead of dropping her off at day care almost every morning is a luxury most full-time working moms don't have.

I guess ongoing sleep deprivation is a small price to pay for that.


Fit Mama said...

you have to love the morning chaos. I've gotten to the point where I let her sleep until 10 minutes before we have to leave, and let daycare do breakfast. There is too much room for failure when we have 30 minutes together in the morning :) but with the longer days and nicer weather, we get to stop at the playground after work, which makes up for the 30 minutes wemiss in the morning.

theedithr said...

By special project, are you by chance talking about Progress? I work for an Ogden newspaper too.

Ray said...

Pretty cool that you get to work a regular schedule this week. I take it from this post though that you wouldn't change your current schedule for anything in the world. Am I right? ;o)

And I think it's awesome that with yours and Jerry's schedule that Allison does not need a babysitter. It's great that throughout her whole day she's either with "mommy" or "daddy." She's a very lucky little girl. =o)

Kristin said...

that's so great that you get a normal schedule this week! I hope you enjoy it :))


the_plainsman said...

Its a grind sometimes either way, but believe your situation has the edge over regular hours, the big plus being that you and Jerry have been able to raise Allison together. And I think that is great!