Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to the Grind...

From the moment I left my office shortly after lunchtime on December 23rd, I knew this day would come all too fast. And sure enough, here I am back at work on January 3rd, still wishing I was off and doing pretty much anything else besides catching up on work and running into the usual work-related problems. Ugh. But I will say that the 10 days didn't fly by quite as quickly as I expected. I mean, usually week-long vacations fly by in an instant, and when I'm driving into work on my first day back, it feels like I never had a break. Today it felt like I hadn't done it in a while, which was nice. Even still, it felt all too familiar. But I know that I packed a lot into my time off, and some of the lazy-ish days that we spent just hanging out at my parents' house with the Portland contingent probably made the time stretch a bit. Without constant plans, the days just moved at a consistent pace, rather than flying by like vacation days tend to. And feeling not-so-great on New Year's Day forced me to spend a good portion of that day doing next to nothing, so I'm sure that contributed as well.

Regardless of how much or how little time I spend away, it's never enough. Too little time and I'm desperate for more, and too much time and I start to get pretty contented with spending time with Jacob and being productive around the house. Or perhaps it's just that I start to be productive and realize the dozens of other projects I'd really like to work on, too. And I do realize that my time off was nothing like the life of a stay-at-home mom. I had all of our holiday fun at the beginning, lots of help for the middle, then a day of daycare and a day with Craig around, and then a couple days of mostly quiet time at home. I know that if I stayed at home every day, it would be a lot harder and I wouldn't have quite the same freedom and the opportunities to break it up like I did over the past week or so. However, I still maintain that I am made to be a part-time stay-at-home mom. Oh, to always know that the day after a workday was a day off...rather than always considering the weekend my next possible chance to do anything productive. It's not that I can't do things in the evening--I do--but it's hard to get everything going at the same time most of the time. To get uninterrupted time, things generally have to happen after Jacob's in bed, which is usually by 9ish. Then I need to have the energy to do it, and no other day-to-day tasks that monopolize my time, or even cut away at it in chunks...because before I know it, I'm left with a short period of time before bed, and there's no sense starting a big project then, lest I get too involved and stay up way too late. I know that stay-at-home moms don't have uninterrupted time during the day either, save for naptime (which is all too tempting to use for a mommy nap as well), but the mere physical proximity to the house itself has to increase the odds of getting something done, even if it is all of those little tasks that normally chip away at my evening block, like dishes, coupon cutting, or bill paying. And if those things are done, then at least I could do what I like with my evenings. But in the meantime, I stare at the insurmountable list of shows on our DVR and wonder when I'm going to have the time and patience to start putting away the Christmas stuff--which, incidentally, I'm getting the urge to do much earlier than usual. Normally I'm completely content leaving stuff up until at least mid-January, but for some reason (the desire to find all of Jacob's toys a permanent home, perhaps?), I'm pondering starting the great take-down sometime this week, given the time and energy to do it.

Jacob's drop-off went about as expected today. He didn't want to go to daycare. He wanted to stay home, play with his toys, and hang out with Mommy and Daddy. Who wouldn't? It was a bit of a struggle getting his coat on, and then he whined to be carried in once we got there. I practically made him chase me down the hall so I didn't have to carry him, and then he kept hugging me when it was time to go. I didn't hear any cries when I finally left, but he was distracted with trying to track down breakfast and I knew he'd probably be fine five minutes later no matter what. He did well on his one day there last week, so I hoped that would help him readjust a little more quickly as well. Still, it's never any fun to leave your child when they're begging you not to. Let's hope it means he'll be so happy to see us tonight that he'll be a complete angel. Ha.

While part of me was looking forward to getting back in the swing of things and having some sort of structure and schedule, not quite enough of me was there to make this an easy transition. I mean, yes, we will fall back into our old routine no problem, but part of me was really enjoying the time away from everything--work, daycare, schedules, etc. I know that I need a little structure, as evidenced by my inability to plan and cook decent dinners since we got back from Buffalo, but I was really enjoying having a lot of time to just relax and hang out. I guess I don't do nearly enough of it.

This year I mark my fifth anniversary at my job. That means that I now get four weeks of vacation each year. This year I actually only get 19.5 days because it's my anniversary year and the time is prorated based on my start date, but even still...that's a lot of time that I know could get used up quickly. However, I want to think long and hard about it and really find ways to utilize it in the best possible way for everyone involved...me, Jacob, Craig, and anyone else whose world I can better by being present at any given time. Whether it's actually taking those mental health days, or taking a real vacation, or just using a few for fun things I wouldn't normally get to do, I want to make the most of them. But sometimes having a day of nothing isn't such a bad thing. And now that I'm back to the daily grind, it sounds better than ever...

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