Mondays are the longest days for me. On Mondays I get up early to get ready: bag packed, shower taken, books ready by 6:30 or 7:00. I’m a stay-at-home mom in the morning. I spend as much quality time as I can with my little girls–today it was tent-building and bouncing on the bed, cleaning out their beds (why do they want to sleep with every stuffed animal they own?), picking up toys, starting laundry. Then dinner in the crock pot (apple, cranberry, and apple meatballs today), lunch for the girls on the table and a quick sandwich for me while we play “Go, Fish!” Joy’s started giggling with this funny little ch-ch-ch soun; she sounds like Ernie from Sesame Street every time she makes a match.
I hastily apply make-up and throw on a nice outfit in time for my husband to come home. We kiss, I grab my bag, and go to campus. We pass the baton on Mondays; he has the girls for lunch, nap times,and a special Monday date. I come home from meetings and office hours and teaching class just in time to eat the dinner I stuck in the crock pot.
Sometimes Mondays flow smoothly, and I adjust easily to the transition from mom to professional. Other days there’s more friction in the hand-off, when I’m tired or when I’m sick or when I’ve had an off-day. Then it’s hard to just jump into another life. It’s like I forget the rules of one world heading to another, like I have hair bows and coloring books when I’m supposed to have research books and a computer. I wonder–can my students see my tension? Do they know that I’m really a mom inside? Did they notice when I tucked the My Little Pony back in my bag, a stowaway gift from 3-year-old hands? Do I tell too many baby stories? Do I use too many examples from Pixar movies in my literature class? Or am I really able to live these dual lives, professional and homebody, critic and cuddler, scholar and mom? Can I pull this off, the having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too?
I come home to exuberant babies drinking milkshakes from a date with Daddy and a late (for us) dinner together, and I breathe in gratefully. To have all of this at once–sometimes it’s too much, but it’s also just exactly and completely enough.
Still, I’m glad Mondays only come once a week.
Linked with The Extraordinary Ordinary’s “Just Write” Series.