Thursday, January 04, 2024

First rhythm of the year: domestic labor v. paid labor

 I was JUST thinking that I need to be able to place more books on hold via Libby and then— suddenly—- I found Cooper’s library card in the kitchen junk drawer while I was searching for washi tape to put our laminated weekly schedule back on the fridge. Now I have THIRTY HOLDS, and I think this is what’s going to make me love my Kindle.

EVERYONE went to school yesterday (and Ben went to work), and I had four GLORIOUS hours alone in my house.

I went to the co-op for dinner ingredients and my favorite coffee, and then I cam home and did my 24 minutes of writing and wrote a poem for the first time in literal YEARS. I listened to a book while folding laundry and changing Harry’s room from holiday bedding to regular bedding (all 7 beds changed out— now I just have to take a load of books and quilts I de-cluttered in the process to St. Vinny’s (fave local thrift store) and figure out how to to cram all the seasonal bedding and pillows into one giant storage box. I took a walk outside. I read another book and thought about opening my Kindle. And then it was time to pick up Minnie. BUT I HAVE ALONE TIME TODAY, TOO. IS THIS A DREAM?

(I am sure she will be running a fever by tomorrow. One of her friends came to school with a cough so terrible I would be heading straight to the ED, so that’s neat.) (Also, IT IS A PART DAY NURSERY SCHOOL, not a daycare, SO NO ONE NEEDS to send their kids, so let’s all keep sick kids home, yes?)

(Today I have to pick Coop up and take him — with tag along Minnie— to the orthodontist over the lunch hour because the me who scheduled this appointment was an idiot, so it looks like Culver’s for lunch and more chores during preschool time since I will miss a chunk of home-time).

Actually! I also cleaned out my email inboxes, and once of my emails has been hacked. All personal messages have been wiped out, and someone signed up for Match, which is actually very entertaining. And! I registered for next year’s preschool year— so smart to send the materials out on our first day of freedom. I requested 5 mornings plus one full day. LOL. Also it’s 4K next year— she’s ALMOST A KINDERGARTENER. What.

Sheet pan dinner! I bought the root veggies pre chopped and the Brussels pre shaved. I also par boiled the root veggies so I could roast everything together.

Best coffee

She’s moved on to the next holiday


Does anyone else HATE being a passenger for a new driver? OH MY GOD. I see dollar signs the whole time just thinking about property damage and hoping the air bag doesn’t break my nose. Although, Dorothy broke my nose with her head when she was little, and it has been fat and crooked ever since, so maybe I need a re-break? BUT NOT THAT WAY.

My challenge this whole semester is to figure out the very best way to spend my kid-free time— this includes early morning, preschool time, dance class waiting room time, and also evenings. It’s a mix of being necessarily productive and also doing things that make me happy. I generally am a crabby shrew by the time Ben gets home because I feel like I get stuck in the kitchen around lunch time and then just sort of stay there all day long until it’s time to pick up Cooper and start my night shift as an unpaid Uber driver. Maybe I would rather work in the basement for a few hours before the drive zone? But I can’t spend my mornings doing housework only. It’s a balance. And, like, today, for example, I want to make spaghetti sauce because I want to eat spaghetti sauce. I need to make banana bread because we have a bag of pulpy bananas in the fridge, but these 2 jobs, plus being interrupted by a 3 year-old seven thousand times**, guarantee I will be trapped in the kitchen and tired and cranky by the end of the day. 

How do I reach end-of-day refreshed and excited to see my spouse and big kids, too?

I feel like answering this question will unlock a new level of happiness and influence, oh, I don’t know, all the other rhythms I am noticing. 

** Minnie does not interrupt Ben in the same way she does me— it is WILD because we both worked from home with her since she was a fetus. I can’t help but blame myself and the way I prioritize work v. domestic labor, but it’s MADDENING.

Cute, though


  1. Yay for using others' library cards to increase your libby holds. I totally do that since Paul and Phil don't read ebooks!

    I hope Minnie stays healthy! I'm hoping for a healthy stretch for us. Taco ended up with an ear infection after Christmas but since he has tubes we just treat it with drops - which are AWFUL to put in his ears. It's a 2-person job and he does the whole "silent scream" thing. I mentioned it to a coworker with teens and she did not know what a silent scream is. Do you? It's when they get so upset that they scream and then get a big breath of air and then the noise comes. It's truly awful. Paul did not fight ear drops like this! He would be happy as long as he had a phone to hold onto and could watch a video or something.

    Your time alone in the house sounds LOVELY!

  2. Wow--those four hours alone in the house sound so lovely and restorative and it looks like you enjoyed every moment of it. SO happy for you to have that. (My highschooler goes back next week, but then so do I...)

  3. Anonymous3:20 PM

    for the bedding could you use vacuum bags?

  4. Anonymous4:20 PM

    Re: the new drivers: my mom would spend the entire time pressing invisible brakes with all her might. And I was a timid 5 mph under the speed limit driver back then, so it was not warranted.

    She told me that she found her technique by the time my youngest sibling was in her 20s and had been licensed for years: my mom would take off her glasses at the start of every ride. Probably not legal for you, but....

    I do think it's insane that our kids go from driving nothing to driving an actual whole big metal car. We have toddler beds, can we not make starter cars?
    Using a kid's library card to put books on hold? Brilliant and diabolical and why did I never think of it?

  6. Yay for more library holds! Re housework vs other things, you probably already do this, but can you parcel out more of the housework to the older kids? That way you can spend your time doing something they can't do or enjoying your slice of free time!? Or teach Minnie to make banana bread now so you can reap the dividends later! :)

  7. Re: new drivers. I felt that way with my oldest, but not with my youngest. I think maybe I was dead inside by then? Ha, kidding, it was more that my youngest was a bit more cautious. Now I just prefer them to drive me everywhere. My own personal chauffeurs.

  8. Alone time. How precious! Also: I have the same coffee grinder. Fresh ground coffee is superior in every way!

  9. You laughed out loud multiple times while reading your post. Example: about the nose re-break, etc. I love your style of writing.
    On another note, four hours at home, alone?? OMG, that's amazing. I sometimes come back from work at 3:15 and pick up the kids at 4:45, so that gives me some- SOME- minutes to be by myself. I even took a nap the other day- glorious!

  10. I cannot. Even. Imagine. Wow. Also, new driver. Like you didn't have enough challenges right now! I do hope that you can start to identify how to adjust your routine to accommodate all of the new opportunities, adventures, and upcoming changes while still making sure YOU have good days (and not just everyone else!). <3