Stephen went back to work today after a long, fantastic summer break. I don't really expect or deserve any sympathy. Most moms either work outside the home and/or have partners who work year-round longer hours than a school teacher.
What's tough is that Ada and I had worked into a rhythm before his time off. It was disrupted by lots of summer fun. And I was scared we'd be back at square one. Well. To be fair, several other things have changed, too. I now have a part-time gig. Ada's crawling and cruising all over the place. Her naps are few and far between compared to when she was a wee 6-month-old.
But today, we managed quite well together, just the two of us.
Upon first glance, this setup might seem completely ridiculous. Shouldn't I just be watching my kid? Yes. And, I am. At every single moment? That's difficult, even if I'm doing absolutely nothing else. Ada bites cords, chews fuzz or clumps of cat hair, and finds all kinds of situations to put herself in when I turn my back for two seconds.
Also, in our tiny house, there isn't a dedicated room or area all for play. There are cords and hazards everywhere, even after baby-proofing. I try my best to work when she naps -- but temporarily blocking off this half of the family room helps when I am checking emails and doing other light tasks.
I toss her in the Pack 'n Play for short spurts if I have to, for example, grab a glass of water or fix something to eat. Go to the bathroom. Oh, and we also took in a quick episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! (I am not a mom who thinks 24 minutes of TV is going to turn my baby into a zombie. If that was true, I would be a zombie myself.)
She ate lunch.
She played some more.
I organized and finished a few projects I've been meaning to do for months!
And I discovered a new confidence in my mom-abilities. I sort of get what to do now. I don't feel quite as lost even though we don't have a specific schedule. I was nearing this point before Stephen was home for the summer . . . but that knowledge I gained of Ada's needs, desires, etc. didn't go away or atrophy.
Still, I was exhausted from doing it all by myself again. I need to build my stamina. Despite how well Ada went down for her naps, the construction on the street made it impossible for her to snooze her regular 2-3 hours. More like 1 today.
Not that I'm complaining. One hour is still gold.
When Stephen got home from work, I rushed to the couch to take a breather for a few minutes. He missed Ada so much, he even let me go for my run first! A rare treat.
Now we're celebrating Stephen's first day back with some Thai takeout. A belated anniversary dinner, too. Guess we'll see if day number two goes as well.
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