Monday, February 20, 2012

Back to Work

So, I've been working full-time for a little over two months now. Some thoughts on what is going well and what is not:

- I am enjoying being back at work. I like being able to structure my own time. I like being able to talk things out with reasonable coworkers (as opposed to toddlers, who are basically psychotic tyrants). I like having a bit of predictability, where I can be reasonably certain of getting time to eat lunch sometime around lunchtime, instead of it being contingent on getting somebody to take a nap. I like being able to discuss things with S that aren't related to somebody else's bodily functions.

- I am exhausted. Though my exhaustion has very little to do with work and much more to do with the fact that my children are conspiring to never let me sleep. In other words, I'd be exhausted right now even if I was still home full-time.

- Our morning "routine" is still not routine, and takes way too long. After two months, I'm still regularly leaving the house a full hour later than I want. Most of this problem is related to the exhaustion -- if I got out of bed when I'm supposed to get out of bed (which is, coincidentally, the same time that I got out of bed throughout grad school, and I was totally fine with it) things would be fine. Instead, I find myself unable to function, because it feels like I just fell asleep a few minutes earlier, so I cannot manage to drag myself out of bed.

- Also, LL is the pokiest breakfast eater in the world. It's kind of ridiculous.

- I used to not drink coffee. I averaged one cup of coffee a week. (Yes, you read that right: one per week.) I cut out all caffeine when I was pregnant with LL, and never went back. After I stopped breast feeding Kermit, I would occasionally have a cup of coffee in the morning. Then Kermit's sleep sucked and I had coffee every morning. I now have 2 cups of coffee every morning, and I often have a double-shot latte after lunch. It's insane.

- On Thursday, I skipped the coffee all day, and was incapacitated with a blinding migraine by mid-afternoon. Addiction much?

- I am home every day at 5:00 sharp. I play with Kermit a bit, then set him up with some toys in the kitchen while I make dinner. S picks up LL from preschool on his way home, and we try to sit down for dinner at 6:00pm, though it's usually more like 6:15. In general, this part is going fairly well, except on the days when Kermit decides that I am not allowed to put him down at all between 5pm and 6pm, which tend to be the days that I ditch my cooking plans and just order pizza.

- By the time the dishes are cleaned up and the kids are asleep, it's usually 9:30 or 10:00. We should just go to sleep (cf, totally exhausted) but then S and I would have zero time to do anything like pay bills, do laundry, do other household chores, get organized, read, or talk to each other. So, we stay up for another hour, sometimes two, to try to get other stuff done. But tons of things still aren't getting done. And we're exhausted.

- I wake up, get the kids ready, go to work, work, leave work, get Kermit, make dinner, eat dinner, play with the kids a little, bathe the kids, put the kids to bed, clean up dinner... and that leaves just one more waking hour in the day. Where do people make room for running errands? So far, I have shifted as much as possible to online stuff, but occasionally, I need to run to the drug store or the grocery store. Occasionally somebody needs a new pair of shoes, or something has to be dropped off at the post office. I haven't yet figured out how to get those things done, because they can't all be done on weekends.

- In an attempt to separate home and work, I have made two commitments: (1) I will not do any work in the evenings while the kids are awake; and (2) I will not do any personal computer stuff while I'm at work. The first one has been easy so far (I just don't open my work laptop if the kids are up). The second is actually much harder, because if I don't do personal stuff at work (like buying something online that I need for the kids, or looking up preschool stuff, or placing an online order for groceries, or paying an occasional bill) then I have to fit it all into that one hour of time before I go to bed. Which is why stuff isn't getting done. I may have to ease up on that one a bit.

- My coworkers think I'm a freak for leaving work so early. They also think I'm a freak for arriving at work so early. I am usually the only person in my office until nearly 10:00, and the majority of my coworkers do not arrive at work until closer to 10:30 or 11:00.

- I think things will be better once I get into a better groove with the morning routine, and once the kids settle down a bit with their bedtimes, which have gotten thrown off lately by a series of colds.

- Also, things will be better once Kermit starts sleeping through the night.

- It is amazing how many problems go away with more sleep, actually. More sleep -> getting to work earlier --> occasionally leave work a little earlier --> do an errand on the way home from work once in a while --> things get done.

- Also, let's not forget this part: More sleep --> happier mommy --> better able to cope with the things that don't get done.

- Did you hear that, Kermit? Sleep through the night already!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sleep. Please, Just Let Me Sleep.

Ugh, everybody has been sick. First Kermit spent several days throwing up, then LL got a runny nose and cough that was bad enough to get him quarantined from daycare for two days, then everybody was healthy for one glorious day, and then Kermit spiked a fever of 104 and cried for three days straight. We finally took Kermit to the doctor on Day Three of the fever, worried that the fever was indicating some sort of secondary infection after whatever stomach bug had him throwing up earlier in the week. Our regular pediatrician was on vacation, but the fill-in doctor acutely diagnosed, "Some sort of virus, followed by a totally different second virus. And they were both icky, bad viruses."

She was probably right. But I miss our normal pediatrician who speaks to us using words other than "icky" to describe what is going on.

Anyway, the worst of the symptoms seem to be gone now, but both kids are left with horrible hacking coughs that only appear at night when they lie down and let their sinuses drain into their throats. We tried propping LL up a bit, but he just rolls off the pillows (and flips around so that his head and feet end up reversed; why does he always manage to do that?!?). And Kermit is too small to prop. So they both end up waking themselves (and each other) up multiple times each night from the coughing. And they both require parental comfort to soothe back to sleep.

I'm so exhausted. Barely functioning. Three cups of coffee every morning and a double shot latte every afternoon and I'm still barely getting through my day.

I haven't had a full night's sleep in 18 months.

I haven't been well-rested in four years.

So tired. Seriously. Reaching a breaking point of some sort.

In related news: my friend's wedding. We investigated the suggestion of flying a grandparent with us to the wedding. My mom was very excited about it, actually. Then we discovered how expensive it would be to fly five of us to a hot vacation destination during Spring Break, plus book a large hotel room to accommodate everyone, and we decided that it was not worth it. Then S suggested, then strongly encouraged, then insisted, that I go to the wedding by myself. I think he is feeling a tad guilty that he has had a few nights away and I never have. So, I'm going to the wedding. By myself. Yay!

But honestly, the part that I am looking forward to more than anything else is the two nights alone in a hotel room, when I can go to sleep whenever I want and be positively assured that no children will be waking me up. Pure heaven! Also, I'm bringing a totally fluffy book to read on the plane. Suggestions?