at home with two children while the Mr. works a full-time office job: week 1

It’s funny: I’ve been at home with two children every day since Simon was born over a year ago. But somehow, I didn’t really think of myself as at home with two children until Eric got a regular cubicle-y dress-trousers-required eight-to-five commute-into-the-big-city sort of job and, you know, bailed on the we’re-both-at-home-with-two-children-together-being-unemployed! arrangement. [Okay, technically, he did not so much bail as secure an income months before we hit homelessness, after we both applied unsuccessfully for shit tons of jobs. But whatever: I think that's quibbling, don't you?]

Last week, I entered the world of at home with two children in that solo-parenting-while-he’s-at-work sense. And we’re still working on childcare arrangements to give me writing time and other work time. So for now, it’s all me, from groggy morning coffee-and-diaper-change time through the 5:00-5:45 “When’s Eric going to be home?” interrogation. Writing (like, writing this blog post and emails–there’s no way I’m making progress on the book manuscript right now) happens during the baby’s hour and a half afternoon nap.

On the very first day, I had a perfectly pleasant nearly-eleven-hours of parenting, followed by utter exhaustion and strung-out-ness as soon as Eric got home, a minor second wind after an espresso and the quiet of both children being in bed, and a hard time deciding it was time to go to sleep when we needed to call it a night (but you just got home!). Day two was also pleasant and interesting–most days with these two are, thankmyluckystars–and much less crash-y for me in the evening, perhaps because Noah didn’t have that edge of something-weird-is-happening-and-I-don’t-think-I-like-it to be smoothed throughout the day this time around. Let’s hope the easier transition into evening is a trend rather than a fluke. But oh, how short the evening is! He gets home, we walk the dog, supper happens, and then we’re in both children’s bedtime routines … and it’s late, and we should be moving toward bed. Our society is fucked up, for this distribution of hours between work and the rest of life to be so normal and near-compulsory.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted 17 June 2013 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Our society is fucked up, for this distribution of hours between work and the rest of life to be so normal and near-compulsory.

    Amen. Even with a relatively flexible job that I love, it can feel like that during the workweek.

    But I’m glad to hear you and the wee ones are adjusting to your daily rhythm to some extent. Yay coffee?!

  2. ec
    Posted 17 June 2013 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    we just transitioned from both of us working to just my spouse working after the birth of our second child. He is having the hardest time adjusting as he feels like we’re all home hanging out without him. Our society is really messed up, especially on the lack paternity leave and quality affordable daycare. desperately wishing we were living in france for our children’s early years.

  3. Posted 18 June 2013 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    We just made a similar transition, although the second baby isn’t here *quite* yet. My partner took a salaried, more than full time, mostly-out-of-the-house job that started June 1. Previously he was a contractor working almost entirely at home. The transition has been challenging for all of us: none of us are feeling like we get enough time together; I’m doing way more parenting than I was before; Jeff feels like he doesn’t get any time to himself.

    Yesterday I was fighting a gnarly cold. Jeff left for work around 8:15 and got home around 7. He brought dinner, because I didn’t have the energy to cook. We ate. He hung out with the kid for a while. I went to bed around 8:30, and the two of them did bedtime. Then Jeff did laundry and ran the dishwasher (chores I’m not physically capable of at this point in my pregnancy — I can’t carry laundry baskets down to the basement or move our dishwasher across the kitchen to plug it into the sink), did some personal chores, and worked until about 1 a.m. It’s ridiculous.

    We’re anticipating that things will get both easier and harder once the baby arrives — easier because, after recovery, I should be able to do all my normal household tasks again, and harder because, ack, two children!

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