Last weekend ushered in October, and with it, a wind that felt a lot like fall. It was a really good weekend around our house, with the right blend of activity and rest. We stayed in Friday night, loving a relaxing evening to unwind from the week. Saturday evening we nobly ventured out with friends, content to hit one of our favorite restaurants on the Hill for an early dinner, as babies and bedtime eschewing does not fun times make. The day had been rainy and cold, but I actually called the restaurant on the way there to ask if they would mind seating us in the two tables outside, as I have found that sitting outside instantly ups our chances of enjoying a restaurant with babies in tow. I’m so thankful to have friends in the same spot that we are, friends who also ask for the check with the meal so that we can all leave quickly if babies are melting down. We grabbed breakfast before church at a favorite local bakery Sunday morning, and made sure to squeeze in some naps and a walk that afternoon. On Sunday night I headed out after Henry went to sleep to go to Target, alone. I chatted with one of my girlfriends on the phone and spent 20 minutes smelling candles before selecting one to make our home smell like fall. I ran my hands over pillows and selected a tiny pair of jeans for Henry that, admittedly, are total baby mom jeans. I reveled in my solo and tranquil Target run.
Our weekends are usually a similar blend of fun and rest, but they are also a moment each week where I really feel the tension of this stage of life that we are at.
Weekends are when James is the primary parent on duty, when I get as much work done as possible. He takes over with Henry after the first morning feeding, which means that I sometimes go back to bed, but usually head out for a run — one of the only long ones I can squeeze in each week. After I get back, shower, feed Henry again, and feed us, it is back out. I quickly realized that expecting big chunks of time to work on my dissertation on my days home with Henry often left me ending my days frustrated. I can get some work done during naps, but not the hard brain work, the intense focus needed for writing proving hard to come by in stolen moments. I spend Saturday afternoons at a local coffee shop writing and researching, loving what I get to do, and wishing that I didn’t have to do it so that I could be home with my boys, enjoying a lazy weekend. I feel the stress rising up around me every week as I leave, so excited to go back home and realizing that finishing this dissertation on time is looking almost impossible. Before I had Henry, I met every milestone, even finishing chapter 2 hours before going to the hospital. But now my brain, my time, and my emotions are spread between my academic work and responsibilities, and my role at home.
Hear me clearly: both are a joy. Both are a gift. Both were chosen and no one forced me into them. This is not a pity party. I sometimes want it to be one, when I think how nice it would be to be the mom who could just read a magazine while her kids slept, instead of trying to read another 10 pages of Zola or tracking down an article. But we are all juggling, every woman, in every role, at every stage of life. Sometimes I want to think that my hands are more full than others’, but it is only because I can see everything I am trying to hold, and I only see glimpses of what others carry. And I remind myself that I am so blessed by the privilege of going to grad school, by the flexibility I have right now, even if that flexibility carries the price of unfinished work.
This blog post started rambling, I know, but the weekends always remind me of all that is good and all that is challenging in life right now. I want to remember how they looked, a busy shuffling between home and work. How they tasted like breakfast sliders and coffee and fish tacos. How they smelled like rainy mornings and candles at Target. How they felt like chubby baby hands and thick books and a constant desire to embrace all the parts of life that are before me right now.