New Normal

When I leave the house at 6:48, the air is black and immobile, still bated with sleep, icy.  I tiptoe across the half-frozen grass in wobby feet unaccustomed to high heels, and will myself not to tip over under the weight of my laptop bag, gym clothes, duffel coat.

I’ve made lunches and loaded laundry the night before,  but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve forgotten something and after I’ve acquired my Starbucks latte (can’t turn on the nespresso machine at home in the morning, lest the baby wake up), the memory slaps my forehead.

Mom,” I mutter, and hit her number on the car stereo.  She’ll rescue me, she always does.

Mom.  I forgot the money for Nolan’s book fair today. Can you run cash down to him?

She does.  And, I find out later, she brings a bag of chicken breasts too, and some cranberry bran muffins for the boys.  And while I commute downtown, Corey wakes up slowly, packs Nolan’s lunch in his backpack, reminds him for the sixth time to remember his coat.  He picks up discarded cheerios and tosses diaper bags out the window and I arrive at the office at just before 7:30, in icy high heels, sporting a mysterious fruit leather stain on the side of my skirt.

***

I’ve worked full time from home for the last seven years, with just two months off after I had Jude in 2012.  I thought I had balance down pretty decently: I was able to work out every day, keep the house clean, finish my calls and proposals and hang out with my kids and husband on a fairly acceptable level.   There weren’t a lot of extra hours for lolling on the couch, but I’m not much of a loller, anyway.

But the hour and a half round trip commute has definitely thrown my carefully crafted balance into a wildly spinning mayhem.  I can’t really work out at lunch anymore, and I can’t change back into my sweatpants.  I can’t run down the street to Nolan’s school if he’s forgotten his warm gloves, and I’m not able to get up between calls to put the whites in the dryer.  Corey is amazing but his acceptable levels of messiness are not the same as mine and when I get home from work the chaos hurts my skull.

I feel like I have all these little fluttery paper pieces of life floating from my brain, and I’m running around, tossing them back in there, but each time I toss I create a wind and flurry up a bunch more, inciting them to sprinkle out again.

Something has to fail everyday: my fitness, my family, my work, or the state of my house.  Usually, these past two weeks, it’s been the state of my house. ( My car got towed from my work last week and my Mom had to watch the boys till I could make it home because Corey was coaching…and all she could find Nolan to eat was a red pepper and half an English muffin.  So you know.)  And of all those things, I guess house cleanliness/stockedness is the least important, right?  I’m flailing, is what I’m saying. And hoping that eventually it just smoothly comes together.

***

Last two burning items:

1) I really love my new job so far.  The people are brilliant, helpful, and quirkily likeable.  My team is 99% young guys, and I feel like a grizzled newspaper veteran, but they are super good to me and the product itself is truly revolutionary.  I’m stoked to sell it.

2) On traffic.  There’s shitloads of construction in Vancouver right now, and a lot of people waiting patiently in line to get to the lights.  If you spot an asshole driver who cuts the line into the construction lane to try to get out of waiting his turn, do you sigh and let him in or stubbornly pull up your car tight to the one in front of you to not let him in because he should wait his turn too, dammit?

14 thoughts on “New Normal

  1. I can say nothing but I feel your pain. The chaos in my house also makes my head hurt, and I don’t even have two kids…just one S.O. whose “levels of acceptable messiness” are way way different than mine.

    I try not to let rude drivers win, because in the end it makes traffic worse for everyone. I like to think I’m stubborn like that out of a sense of trying to achieve the greater good, rather than just because I’m a vengeful beeyotch. Potato Potahto.

  2. This has been my life and some days it all works like a well oiled machine. Other days not so much. I have also had to make adjustments along the way. For me, a big one when Cara was born was getting a cleaning service. Basic cleanup was no sweat, but deep cleaning in my free time was not something I wanted to worry about. Best move ever and we’ve been doing it now for 5 years. I give up having other things to make this happen but so worth it.

    My tolerance for bad drivers depends on the day.

  3. Did those damn Busters Towing guys get you? They are the worst. I feel your pain with the commute lately, it’s taking me an hour on skytrain and bus to travel the 5 km from work to home. I would just walk it if I didn’t mind being one of those women wearing a nice outfit with running shoes. Ugh!

  4. I do indeed feel your pain as well. We’ve commiserated many times about our similar situations, except now you’ve entered the world of commuting. Some days, the working mom life is so time consuming you wonder where you’ll find a moment for yourself. The worst part is the the beginning. However, after a few weeks, months even, it’ll all make sense and the “new normal” will just become “normal.” I still tell myself “it’ll all work out in the end,” as uncomfortable as the initial adjustment period is. And it always does… Hang in there my fellow mommy.

  5. If anyone can do this, it is you. I know it seems like forever away, but it will get easier as the boys get older and more self-sufficient. And, I can tell you that day is not as far away as it seems, which is awesome and heartbreaking all at once.

  6. The grass is always greener, isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder that working from home isn’t nearly as bad as I make it out to be some days. Congrats on the new gig!

  7. Elisa, I like the way you think. Preventing entry to bad drivers for the greater good.

    Missy, I hear you sister. We do have a cleaner and she is wonderful — she comes on Saturdays for 3 hours and I have no idea how we’d do it without her. Any remaining cleanliness/organization usually falls apart by Tuesday or Wednesday though.

    Tiera, it was Busters. Those guys are not very nice. Also: I think possibly it’s worth an hour + commute to not have to walk in a skirt and running shoes, but that’s possibly a debate.

    I ❤ you both, Elaine and MoMo.

    Rebecca, yes, working from home has its privileges for sure..but there are some challenges too. I hope it doesn't sound too much like I'm kvetching — I love my new job and am pretty happy to be surrounded by brilliant people at possibly the coolest company in Canada — so no complaints, just pending adjustment. 🙂

  8. Kristin- just wanted to pitch in with a ‘Whoa- that’s a whole heap to deal with, Mama’, and a ‘You’re Doing Great!’
    That is all.
    No it’s not- adding a ‘You Rock’, because you clearly do (and I’m stoked to have discovered you again).

  9. Everything takes time – the adjustments to ‘new’ can seem all encompassing, but you’re kind of amazing… so I think you’ll eventually figure it out – but honestly, baby steps. I have faith in you 🙂

  10. It is so hard. I think no matter what the situation (working at home or staying home or working outside the home), with young kids, something has to give. Just make sure whatever goes to the back burner is not also the thing that keeps you sane. In September, I started going to a CrossFit-like class (at a box but modified for newbies and only twice a week) and it has been so hard with a nursing baby to make it work and some nights I’m rushing in as the class is already warming up but definitely has been my sanity saver.

  11. i always, always let the driver in. Maybe they’re inconsiderate, but maybe they’re in the middle of a crisis. Maybe they just need the small kindness of getting somewhere quickly. Everyone’s fighting a private battle.

  12. I don’t even work outside of the house and I am a fiend for lists. They keep me sane and keep things from falling through the cracks. Maybe you can even make list for small things that Corey can maybe fit into 5-10 minutes of his day, like chopping stuff for dinner? Or setting clothes out for the littles in the a.m.?

    Any way you look at it, adjustments are HARD, no matter how great the circumstances. Hang in there! Hopefully you’ll hit your groove soon.

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