The Girl turns 4 today. A month ago, The Boy turned one. In between there was the month of December where Mom headed back to work after her 1 year mat leave and I (temporarily) stepped off the work track and climbed back in the SAHDle again.
It was only for a month, but I was looking forward to it with great anticipation. Too bad I didn’t follow my own rules, especially #1 – Lower Expectations.
The plan was supposed to be to not only spend time with the kids, but also begin acclimatizing The Boy to daycare in preparation for the new year when both my wife and I would be back at work. Along the way, The Girl was going to continue her 3 days a week routine at her preschool. It all looked good on paper, as they say. A few days a week with both the kids, a couple days with just The Boy and me and, depending on how the transition to daycare went, perhaps even a few days to myself in there.
Oh, how much I would get done! Imagine – having a full day to yourself? Oh the wonderful things that could be accomplished. Why, I could design a rocket ship, create a new high yielding crop that would triple the amount of food farmers could get off their land, and maybe even cure a horrible disease. And then after lunch I could paint the living room, watch the entire first season of the BBC’s version of The Office and catch up on all those 2006 World Cup soccer matches I recorded but never got around to watching.
Yes, I had plans. However, the plan I needed the most was a contingency plan. Three days into my month long “vacation” The Girl came down with the flu. She was out of action for a week. Meanwhile, The Boy and daycare was proving to be more difficult than I had imagined. I ended up spending hours with him at the center, trying to get him used to the new routine.
And then, (no doubt helped along by getting puked on by The Girl at 2 am one night) it was my turn. Now this wasn’t a normal flu…this was a full blown Man Cold.
The good news was that we were all fine by the time Christmas rolled around and had a great last week before we headed into our new routine with 2 working parents and kids in daycare.
So, while December didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I am grateful that we have managed to juggle everyones schedules enough so that the kids are in care only 3 days a week, thanks to some great bosses, creative scheduling and a very helpful daycare & preschool. Sure, Mom and I have wonky work weeks, but if it means that the kids get to spend more time with their parents then so be it. For them they have “Mommy days” where Mom is at home and Dad is at work, “Daddy days” where I am at home and she is at work and days at daycare. The downside to the working family schedule is that we only get one day a week (Sundays) where we are all together as a family. But for now, it’ll do.