As I write this, the time on my Macbook reads 9pm, and it’s a Saturday night on November 16. I can hear my non-husband and our two-year-old son, Vincent, upstairs. Vincent’s bedtime is 8pm, but for the last several weeks, he’s been refusing to go to bed. Instead, he races around the house with his endless reserves of energy, or he waits until he thinks neither of us are paying attention so he can turn on his bedroom light and play with all of his toys in bed. Sometimes he sneaks out of his room and climbs into bed with us. This goes on and on. Every. Single. Night.
Here in the southern United States, we set our clocks back an hour in early November. I thought the time change would help get Vincent to bed sooner and give me a small, much-needed reprieve. Winter solstice approaches—here I am thinking I can at least gain one precious hour for my sanity’s sake. Nope. It’s been an ongoing war—me versus the toddler—and the toddler is winning every battle.
And tomorrow, my partner goes to Vegas for his annual week-long Autodesk University conference. I’ll be single-mom’ing it with housework, a full-time job, two dogs (one of whom is old and higher maintenance), and my beautiful, vivacious two-year-old boy.
I find myself wishing I could fast-forward to when Vincent is five years old quite a bit lately. There’d be several perks. For one, he’d be potty trained—we’d save money on diapers and wipes and not have to deal with that yuckiness anymore. He’d also be able to dress himself, for the most part. He could verbalize his needs so we’re not constantly feeling like we’re playing a game of charades. We would save boatloads of money by sending him to kindergarten rather than paying nearly $200 a week in daycare costs. Our son would be more… self-sufficient. More independent, perhaps.
Yes, there would be many perks to five-year-old Vincent.
To the parents who drop off their children at daycare every Monday: you may truly empathize when I say, “Thank God it’s Monday.” You see, Mondays signal a break from the responsibilities of parenting our adorable, illogical toddlers. Even if it also signals the commencement of our professional lives. For we have two full-time jobs (for me, three since I’m also working to be a novelist). One typically lasts forty hours per week—Monday through Friday—and the other is seven days a week for the rest of the time—including a bit of overlap.
So yeah. “TGIF” doesn’t mean anything special to me these days. I’m all about TGIM.
I used to feel guilty for looking forward to Mondays instead of Fridays. But I recognized that I need Mondays to just level-set with my soul and get some kind of break-even if it isn’t a true break. Because I still have to dedicate time and energy to my job. Many people in the traditional workforce can at least get the weekends to unwind. But such a thing doesn’t exist for the toddler parent.
It is mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting to be a working mother, but I’m doing the best I can. I know it’ll all be worth it for my child.
Even though I’m tired and can barely function, I love my son with all my heart. I promised him when he was in my belly that I’d give him the best home I could, one filled with love and support and stability—something I didn’t have as a child—and I intend to keep that promise.
So, Vincent Alan Bruxvoort—you’re a royal pain in the ass a lot of the time, but just know that I don’t love you any less when I scream at the top of my lungs, “Thank God it’s Monday!”