Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life*

In the plus column of the stay-at-home balance sheet, I enter the following:

--More time with the kids (to state the obvious). The sorest point of the working/family life equation for both Jeff and me is the limited time we currently have with Sean and Allie. With me staying at home, we know that one of us will be with them most of each day. And speaking selfishly, I am eager to be able to spend the happier portion of the day with the kids. By evening, I am tired and easily annoyed, and the kids are prone to dramatic temper tantrums elicited over the slightest insult. Dinnertime tends to be a battle of wills, and bedtime, as I have chronicled here, is just painful. When I'm staying at home, I'll still have to contend with the toddler equivalent of sundowning, but at least I will have had several hours of prime happy child time before that. Right?

--No-rush mornings. I equate our mornings to string theory---you know all those strings that supposedly vibrate wildly at the tiniest level of matter? Well, I feel like Jeff and the kids and I are kind of like that---vibrating hither and yon in our rush to get up, get showered, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair, do makeup (one of us, at least), find and put on shoes, bundle up in 12 layers of winter gear, gather bags and toys and food, head out the door, and battle traffic to my sister's house and then to work. Throw in meltdown management and diaper emergencies for extra fun. Jeff's mornings are much more stressful than mine; he drops the kids off at Kathie's, and the route from our house to hers to the train station is quite circuitous. His commuting time has almost doubled from what it was before we had kids.

So, Jeff and I are both looking forward to a much more relaxed morning routine. And I welcome the opportunity to avoid being in such a rush that I grab the first tube of cosmetic goo I see and slather it all over my face, only to realize after about 2 weeks of doing so that I have been applying eye cream, not moisturizer, to my entire face.

--A cleaner house. The chaos to which we've become accustomed is stupefying. Although I dislike housework and don't plan on engaging in it too deeply, I will find it deeply satisfying to pick up all the clutter and keep some of the cruddiness at bay.

--In general, greater domestic tranquility. That's not difficult to achieve, is it?

*Hmm.... The last three post titles have been quotes from other sources. Lazy writer! Next time I'll pull together something original.