Thursday, June 9, 2011


We're on Day 4 of Two Working Parents with Two Kids (and Two Dogs and a Fat Cat) and it's been... interesting. Interesting and exhausting.

It did not help that Claire's party was Sunday afternoon so we didn't use Sunday as productively as we normally do, or that I had a very scary, time-wasting migraine on Monday afternoon, or that I've never been this busy in my 3 years of working, or that I left early last Friday for Claire's little daycare party and didn't work all weekend because we had family in town and other fun events not conducive to finishing a tax memo. So I've had to leave for work earlier than I ever have and JP is leaving the house at the crack of dawn to avoid traffic and figure out the arrival schedule of his new co-workers, and the kids are wondering what on earth happened to their lazy mornings and evening park visits and walks with dad. I got to work at 7:05 yesterday morning and didn't move from my seat until 12:50 when I realized I was dizzy, hadn't eaten or drank anything but the caffeinated tea I made in the office kitchen on the way in, and I had still made almost no headway through my emails or piles of work. It was a sad, very nearly overwhelming moment.

The kids have been the first ones at daycare for the past two days. I don't like that. Landon loves it because he gets all the toys to himself for a few minutes. Claire seems just okay with it, but yesterday she grabbed my shoulder with her little lobster claws and shook her head vigorously at her teachers. I didn't like that either, though she was fine as soon as I left the room. I don't like that I had to wake Landon up yesterday so that we could leave and I don't like that he ate a cereal bar in the car on the way over because I was starting to panic about how much work I had to do and wouldn't let him spend 5 minutes eating cereal at the kitchen table. I don't like that I've only had 2 waking hours with JP each day since Monday. I don't like that my work to-do lists are quite literally haunting my dreams. JP is having a tough time too. He dropped the kids off on Tuesday (so I could get to work even earlier) and all the daycare teachers told at pick-up that he mentioned several times how much he missed them. "I only got an hour with her yesterday" he very sadly informed Claire's teacher, "just an hour."


This week is uniquely bad and we are making it. The kids are happy and fine and Landon loves cereal bars and the rare thrill of eating in the car. JP likes his job and co-workers and the commute isn't as bad as we feared. He'll figure out what he's doing, gain some trust, and then start adjusting his comings and goings to better fit our family life. After this week I can leave for work at my normal time which is 1-1.5 hours later than I have been and the kids can have more time at home in the morning. I do not usually bill 14 hour days. I do not usually get migraines or spend entire weekends both not working and not preparing for the next week. Landon does not usually sleep in as late as he wanted to on Tuesday. We have still had family dinners every night, even if JP has arrived when we're a few bites in. We have still cuddled in Landon's room and read books and tickled and given our kids every minute we can.

It's going to be fine, but this week, we're adjusting and I comfort myself with the fact that I think the parents are having a harder time of it than the kids.


  1. I have to admit I was really looking forward to this post. I love how you always have such a positive attitude about parenting and working and juggling it all. It is surpising what a difference two working parents makes in the swing of the schedule. The little calm moments seem to fly out the window and everything necessarily has to become more scheduled if you'd rather it not be total chaos. However, all that said, I have a feeling in a couple weeks you will have developed a comfortable routine and you will figure out how it all works best for your family. I agree with you though, one of the things I hate the most about being a two working parent family is I feel that I never see my husband during the week. My kids are older so they have after school activities and homework etc. so it's just a lot of running around. We are lucky that it's very rare for either of us to bring work home or work late. Anyway, hang in there, you'll find your rhythm.

  2. Hang in there. Such is life, but the seasons will change! :)

  3. My advice to you - don't forget what it was like **before**. Don't glamorize it in your memory, and also don't make it "less" to soothe the pain of the loss. You always want to be able to look back and objectively evaluate what you have really traded off. That is, IMHO, the only way you can be truly fair to your family as a whole in making decisions about work-life balance changes.

  4. Kim and Mama had good comments -- I'll just add that, yes - this is an adjustment complete with learning curve etc. But as with bringing home a newborn, you'll figure it out: new routine, new rhythms, new patterns of trading off here and there (trading chores w/husband, trading work time for home time, trading meals enjoyed together around the table with meals w/ added fun because they're eaten on the fly).
    You'll get it! And you'll learn to enjoy the pockets of blissful calm and family togetherness when they DO pop up -- and they will!!

  5. "Just an hour" That just breaks my heart! I hope everything falls into place soon for you guys.

  6. It's definitely harder on the parents! Sadly, this schedule sounds too much like my everyday life (even when I don't bill 14 hours) and it definitely sucks some days. There is usually at least one day a week where PJO doesn't see Timmy at all, and I've had a few of those myself. I think once you find your routine, you will be fine since you have such a good commute and mostly flexible hours. Plus JP will settle into better hours, I'm sure.

    Also, Timmy eats breakfast nearly every day at daycare. It works well for us because he is a slow and messy eater, so we get out the door much faster. It also was a good way to avoid any tears at drop off back when he was transitioning because he would be too concerned with his food to care about me leaving. Might want to try that on busy mornings...

  7. ABSOLUTELY the parents are having a harder time adjusting. Landon and the Biscuit will never remember this. And although you'll remember how hard it was AT FIRST, you won't remember the details of how hard this week was either.
    This is just one super tough week in the grand scheme of things. Hang in there!
    And as always, thanks for your honesty... it is much appreciated!

  8. Transitions are always challenging. New job for JP, a long commute for him, the disruption in your household routine. And on top of that you are working a zillion hours and have developed migraines. I'd say that's a bad week!

    I so identify with this juggling act. My children are older than yours (9 & 13). I have always worked many more hours than my hubby and usually with a long commute (in Houston - 45 min+). He takes care of most of the child care ferrying to activities and when he has to step up the hours at work it is HARD!!! Everything gets out of kilter.

    Your attitude is is all OK and it's going to get better.

  9. This post sounds like my average day! I totally understand how you feel. It sucks! I hope it gets better for you.