Friday, January 13, 2006

Important people have mahogany desks

It has been a hard week. Brian has been so busy at work - he billed 20 hour in one day. Before Miles, we both had stretches of really busy days at work. And it was never ideal, but the only real problem back then was that we wouldn't get to spend time together. Now when Brian gets busy at work, he doesn't get to spend time with Miles. And that is a much harder thing, because you can't explain work to an 11 month old. And meanwhile I become a single parent, which is really fucking hard.

I feel the need to reiterate that I love Miles more than anything, but after a week of taking care of him all day, doing all meals, all baths, all everything, I am burned out. I have found myself pulling out the desperate trick that I save for times when I really don't feel like playing with Miles: I pretend I am his nanny and there is a nanny cam on me. It is kind of like those studies that say if you are in a bad mood, you should just start grinning, and pretty soon there are some chemical reactions in your body that improve your mood. If I pretend like playing with Miles is the MOST FUN, even though I am faking it at some point I usually start to enjoy it, mostly because he is laughing and smiling so much. (I just re-read that last bit. I pretend to enjoy playing with my son. How bad of a parent does that make me?)

Most of the time, Brian and I come pretty close to sharing the work of parenting equally. I am the one who takes care of Miles all day while Brian is at his JOB, but he usually makes it home to bathe Miles and put him to bed. And more importantly, I feel like we share the psychic energy (for lack of a better term) of parenting. We both spend extensive amounts of time thinking about Miles, and what he needs, and where should we go today so he can see something new and have fun? And this may be the hardest part of Brian being busy at work - he not only has to spend so much of his time at work, he has to spend all his mental energy at work and he can't think as much about Miles. And there is still the problem of not having time for us to connect in the evenings, even if it is just sitting on the couch watching a law and order rerun together.

I am not sure what the solution to the problem is. In my ideal world I think we would both work part-time, say a fixed 20-hr week. Then we would each have a couple of days a week to stay home with Miles, and a couple of days a week to work. Seems like the burdens and benefits of working and staying home would be more evenly distributed that way. But it is hard to imagine the law accommodating that.

Speaking of the law, Brian forwarded me an email from Neil with a Coloring Book for Lawyers. Here is a sample page:

And yes, I colored it (among other things). Here is my version:

It is a pdf, and I couldn't find it on the internet, so I can't link to it. But if you want to see the whole thing (un-colored), send me an email and I can email it to you. It is very entertaining. Thanks Neil.

(that's Neil in his halloween costume)

Miles and I went to lunch with Gaby and Diego, and Wendy and Scotty yesterday (Charlie was at home with Irma). It was so good to see Gaby, who has been occupied with far more serious things for several weeks. In that time, Diego seems to have mastered the art of walking. Sometimes it is hard to believe that the one-day old baby we saw way back when is the same boy toddling around Chipotle. When Diego was born, I was six months pregnant with Miles. I remember going to the hospital and feeling so impatient for my baby to hurry up and finish in-utero-ing. At lunch Gaby offered to make Miles's birthday cake in exchange for me doing a photo shoot of Diego. I immediately agreed for two reasons: 1) this is the woman who made this cake for Diego's birthday,

and 2) children are my most favorite things to photograph. They are so unguarded with the camera. Asking me to take pictures of Diego is like asking me to eat a pound of Scharffen Berger chocolate. Anytime, anywhere.



Happy Friday the Thirteenth.


salcam said...

I'm not sure there is a better way; I work 20-30 hours a week from home and am home with the boy 1-2 days. Everything feels half-assed to me; I get done what I can in the time I have, but it never feels like I am accomplishing what I used to pre-child. That said, I feel your pain on the single-parent days. Those are TOUGH. I try to schedule an outing on days when my hubby is otherwise occupied - the Children's Museum or the Zoo or even just a trip to a local park.

Best of luck - and I think your idea about acting like there's a nanny-cam is BRILLIANT. Whatever gets you through the day, right?

Heather said...

Maybe it is a grass-is-greener thing. Always seems like a different arrangement might work better, when in fact they all have pluses and minuses.

Some of my working friends have said similar things to what you said - that it can leave you feeling like both the work-side and the child-side of your lives are neglected at times.

Seems like I am always trying to think up that perfect arrangement where I would have just the right amount of time with Miles. Working full-time would surely leave me feeling deprived of his company. But sometimes being a full-time mom leaves me wanting a break. The Goldilocks dilemma.

I am glad you thought the nanny-cam idea was a good one. I felt so guilty admitting it, but you are right - whatever gets you through the day.

Dutch said...

I know how brian feels, but I have to admit I haven't worked any 20 hour days. before Juniper was born I was billing 2150-2250 a year and getting rave reviews at the firm. this year, given my paternity leave, I won't crack 1700. I no longer have the desire to work after 5:00, the go-getter attitude about helping partners on Friday nights on assignments due the next Monday morning. instead I have done the bare minimum and escaped to get home to my baby as soon as possible. for me it's easier, because I know I don't want a career at this place. But if Brian does. . .oh man.