Thursday, April 1, 2010

Being a Single Mom

(This post was written on 2/13 but could not be posted until his employment situation was settled. As of today, his contract has ended and he is still looking for work.)

Jim traveled overnight for the first time while I was working over the second half of this week. He has traveled before but he either took Katie with him (a pleasure trip) or it was summertime and I didn't have to get to school. I was very nervous about this. I have to be at school by 7:30am, I tend to be notoriously 5 minutes late every day, and I had to figure out a way to get Katie to daycare in time to get back to school on time. Katie is used to eating a full breakfast (it tends to be her biggest meal of the day). She eats fruit, instant oatmeal or cereal, and Jim even makes her an egg! 3-year-olds, of course, are also not well known for their ability to get ready quickly and efficiently. Added to that, our new house is much farther from school and from Katie's daycare so that the drive is at least 20 minutes to daycare. I thought there was no way we could possibly do this.

Taking some advice from friends, I prepped to the hilt. The night before I made my lunch and put together leftover tubs of fruit (grapes and blueberries). I thought that Katie could eat some or all of her breakfast in the car if we found we were running late. I put everything in the fridge in one place so it would be grab and go. I filled the coffee pot with water (I use the plain hot water run through the coffeepot to make hot chocolate, tea, and instant oatmeal in the morning) so it would be ready to just push the button instead of having to fill in the morning. I even prepped other things that tend to crop up in the morning. I emptied the dishwasher, filled the cat water bowl that I knew would be gurgling in the morning, put laundry away, and any number of other little things.

I was up ridiculously late both nights but it paid off. I was not only in good shape timewise, I got to school earlier than I usually get there, in fact, I was perfectly on time! Even a little early on Friday. On Friday, I tried to relax a little bit. On Thursday morning I spent a lot of time telling Katie, "Hurry up!" This is a stressful and non-productive phrase to use with young children, by the way.

Jim was traveling to California for an interview with Google. This was a huge opportunity for him and we don't know how it will come out but, if he gets the job, it would involve 25-50% travel. This trip was sort of a test for me to see if I could handle him traveling more extensively.

The result?
I think its possible. There are some definitely some bumps I would need to iron out if Jim takes a job with more travel. I need to get more sleep than I did the last two days. I also need to be able to find some time to exercise and take care of myself. I canceled my PT appointment to deal with stuff at school and Katie was at daycare for a record 10.5 hours on Thursday. But, I managed to take everything she needed for her school Valentine's party on Friday and I even managed to attend said party and bring her home early that day. I didn't walk in the morning as I have many days recently because I was already getting up at 5:20 without walking and I was too busy in the evenings and too beat to think of walking at the end of the day. Maybe, if he takes a job, any job, that requires travel, we would look at me staying home instead of working myself so that we could better balance the needs of the family and the house with work. If and when that problem presents itself, at least I have more information as to whether I, personally, could handle it.

Other things I learned?
If I can get Katie ready, me ready, my lunch packed and both of us to school on time, then surely I can get myself, including exercise, to school in better time each day. I will take many of the time saving strategies and apply them to my morning to see how I can make my mornings go more quickly.

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