So Many Things

Sleep has eluded me the last few weeks. My brain seems to express anxiety this way — perhaps everyone’s does, I don’t know. But when we built the fireplace, I literally went through a period of almost total insomnia, which at least taught me some strategies for dealing with sleeplessness. These weeks, the anxiety has come out more as waking up obscenely early, or sleeping for only short periods of time between long wake-ups. But I’ve gotten enough sleep to get by, and I’m not stressing about it because I know it’ll pass when everything settles back down.

To be fair, that might be quite a while. I think this transition will rank among our biggest, on par with welcoming Benji into our family. Some of the things we’re adapting:

Benji care

By far our biggest adaptation, and one I’m still not settled on. At this time, we’ve selected an at-home daycare recommended by ORCS. It has two adults and up to nine kids, with Benji as the oldest. A couple others are three, and the remainder are under the age of 2.5 years old. I don’t love that; it means they don’t go out on field trips and the adults are stretched pretty far.

I also don’t love that when we walked in to visit, the TV was on, tuned to the Disney Channel (which is an issue in and of itself — all the research indicates that those kind of shows, with many rapid cuts, actually harm kids’ brains, besides being incomprehensible to them). Ian and I have worked hard to make very careful, deliberate decisions about Benji’s screen time, setting firm boundaries and carefully vetting everything he watches. At the same time, we always watch with him and make sure to discuss what we watched so he understands what was going on. We absolutely, positively never have the TV on for “background noise” (as the daycare provider described it); that means he doesn’t–can’t–ignore a TV.

I talked with the daycare provider about this, and she immediately agreed to have the TV off when Benji was there. I’m not sure that will happen, though, because there’s another kid there who seemed glued to the screen both times I visited. If it’s a choice between that kid having a tantrum and respecting our preference for no TV on, who’s likely to win?

So although we have a place for Benji, I’m not real satisfied with it. I’d prefer to find an in-home daycare with fewer kids and closer to Benji’s age; or, better, have Benji go to a friend’s house (with compensation, of course), or even a nanny (although I find that prospect both daunting and alarmingly expensive). I really wish we could hire a friend with kids to take Benji as an extra kid, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be possible. Otherwise I’d like to find a nanny-share of some sort, but again, I have no idea how to go about finding that. And we must have something in place by January 23, when my job starts.

Biking

I started riding as a slow and steady bike commuter, but after I stopped working, I switched to recreational riding. I’ve really enjoyed riding long distances fast, and I’ve made some good friends along the way. Saturdays have become my day to spend riding with Dad and those biking buddies, my “escape from home” mental health day.

With this new job, I’m going back to that slow, steady commuting. I expect I won’t be seeing 20 mph very often anymore, and those ultra-distance rides are going to be a distant memory. That’s a tough thing to let go of, because I do love those century Saturdays. Then, too, I have to adjust to spending weekends at home again — that’ll be the only time I have to spend with my family. And, with all that, I won’t see those biking buddies as much, if at all. I’m sad that I may not see those friends much, if at all, in the future. But, alas, commuting is usually a solo activity.

I think it’s worth it, and the 20-mile one-way commute from my new work will certainly help me stay in healthy (if not speedy) biking shape. When the 520 bridge bike path opens, I’m going to have a super commute. Until then, it’s slogging through downtown up to the Burke-Gilman, a commute I did ages ago at the Bike Alliance and that I didn’t love. (In fact, it’s salutatory to review that blog post, which reminds me that 5-day-a-week commuting may not be my wisest choice.)

Over time, I trust we’ll find some kind of balance that allows me to have the satisfaction of the occasional long ride, regular commuting, and still spending time with my family. It does feel daunting, though.

Ian

It looks like he’s going to have to take on a lot more Benji care in addition to his regular work, as I’m likely to be gone from about 7:00 am to about 5:30 or 6:00 pm. That means he readies Benji for the day, drops off and picks up from daycare, spends the afternoon with him, and maybe feeds him dinner and puts him to bed, if I get home late. Right now, we split most of those things. I don’t feel comfortable with all that additional burden falling on him, but, again, we’ll just have to see how everything shakes out.

Our finances

On the bright side, my salary means that Ian no longer carries the burden of sole breadwinner, which frees him up to look for other jobs he might like better. Also, the risk of his losing his job or other major financial crisis does go down substantially. We have talked about this financial easing, which I hope will help remove the burdensome sense of duty and responsibility.

Plus, while money’s not been tight, per se, we certainly haven’t had much wiggle room in finances lately. Depending on how much childcare ends up costing, my additional income will allow us to save for financial goals much more effectively. Of course, we’ll also adjust our giving appropriately, too.

Those are just a few of the areas dramatically changing. Some of them do keep me up at night more than others. It doesn’t help that most of my peers and both my family and my in-laws chose to have Mom stay at home with the kids. While our families support this decision, I can tell it seems kind of incomprehensible to them. I don’t have any role-models or support from moms who’ve done it for how to do this full-time working and being a mom thing, and that makes it tough, too.

Whew! I guess this is my honesty post about things worrying me. As Benji would say, though, “Don’t worry!” –I do have lots of excitement and enthusiasm about this new job. It’s going to be amazing and worth all this upheaval. Just… lots of both anxiety and excitement.