our new normal

we are one week into aaron’s new job — into our new normal. i say “we” because the changes it has brought have greatly affected all three of us. we were quite spoiled by the hospital gig aaron started back in march; valet services are only offered monday through friday, so he never had to work weekends, and they close at 5pm, so he was always home well before dinnertime. the hotel, on the other hand, is open every day, all year, until 2am — including holidays.

i’m beginning to realize, now, how difficult our one-car situation (not to mention my lack of a valid driver’s license) may become. aaron’s previous work schedule allowed for him to be able to run an errand or two (or three) after work if need be, and still make it home before the sun disappeared below the horizon. but this past week, with the claims and the call-offs and the overall chaos that is learning to manage a new site, we almost couldn’t even go grocery shopping (which is a bit necessary because, y’know, food).

it’s been an adjustment to say the least.

the snooze button is pressed again and again, but we still wake up wanting to sleep the day away; the longer hours, and inconsistent schedule, have made everyone more tired than usual. there have already been a few nights where aaron was gone so long, he nearly missed our family bedtime — which means i’ve been on my own, for the most part, when it comes to caring for the tasmanian devil that is three-year-old liam nathaniel (and that is not the world’s simplest task, believe me).

i find myself getting irritated more easily than usual. i’ve been snapping at aaron for the littlest things, like singing over the tracks i play during my nightly dish-washing sessions or leaving his dirty clothes in a pile by the bedroom door instead of our laundry hamper or forgetting the one thing we really needed on a grocery list the length of a walt whitman poem. i haven’t had the patience or compassion i ought to with liam, and it’s painfully clear he so desperately needs it at this confusing “where is papa? is papa all gone?” time.

the first few days, i tried planning extra activities for liam and i to do together to make up for the lack of papa. my parents visited. allison visited. we went to the library. we played in “liam’s forest.” but now, one week in, i’m already burnt out. i haven’t been brewing the coffee until well after noon. none of the clean clothes have been folded or put away. we’ve barely even been moving from the couch; liam keeps asking to watch harry potter, and i keep giving in because i’m too damn tired to do much more than put on a film.

and i tell myself it’s okay to have days like these, where i don’t have the energy to be the all-there mama i would like to be, where i just laze about and leave liam to play on his own, but that’s absolute rubbish, isn’t it? there are mums out there juggling children and housework and a job — or even multiple jobs! i have only one child, and no legitimate job.

i should not feel this worn out, this drained.

but i do, and i hate that i do.

our new normal, even with the benefits of a larger paycheck and less of a daily commute, has not been wonderful. to be perfectly honest, it will probably be the reason i restart my old habit of pouring a glass of wine each night before bed just to escape from it all for a moment or two. but i’m hoping that, come winter or perhaps spring, we’ll get the hang of things —

i’m hoping that we’ll be happy again.

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