A friend calls it separation anxiety, this restless casting about for obligations in the sudden absence of pressure. I have things to do, wrapping presents and paying bills and cleaning a house neglected for months, but they are on my time.
What a luxury, to set one's own
schedule! What a delight to know the alarm is off! Nevermind that I
have woken at dawn as usual with lists scrolling through my mind. I
don't resume classes until mid-January. For a month my time is my own.
was the hardest part of leaving my job -- adapting to a different time
scale. I had two markers for each day: the beginning and end of school.
Everything else was arbitrarily set by me. True, my two year old
required some structure, but the management of our household could be
wrapped around visits to the museum or hours on the swing in our front
yard. My world collapsed inward. I created tasks for myself to
compensate for a missing sense of purpose. I signed Miss Awesome up for
classes and I volunteered in The Fine Lad's school and I went to the
empty grocery store at mid-day but still there was time in pools around
I have adjusted to the delicious timetable of a stay-at-home
mom. The children require far less management now, and cleanliness
standards in our home have been worn down by dogs and children and muddy
boots. Instead -- an hour for coffee? What day? I'm free. I am
profligate with my time, chatting with friends online and watching
television every night with my husband. I stay in bed until 8 on
Then, when my classes start and I must shuttle back
and forth to my school, the kids' schools, the kitchen counter where we
do homework together between stages of suppermaking and afterward I must
excuse myself from the dinner table to go study, then I panic,
wondering how I'll ever adapt to the rigid schedule of the real world. I
stare down the prospect of teaching long hours and grading grading
grading into the night and finding myself at the occasional school dance
as chaperone. I am so fortunate now! Why would I give up these quiet
hours at my desk, these mid-day dog walks?
The answer comes on
weekends when Miss Awesome goes on sleepovers. There is an absence. For
now it is a relief, but all too soon it will become a wound. My home
time will no longer be marked by morning goings and evening returns. The
pools of time will spread and drown me. The bright world of clocks and
routines will be my salvation, even if it does mean I have to get
dressed every morning.