Saturday, December 12, 2015


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.

This 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 me.

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 weekends.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes, yes.
    I teach part time after working for us for over 35 years. I'm getting ready for three weeks off. My time.
    I enjoy teaching but I miss the life we built here.