Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The summer adventures of Captain Defiant and SuperMom

I made a deal with myself four years ago, when I started telecommuting in order to spend more time with my then-infant son, that I would take the telecommuting thing one week at a time. Meaning, I would never get so used to it that I couldn't adjust back to a regular 40-hours-per-week-in-the-office lifestyle. Also meaning I would assess periodically whether this work/life balance was still the best arrangement for my son, for my career, and for myself.

Once more I’ve come to reassessment point. And I'm finding that keeping the deal I made with myself is really, really difficult. I'm not sure if this summer may be the breaking point. As in, perhaps it's time to bite the bullet and just put the kid in daycare full-time...which truly would break my heart.

Sweet Boy is home with me this summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All day. While I work. All day. I am working a four-day, condensed week so I can have Fridays off to spend with him -- and our Fridays have been amazing! However, the Tuesdays and Thursdays have been less than stellar. As have been Mondays and Wednesdays, come to think of it. My work schedule has me on the road to the office at 6:30 am on Mondays and Wednesdays, then logging on to my computer at 7am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The workday goes until 5pm, at least, on all four days. Often Tuesdays and Thursdays are even longer because I've had to split my focus all day, so I'm cramming in e-mails as I make dinner. (But it's worth the grueling schedule to have three-day weekends for a few months. Did I mention how awesome our Fridays off together are?)

We have a babysitter who comes on Tuesdays to break up the day for both of us, and my dad still comes on Thursdays for most of the day. But today the babysitter is ill. And my dad is on vacation in Florida until mid-July. The days are longer. The rain has been incessant. The afternoon naps are getting shorter. The workload is picking up. Oh. My. Goodness. (I know...keep focusing on those Fridays!)

As you can imagine, Sweet Boy has not been so sweet lately. (In fact, he’s in time out YET AGAIN right this minute.) I'm not sure what the cause -- his age, the shift in daily routine, the rainy weather, too much peanut butter, not enough sugar, whatever -- but lately he's been a defiant, nasty, foot-stomping, toy-throwing little monster at times. Sure, for the most part he's the same happy-go-lucky little dude -- but I feel that he saves the worst behaviors for me. He knows all my buttons, and he has no problem pushing them. In fact, he delights in pushing them.

The last couple weeks, especially, the major hot-button behavior has been his flat-out ignoring of the things I say. Like when I tell him, for example, not to jump on the couch, and he looks me right in the eyes...then jumps on the couch. Or when I have to say 2,000 times "it's time for dinner/bath/bed/getting dressed" and he simply pretends to not hear me -- as if I'm not even in the room, let alone standing next to him. ARRGGGHH! Just typing it makes my blood pressure rise!

And the whining...sweet Lord, deliver me from the constant whining.

So. Here we are. End of June. Just about midway through the summer. Can she do it? Can Supermom make it through without having a total meltdown? Can Captain Defiant survive the summer, or will he be shut in his bedroom on a permanent time-out? Stay tuned for the next exciting installment...

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