I’m drowning right now. I just finished up the hardest, most wholly unsatisfying and frustrating year of my career. Sure, I should be glad that I work in an air conditioned office (but instead, I’m grousing that I don’t have a window) and that I have flexible hours that allow me to pick kids up from school occasionally and have lunch with my husband once a week. I went to commencement on Saturday, started teaching a Maymester course (a whole semester course crammed into 11 fun-filled days!), and have a book chapter and another manuscript due in two weeks. And it’s the last two weeks of school, which means my kids have endless field trips and award ceremonies I’m supposed to attend. Adding insult to injury, the babysitter went home for the summer last week.
I’m also supposed to have a super cool blog post ready to go where I talk about Tina Fey’s words of wisdom regarding the work/family balance. I went to bed frustrated last night after starting about five different posts. I woke up this morning and decided that the best I can do is to share a few words of wisdom here and urge you to buy the book. Trust me: get.the.book. I bought the audiobook and listened to it while jogging. I must’ve looked really ridiculous, pathetically panting and heaving while laughing out loud. After I listened to it, I bought the hardback (which I pretty much never do). It’s that good.
What might Tina say to me right now? I’m hoping that two excerpts from the book will get me through these next couple weeks:
1. Bossypants includes an uproariously funny list of things moms can do to carve out some time for themselves. I love this list for so many reasons. I tried to read it aloud to my kids, but was laughing so hard, they couldn’t understand any of it.
Here are some of Tina’s great “me time” activities I can do to help get me through the next couple weeks:
- Go to the bathroom a lot.
- Offer to empty the dishwasher.
- Take ninety-minute showers. (If you only shower every three or four days, it will be easier to get away with this.)
- Say you’re going to look for the diaper crème, then go into your child’s room and just stand there until your spouse comes in and curtly says, “What are you doing?”
- Stand over the sink and eat the rest of your child’s dinner while he or she pulls at your pant leg asking for it back.
- Try to establish that you’re the only one in your family allowed to go to the post office.
- “Sleep when your baby sleeps.” Everyone knows this classic tip, but I say why stop there? Scream when your baby screams. Take Benadryl when your baby takes Benadryl. And walk around pantless when your baby walks around pantless.
- Read! When your baby is finally down for the night, pick up a juicy book like Eat, Pray, Love or Pride and Prejudice or my personal favorite, Understanding Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy and Apnea; A Clinical Study. Taking some time to read each night really taught me how to feign narcolepsy when my husband asked me what my “plan” was for taking down the Christmas tree.
Just implementing four or five of these little techniques will prove restorative and give you the energy you need to not drink until nighttime.
2. In another part of the book, Tina describes the process she went through when deciding whether to have a second child. Like the rest of the book, it is funny, but also poignant and truth-y. She talks about sobbing in her office, agonizing over the decision. She bursts into tears at a doctor’s appointment and unloads on her gynecologist. Her doctor listens patiently and then offers what Tina calls “the kind of observation that only an impartial third party can provide: ‘Either way, everything will be fine.’”
Either way, everything will be fine. That’s my new working mom scripture. So even if I miss the 5th grade Olympics and the 2nd grade Olympics and the end of the year carnival and the 8th grade award ceremony and even if my kids eat cold cereal for dinner and wear obviously-dirty clothes to school, everything will be fine.
And even if I get bad teaching evaluations and don’t get my book chapter turned in by June 1 (gulp), everything will be fine.
And even if I disappoint my blog sisters’ otherwise very fun Gotta Have Feyth! week by writing a super-lame blog post, everything will be fine.