When I was in my 20s working and living in New York City, an older colleague joked that she and her husband sometimes got so overwhelmed by their kids on weekends that instead of declaring TGIF like most people, they would say TGIM: Thank God It's Monday! I remember thinking that was awful and when I had kids I would cherish every second with them, and, more importantly, never, ever prefer work to time with my children. Well it’s now 10 years later and I'm a mother of three (ages six, four and six months) and I get it. I love my family and I love my weekends but I also see the beauty in getting the kids on the bus, dropping them at pre-K, having the sitter show up, and having a few moments to breathe. To take a beat. To think straight. To go to the bathroom alone.
Of course I don’t feel this way every Monday and there are many more times I’m wishing for another day of fun with the fam. Sometimes the weekends are downright magical. But sometimes Sunday night rolls around and everyone is so strung out from soccer games and birthday parties and BBQs that bedtime can’t come fast enough and I think, let’s do this Monday. Something happens to me on weekends that is both healthy and a little dangerous: I completely zone out. I don’t look at my to-do list, I never think about work, I rarely check Facebook, and I have no idea what’s approaching on our calendar. It’s not on purpose, it just happens because there is literally no time to think when there are three kids underfoot and two gloriously unstructured days to navigate. I love the way my brain goes on autopilot but I also love order and structure and routine, particularly as a mom, and so I have never minded Mondays. (Tuesdays are another story.)
Granted, I work from home and have a flexible job I love so there are no rush hour traffic jams or jerky coworkers to dread, but I know other moms — whether they work in an office, stay home or do a little of both — get the TGIM thing, too. We all need a break sometimes. One mom friend who has three kids just went back to work for the first time in years and actually volunteered to go to a boring two-day conference just to get away for a bit. I know, I know. We should never have had kids if we weren’t going to want to spend every waking moment with them, right? Wrong. You can be a wonderful parent and love your children immensely and still want to get the $%#! away from them from time to time.
And so, with sincerest apologies to that coworker, I’ll say it loud and proud: Thank God It’s Monday! I will file this post in my “things I never thought I’d do as a parent but do all the time now” folder — or perhaps the one labeled “don’t judge parents until you are one,” which is now overflowing.