Scene: M and I are eating scratch-made waffles at the table. She set the table with Frozen plates while I poured batter, and she was halfway through her waffle when I finished the last batch and sat down beside her with my own. A was snuggled into my chest, snoozing in the Ergo. The sun was shining through the windows. I kid you not, Raffi was streaming through the speakers. I took a quick photo to document it, to prove it actually happened.

Truth was, not 15 minutes earlier, Mac Daddy was rushing out the door full of apologies for the chaos he was unable to help with — A was on the living room rug, red and screaming and wanting to be picked up. M was flailing nearby, mad because I wasn’t making the waffles. I was trying to shush A while explaining to M that I WOULD make her waffles once I got things under control. So I ran to the nursery, grabbed the Ergo, asked M to help by setting the table, and it fell into place.

That was day two of our new setup with both kids at home until fall and I have to say, though I know it’s still early, I feel kind of heroic by the end of the day. More than that, I feel fulfilled. Shockingly energetic despite having my hands twice as full. It’s the exact opposite of what I expected.

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My experience of having teeny babies at home — it’s kind of exhausting and isolating and I spend a lot of time with a baby on me feeling like I can’t do very much. Add in a preschooler? All of a sudden I’m booking play dates and visiting the library and actually making breakfast and lunch, and having to put the baby down. I’m having conversations (even if they’re with a three-year-old). Yes, the baby screams more than he did when he had my undivided attention, and yes I have to work harder to keep things at a dull roar around the house, but I feel like I’m actually DOING SOMETHING. And when it all goes well? It’s a fantastic feeling. After a successful trip to the grocery store with both kids, who had both skipped naps all day, I felt like a damn warrior.
Now, we’ve had a few lazy days each week. Days when M and I agree, we’re just not gonna leave the house. I’m not going to fight her into real clothes, and I’m not gonna bother finding my own real pants. Those usually come after the more hectic days when we spend most of our hours outside of the house. I’m lax on screen time rations sometimes, to get us all through, and I’m accepting a certain level of clutter and mess in the name of survival.
Still, it’s going better than I thought it would. I feel better than I thought I would!
I know when I was going back to work when M was 11 months old, I felt terrible — I thought I wanted to be a SAHM, and I thought I’d hate work, but when I got back into the routine I enjoyed feeling like an adult again. So this isn’t the first time I’ve been surprised by my own reaction to a parenting setup. I’m curious to see what it’ll be like when M goes to kindergarten in September and A and I will be left alone for the last few months of my leave!