Yesterday morning, my husband and my daughter were bemoaning the end of the weekend and the return to school and work. I remember those feelings well, and as a retired person, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut.
Can I tell you a secret? I love Mondays.
Don't get me wrong - weekends are nice. I enjoy getting up without an alarm clock, spending time with my family and doing things we might not make time to do during the week.
But on the weekends, I am conflicted. Now that stay-at-home mom and writer has become my occupational label, I no longer have neatly defined working hours. Or, as my daughter put it when I finally ventured that I had to go back to work today, too, "That doesn't count. You do that all the time."
Indeed I do - which means the "work" to-do doesn't stop scrolling through my head just because it's the weekend. And, since my office is right off the living room, it's easy to go to work at any time of day, any day of the week. And with a paycheck that's far less predictable than the one I received when I worked as an educator, the temptation to put in a few more hours is much greater.
But it's not just about the paycheck. The to-do list scrolls through my head not out of guilt, but out of desire. I want to get back to the projects on my computer, to flesh out the notes and finish the articles, to get started on that next chapter.
But I also want to spend time with my family, ideally without my mind being elsewhere.
On Mondays, I go back to knowing where I'm supposed to be. Sure, I'm still distracted by other things, but they are far less important than the significant people in my life. In addition, many of the tasks that demand my attention can be quickly accomplished, allowing me to go back to my computer immediately afterward. Or, I can do them half-heartedly, with my mind more on my work-in-progress than the task at hand. The laundry and the dishes rarely express a preference about where I focus my attention.
With time, I'm learning how to balance my priorities in this new life, but it has taken much longer than I thought it would. Family comes first, particularly on the weekends, but sometimes the boundaries blur. It's ironic that after retiring my counseling responsibilities, I still find myself with the same time management conundrum: people vs. papers.
Which is why I love Mondays now - they're full of promise and possibility. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get started on the to-do list I created last night after my family had gone to bed. I suspect it will take most of the week to accomplish, and I don't want it to bleed into my weekend.
Have a great week.