I have hovered here a few times lately and not known where to start. I have fallen off the blogging horse. Given in to tiredness, end-of-day-brain-fuzz and the never-ending night-time settling / early rising (which seems to suddenly lift and then... whack-tumble-splat, another wonder week).
I have wanted to write for ages about life with a live-in au pair. Which has worked out a lot better than I could have hoped. I dragged my heels completely on the whole issue, but in the end it was the only way I could have returned to work (and we needed me to for many reasons), which I am doing now part-time via a telecommute arrangement. *I've got a golden ticket!* Yes, I completely realise how lucky I am in the work stakes. I have a hugely supportive boss (and executive director) who I have worked with for several years, who trusts me implicitly and has herself telecommuted way back when her kiddo was younger. Returning to work has also been great for my head, to give me a bit of breathing space. I have also recently managed (for the time being anyway) to hang onto my job when vast sections of the permanently employed public service in this Neanderthal state are marching out the door. I'm just hoping my luck continues.
So the au pair. I had dreaded sharing our space, and all the stuff of family life that inhabits it, and having to be sociable when I want to just be in my cave. But overall it has been really positive, and is sort of like the old travelling/sailing days. We're onto our second au pair already, after our first finished her three-month stint. Though I still do a lot of domestic work and commandeer the boy when I'm not working, the extra hands around the house has been nothing short of bloody fantastic. I think I got lucky with a boy who demands a lot of attention and doesn't like to nap on his own (and some of my own stupid high moral ground about no TV), so every day was a battle to get even just the bare minimum housework done, manage to feed and caffeinate myself AND fully engage with him.
The help with chores is freeing me up a bit and I am mostly managing to get some other stuff done - though I find a lot of this other stuff is all about him! Like keeping him clothed and shod, reading up on kid-stuff (devouring this site), procuring toddler chairs and potties (!) and organising photo prints (we didn't have any beyond his humidicrib days (!!), prepping activities, war-planning our missions off the island and keeping our household administrivia at bay with a big stick. I still need to get back into yoga and walking - these have slid quite a bit since I returned to work in August.
As great as it's mostly been, I have also suffered a bit from the guilts at having help. About having someone else helping with the boy, even though we have tweaked our routine so he spends most of his time with one or both of us. (Though having someone new here has been brilliant for Ellery - he has LOVED both of them and will sometimes choose to go and hang out with them.) And also it is just plain weird (though indulgent and utterly lovely, why do I even have guilt about this?) to have someone else be the dish pig!
Despite the current super-clingy and unsettled wonder 'week' (and a kimchi that is going to take me at least three days, not including fermentation, to prepare - but that's another story) I can sense that things are slowly getting easier. There is still a ridiculously huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep us living the life remote - and so much stuff that doesn't get done. But, y'know, it's getting better.