Monday motherhood: the week’s empty nest

He watches while I fluff and fold.  It's something.

He watches while I fluff and fold but says nothing.

My three siblings who have children all experienced an empty nest in the past few years, my brother just recently.  I can barely talk to them about it because I love a full house and can’t imagine the deafening silence that will ensue once the girls have flown the coop.  On an itty-bitty scale, let’s talk about Mondays.

We’re in an excellent place right now with our kids.  Regarding the delicate years around puberty (as bad a word as penis and vagina, I think), Goldie is happily on the other side (the right side), Bun Bun is in the middle (isn’t she always) and will likely shut herself away when things get ugly, and Miss T, well Miss T is a baby.  She’s not actually, but she is.  Though she turned eleven last week, I shall not allow her to grow up.  It works right now with the three of them.  They’re here, there, and everywhere, and when we come together for Sunday dinners, they’re loud and ridiculous and super-duper fun.

If I promise not to use the phrase ‘super-duper’ ever again, will you keep reading?

Weekends, particularly in the fall and winter – with sports, school events, and the holidays – are rich.  There’s fresh air to take in at soccer, time for baking in the kitchen, home projects to tackle, and cozy corners in the house in which to curl up and nap.  There’s also trashy television (the girls) and the Sunday New York Times (the husband and I).  In other words, all good.  Logistically, once club volleyball season starts in earnest, it gets tricky but remains, basically, great.

And then comes Monday.  I’ve never much liked the day anyway – I know most of us don’t – but some Mondays are worse than others.  This morning just felt a little sad.  Didn’t matter that I had plenty to do and I’d see them again this afternoon, there was a void.  The house was too empty, too quiet, too big.  Off to school and work, the girls would be surrounded by friends, the husband his colleagues.  Me?  Shelby and Jack are great company but as hard as I’ve tried to pull a word out of them, they will not talk to me.  They’ll follow me around and make me feel loved, but discourse is one-sided.

Running would have lightened the mood (it always does), but even as I’m back putting one foot in front of the other, I’ve committed to every other day out on the road and today I was off.  I went to the gym after joining over the weekend and wandered around looking foolish, lifting this and that – I’m isolating the muscles in the back of my hand – and getting some cardio, but it was hardly a social scene.  At Trader Joe’s, the chef at the sample counter discussed a sweet potato dish with me for Thanksgiving but the conversation was hardly going to sustain me.

It might have been the six loads of laundry to fold, the school business to tackle, the soccer team to manage, the writing jobs to apply for, the minutiae around the house to be addressed (to keep Social Services away) – but I just wanted the weekend and the family back home.  It’s not going to happen, which means next Monday and most Mondays following will be the same.  This has been an ongoing issue for me, so maybe it’s time to schedule a weekly play-date for myself at the start of each week.

Coffee anyone?

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  1. Mary Anne says

    I am right there with you – do you think you can make it up here and back before you have to be home for the girls?

  2. Mary Anne says

    Or alternatively we could both get coffee in our respective homes and talk on the phone. Not as satisfying but more doable

    • Jo says

      @Janet – Monday morning coffee club sounds perfect. Cathy Dore is in! @Mary Anne, what about halfway, say Oxnard? I think we’re on to something. – Jo

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