How toddlers ruin every single weekend

Feb 28, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. ET
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Long ago — back when my eyes were full of energy and my boobs were full of perk — I deeply resonated with the lyrics to Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend."

Obviously, work was that thing I did to bide time between sleeping in and brunch with the girlfriends. Weekends were restful, wild and rejuvenating, and when Sunday evening rolled around, I gave my soul over to dread and sadness. Work was returning. Responsibility. Generalized suckiness.

If I could return to that energetic and perky woman, I would take her head in my hands and whisper — foaming at the mouth and with fire in my eyes, "There will come a day, my friend, when you will work to avoid the weekend, and you will do so with gladness."

I don't think I need to say that I love my daughter. She is funny, kind and compassionate. She lives in the moment. And that is exactly why weekends with her are nothing short of hell itself. Toddlers and preschoolers live for exactly the moment they're in, which makes them demanding and utterly exhausting. By 6 a.m., my kid is begging for cartoons and goldfish crackers. When she doesn't take no for an answer, we're in a standoff. It's not even 6:30 in the freaking morning, and I'm done for the day. Spent. But the day goes on for 14 more hours. In a cruel twist, when I finally sit on my couch after a long day, I desolately realize that I have to do the same damn thing the next day.

And this, as toddler parents know all too well, is my "break" from work. I used to be an emergency room social worker, but even that job couldn't have prepared me for the utter insanity of a 14-hour shift with a tiny crazy person.

If there's any silver lining, it's this: Monday mornings don't suck quite as royally anymore. There's something about the drive between day care and the office that feels downright refreshing. Maybe the middle-aged version of Loverboy should rewrite the famous song into a musing about working to avoid the weekend at all costs. Toddler parents would buy it in a heartbeat, if they aren't too busy crying into their Saturday-morning coffee cups.

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