A term in everyone’s vocabulary, conversation, hashtag, end of week post, greeting or facial expression while exiting work after a long week. An acronym we all understand and have probably expressed at one point in our life.
As a Stay-at-home-mom, I laugh a little when I say TGIF these days. I’ve seen the funny quotes and GIFs that say “Happy Friday! …oh wait, I’m a parent.” and thought, “oh, c’mon it’s just Friday, not that big of a deal.” …until it became a big deal. As a parent it quickly became a controversial day. A day I constantly looked forward to but didn’t have the greatest feelings toward, at the same time. I often think about how different I felt when I would say this as a school aged kid or a yuppie (young urban professional), pre-kids… working long hours, reporting to someone throughout the week and dedicating most of my time and energy to M-F. My week was filled with pleasing all the “suits and heals” for a pat on the back. I saw the weekend as my refuge and I was thankful for the last day of the week that lead me into two days filled with my own agenda.
Now I feel different when I share with the world how thankful I am for Friday. These days, I am always in my workplace, M-Su. My clientele may be small but I am readily at their beckon call. No real break. At least not a break where I could sit quietly and read or chat with a co-worker. Not a break where I could eat a nicely packed lunch made just for me in an environment that is void of all household distractions. Yes, I am still thankful for Friday but I also send my thanks for all the other days. Thankful I woke up with some sort of energy allowing me to be somewhat successful… leaving my clients not only happy but also fed, clean, cozy and in one piece at the end of every.single.day.
Monday is the start of a long tedious race that I will not win but I proudly signed up for and would never quit. It’s a race with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. My cheerleaders are few and my shoes are worn and often feel like they were made for someone else. At times I find myself running into the wind and blazing sun, up a hill and in the rain, dodging trains and unexpected hail. I slip and fall a lot, yet still muster up the courage to rise with a grin.
Also, after staying home with little ones for so long, I think about how my relationship with Friday has dramatically changed. There’s no slacking, pat on the back or happily relieved head-nod from a co-worker who says, “TGIF!” while excitingly retreating to a weekend of freedom. After staying home with two little ones for more than four years, I think about Friday often. I think about the two days that follow with some extra help and more opportunities to rest and reset. For this I am grateful. When that second set of hands are in the door for more than dinner and our bedtime routine, I feel as though I can breathe a bit easier. However, I still find myself completely exhausted by the busyness of the weekend. We often do more on these days because we can. Routines are broken and all are tired from running around doing family activities. So, as I look forward to it, I find myself dragging by the end.
I am also grateful that the extra hands are even an option for me. I know many who don’t have this luxury, who don’t have the help and just keep chugging through the weekend, letting Friday pass by as if it were Wednesday. To those solo parents, I am amazed by your stamina, strength and continuous effort and I hope you are ocassionally or someday blessed by time to yourself – to fully rest and reset.
Confession, I still say “TGIF!”. I pass it to a cashier while shopping, say it to a neighbor and hashtag it on my choice of social media along with a heavily filtered mug of fancy coffee or a tall glass of wine. I even jokingly say it to my husband while our children attack him with hugs and so many requests when he’s home. I am thankful it’s Friday, because I’m grateful to be alive and well and surrounded but those who mean the most in life. But in all honesty, as a stay-at-home-mom Friday is just another day.