I have learned to appreciate Mondays, which bring a return to what I need to feel balanced: routine and structure.
Hello there friends, and happy spring. I know it’s been a while. I started to write a post about why I haven’t written, but it was decidedly lame because I don’t have any real reason besides life. I’m not quite sure which direction I want this blog to go, and I’ve been a little unmotivated to write. But to everything there is a season, and today as I move about my morning, I’m feeling inspired!
So Mondays. Possibly the most dreaded day of the week. They have a tough act to follow and no one is ever particularly happy to see them. But today, the day after Easter, I’m realizing that I am actually a fan of these particular mornings. Here’s why.
For me, Mondays are above all a return to order. As sweet as Friday afternoons may be, with the expanse of the weekend, rich with possibility, open before us, the atypical schedules of Saturday and Sunday actually begin to get to me and by Monday morning I’m ready for my routine. It’s kind’ve like summer vacation. By the end of the school year, the blissful prospect of three free months is as intoxicating as that first poolside mojito. We feel ourselves loosen up, bedtimes are lifted, meals are impromptu, activities are more spontaneous. Weekends in our house are similar. There are no meal plans because we might feel like going out or ordering in with drop-in guests. The kids have “sleepovers” with each other on the floor in the den or in each other’s beds. We can decide in the morning to go spend the whole day at the zoo or tackle that huge garden project. Family time rules.
But as nice as it is to float down that lazy river letting the weekend take us where it will, the truth is that I crave structure. I’m more settled knowing what the day will hold and knowing that tasks will get done. On the weekends, the laundry backs up. If we’re not home, nothing gets cleaned and crumbs from that movie popcorn still lay on the carpet. Mail doesn’t get sorted and vitamins and workouts are mostly forgotten. Even the dishwasher is out of rhythm, half-loaded from eating out or overloaded from guests.
When I wake up on Monday morning, I slip into routine like an old, comfortable shoe. Shower, breakfast, coffee, vitamins, feed the dog, dress kids, pack lunches, brush teeth, shoes and socks, masks and backpacks, out the door by 9. I know how much time I have until everyone’s home, and I know we will have homework later. The planner I have begins its week on Monday, which I thought was weird at first because Sunday is standard, but this is totally in sync with my thinking. I look at my week, plan my weeknight dinners, keep a running list of things to do. I feel good tackling the laundry and making the grocery list. I realize how domestic I am sounding right now, but running this house is my primary job at the moment, and I like to be on top of things. The teacher in me acknowledges that Mondays feel like September: a fresh start and a return to the norm after the free-for-all of summer.
Over the Temple of Apollo is inscribed the ancient Greek aphorism “Know Thyself.” I used to teach this to my seniors while studying Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex because arguably the root of all tragedy in that story is that Oedipus did not know himself. The older I get, the more I realize that the key to happiness really is understanding ourselves. I used to like to fashion my younger self as someone who was spontaneous, relaxed, and up for anything. These kinds of people are more fun to be around, right? And sure I can appreciate a vacation state-of-mind and let it all go for a while. But I'm beginning to understand myself better, and I know my center relies on stability. Earth. Wind, water, and fire are okay but only sometimes. So let's be kind to Monday, an old friend.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are."
- Carl Jung