This week has been one of the craziest, busiest weeks in my life recently, with me trying to keep up with all my 4 jobs and get a lot of work out the way before Zoe gets here in less than a week. It has also been crazy because I let it: when Zoe is not here, I tend to work long hours, sleep too little and try to be social. To top things off, lots of little stupid things happened such as me getting a 100$ fine in the subway, by the police for walking in through the exit door without asking the attendant first (yep, not because I didn't have a ticket, because I have a weekly pass. I just tried to save time/energy from the turn stile rejecting me, I had gone two subway stations too far and needed to go up and over, entering the subway again before 18 minutes had passed) and the Instacard shopper forgetting my bagels (how could he? It was the most important part of my shop!). Bigger things such as teaching, conference chairing and paper deadlines were just standard parts the week. But it got me thinking that I need to write an updated "how to make it as a single parent in New York" since the last post like this was written in Stockholm (alas, it was "how to make it as a single mom in Stockholm").
- New York does not have the exact same concept as arstiderna.com, instead I buy groceries on Instacart (which is expensive because you have to pay for shipping plus tips) or FreshDirect. Instcart has the huge advantage that I can spend 10 minutes when I get to work, collecting my standard groceries and have them delivered in evening when I get back. They are always on time and they are good at providing exchanges when the item you ordered is not available. Except when they forget my bagels.
- When I really don't have time to cook I get food from Munchery. They have great kids meals too and instead of traditional restaurant delivery which is always half-cold on arrival, this you have to heat yourself, for 10 minutes in the oven. It is prepared with that in mind and tastes really good, always.
- I do not have a cleaner here in New York, I simply can't afford it. Instead Zoe helps cleaning on weekends and I just care less than I used to.
- I have a score of fun babysitters with more or less flexible hours. There is the pole dancer (who I also helped getting a job in a bar) and the Danish college student. There is the girl who always bring her ukulele and the strict librarian type girl with glasses. But more importantly, I prioritize spending time with Zoe and sometimes bring her to my office where she usually enjoys a bit of iPad time and free snacks.
- Laundry is much less of a problem than in Stockholm. I simply take it out and pay 14$ for 10lbs. We drop it off on the way to school and pick it up on the way back the next day.
- Zoe still watches television (on her iPad) every evening when we get home while I prepare dinner. We have a rule that there is no television/iPad time before after 6pm because I don't want her to spend the afternoon watching television. But sometimes, it spills into book reading time and she is not happy about putting down the iPad. This doesn't mean she watches television every day, sometimes she just plays with her toys and forgets about it.
- I'm still not a morning person and neither is Zoe. But we have improved our mornings tremendously, particularly after she started having to be in school at an exact time. We pick out her clothes the evening before, she can now get ready almost by herself. We braid her hair the night before so she can brush it herself (if not, it tangles and I have to spend 10 minutes brushing a screaming, crying girl). This doesn't mean I got it all down and occasionally things just break down. We still laugh at the thought of the morning when I placed a jar of Nutella with a spoon in front of her. "Sorry sweety, I have nothing else, this is your breakfast".
- Missing Zoe. I always miss Zoe terribly when she is not with me. This is something I will never get over, I feel cut in half when I don't have her.
- Having someone to share your day with. Two years ago I lamented not having someone to talk to about little everyday things, sharing the ups and downs and in particular the little cute things Zoe says. Living in New York has altered my everyday mood completely and honestly, I have nothing much to really complain about. More importantly, Zoe has grown and is now capable of more detailed conversations. We play the "tell me a funny thing about your day" game at dinner every night and I get to tell her about my annoying boss, the funny lady on the subway and that I talked on skype to a friend. She tells me about lunch, how another boy got kicked out of the classroom and that her teacher gave her a star for her letters.