The number eight is on my mind today.

Today puts my wife Meg exactly eight weeks away from her due date for delivering our first child. We’re having a lot conversations about things getting so real. After all this time we’ve spent imagining what it’s going to be like to be parents, we now feel like it’s here. We’re giving stuff away and making room for baby stuff. We’re making decisions that actually going to matter to this real person. I’m learning how to use my camera and wondering how to spend the last few weeks of my last summer with so little responsibility.

We met with our birth instructor today – we’re nuts about her, by the way – and we talked for a moment about how Meg and I are both eight-hours-of-sleep people. We know that that’s going to have to change when the baby comes, but we’ll still uphold it as an ideal. Along with that, I tend to thrive on unstructured time. I’m no Einstein, but I do gain advice from the (possibly half-true) tales of him sitting in office staring off into space and doing his greatest thinking. I need that time to figure out how to best solve the problems of the day. I know I’m not alone in this.

My current task, then, is to figure out how to best structure my time so I can be a great father, the best possible teacher, and still have time to stare at the wall for a little while each week while getting eight hours of sleep for every 16 awake. Hold on, let me stare into space for a little while.

This will be my eighth year of teaching, and I have coworkers who have learned to parent while continuing to teach. I hope to be able to dig up the best ways to be efficient this year – I think that it will be interesting to focus on some explicit ways to do my best work in less time. I’ve really enjoyed the relaxed pace of the last few years, when I can stay until 6 or 7 without notice for example, which allows for a little time to lollygag at school – you know, telling dumb stories with coworkers, hanging out with the kids (My students, that is. I suppose I’ll have to learn to differentiate.), playing games with anyone who’s around, blasting some music and thinking, but also getting everything done. This year will be a little different: I’m going to have to run a tight ship in order to make it home to the young pup.

I wonder if a small commitment to writing here will help me achieve these goals. I’m willing to give it a try – maybe I’ll have a lot to write about after chilling on the couch with a newborn on my chest, staring into space, thinking?


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