ello, my name is Cari, and I love Mondays. (Soliloquy, from podium.)
i, Cari! (Imagined group response, in unison.)
Based on prevailing attitudes, my imaginary Monday lovers support group probably will stay there, well out of the realm of reality.* Monday malaise varies with employment status and/or satisfaction, age and weather or season (even I concede a rainy November Monday is easier to greet than a sunny July one) but any way you filter it, Monday remains the unwelcome uncle at the wedding reception. Ask a co-worker about their weekend, and whatever they did, a common refrain is that it was too short. Morning radio hosts and e-card creators bash poor Monday relentlessly. And of course there’s the Bangles song.
Monday’s bad rap stems from the fact that it’s synonymous with the return of humdrum routine and the
end of the uncommitted (which allegedly translates as exciting) weekend. I’ve written before how soothing routine is to my autistic son, and thus how valuable it is to me as his mother. But more and more I see how I benefit from a steady rudder to my week as well, and that starts with Monday.
Routines free up creative head space. Conventional wisdom holds that routines are stultifying. I couldn’t disagree more. It’s when the mundane matters of life get put on autopilot that ideas find room to roam in my head. For example, our standing Monday dinner is spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. I forget how it got started, but it’s one of two meals that all four of us like, and it is so freeing. Instead of thinking about what to make, whether we have the ingredients, and whether someone’s going to complain, I can let that mental time and energy go to mulling over a scene in my novel, a project at work, a friend who needs an ear.
Lap swimming. I try to go Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and I’m most consistent on Monday mornings, before my calendar gets crowded tending to obligations often imposed by others. Physically, swimming is the best relief I’ve found for chronic shoulder/neck pain. It’s also a rare opportunity for me to achieve solitude. Sliding into the pool, easing into the mindless routine of back and forth, shallow to deep, back and forth, shallow to deep, back and forth, shallow to deep…(oh, sorry. I’m actually writing this on a Sunday and got prematurely lulled into the rhythm.) With my body preoccupied, my mind again finds the freedom it needs to work through problems that seemed knotty on dry land.
Multi-faceted me. On the weekends I find I am mostly a mother. On Mondays and other weekdays I am a mother, a professional colleague, a novelist and a lap swimmer. Both my book club and my writing critique group meet on weeknights and I usually have one other girls’ night per month on a weeknight. Companionship with the wonderful, talented female friends I see on these evenings is crucial to my mental well-being.
What do you think? Ready to look at Monday anew? If not, don’t worry. It’ll be back next week.
* Googling for an image to accompany this post, “I love Mondays” yielded 14 million hits, while “I hate Mondays” only 1.3 million. Hmmm. Maybe the support group isn’t such a fantasy.