Summer Life

June 18, 2024

This is a day late, but we had such a nice and CHILL weekend. There was almost nothing on the family calendar and it was what we all needed.

(Or at least what I needed!)

We did see Inside Out 2 and went out for Indian after — here for the few locals who read this! G ended up basically eating fries dipped in Indian sauces, but the other two loved it. It was kind of a cozy and happy weekend overall. Father’s Day was super low key but Josh got his gift and was thrilled with that, so that was a win!

I also finished Still Life and stayed far, far away from Reddit. My brain seriously feels better already. Oh, and we all slept a lot.

Things are definitely less hectic now. Camp starts later (so our nanny is helping drive some mornings) and there are fewer evening commitments — once lacrosse ends next week there will just be gymnastics (easy as it’s entirely drop off/pickup and a relatively quick drive). I know this moment of relative calm is not going to last. I actually just received next year’s soccer tournament schedule AND my call schedule. A starts team practices for gymnastics today and while it doesn’t seem that bad during the summer I suspect it will feel like a lot during the year. I can already tell the summer is going to fly and then next year will be packed.

But! Let’s acknowledge and celebrate the next ~7-8 weeks of relative peace! I’ve been (finally) filled with excitement around my book proposal, coming up with ideas for structure / angles / etc at all times. I think maybe my brain was . . . waiting for this, or something!? On Thursday I will do a faux retreat day (will spend part of the day working outside the house, too!) and get cranking on actually getting some text onto pages for my proposal and sample chapter (FULLY expect to have to edit a lot, but time to get that ROUGH first draft actually going).

Okay one last thing: a question. I have been granted the privilege of choosing my clinical days next year — I work 3 per week. Currently, I am MWF; W is a bit shorter than the other two due to getting a little bit of admin time. I am not permitted to take admin time on Friday but can take it any other time.

Positives to this:

  • I never have to go far between patient days – worst case is 1 business day.
  • There is a nice symmetry to this – after every clinical day, I get a less structured day

Negatives to this:

  • Whenever I want to take a long weekend, I have to take a day off. And I am always worried about running out of PTO time.
  • Memorial Day and Labor Day will instantly suck up PTO time (unless I’m on call)
  • Monday is often really jarring – I feel like I have to be SUPER prepped on Sunday as I am jumping into a structured full patient day

I am trying to decide if there’s another configuration that could be better. I’m thinking about TUES WEDS FRIDAY. So basically the same, but with a small tweak of swapping Tuesday for Monday. I think I’d be really productive on Mondays at home, and at the same time would be able to ease into the week just a bit.

TUES THURS FRI would basically be the same, but feels a bit backloaded to me. There is a chance they may prefer me working Thursday to Weds though, so if it has to be that way then fine.



  • Reply Janelle June 18, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    I work full time but have every other Monday off and I love it! It’s so nice to know you have a day at home once everyone else is out of the house. So that is what I’d do- TUES, WED, FRI. and if you arrive to a backlog of messages and labs I would see about switching your admin time to Tuesday mornings. You seem really good about keeping up your notes so I assume you use admin time for messages, consults and labs?
    Otherwise a wed afternoon admin would be nice to clean things up, then you just have Friday left!

  • Reply Marianne June 18, 2024 at 12:44 pm

    Do you mind losing a lot of content creation days to holidays? That would be the one downside to Mondays.

  • Reply Julia June 18, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    Longtime reader, but first time commenting. Different industry, I know, but I am a professor and absolutely love not teaching on Mondays. I have more energy at the beginning of the week and am so productive, especially with the kids out of the house. I used to teach Mondays but found that this ate into my Sunday, even if my teaching prep was done. I now use Mondays for writing and deep work and relish in the “soft” start to the week at home instead of in the office.

    • Reply Coree June 18, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      Agreed 100%. I am teaching Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday am in the spring semester and dreading it. I think I’m going to have to massively lower my expectations for writing, as I expect I’ll be exhausted on Thursday. It’s not a ton of hours (7 but bitty) but teaching and being on campus just takes a lot out of me, coupled with a heinous commute. I’m actually budgeting to stay over on the campus hotel to give myself a break.

  • Reply Hannah R June 18, 2024 at 12:48 pm

    Tue/Wed/Fri sounds dreamy to me! I really like having Mondays to reset the house after the weekend of everyone being home, personally.

  • Reply Sesb June 18, 2024 at 1:06 pm

    I like having my clinical days stacked next to each other so I can take advantage of being let out early if I’m on call the next day. But, if that is not an issue for your job. Tues, weds, Fri sounds lovely. It will help prevent the weekend from feeling terrible in anticipation of going to work on Monday.

  • Reply Elisabeth June 18, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    Not directly related, but years ago when our daughter was in preschool she went MWF. When it came time for our son to attend the same preschool, that same option wouldn’t work and he went T/Th/F. Again, very different from a working context but…I LOVED the T/Th/F option. So many Monday’s were lost to holidays and I found there was no good rhythm (I was working outside the home at that point, so MWF meant I had to be home as a parent on Tues/Thursday). Having two consecutive days was AMAZING. That way, if something was hanging over from Thursday, I knew I still had another full day of childcare on Friday.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns June 18, 2024 at 2:08 pm

    I will be curious to see what you choose! I work a traditional 5 days/week but can pick my office days. I had been doing Tues-Thur but recently decided to switch to M-W-F. The reason for my switch is that I can fit workouts in on my non-office days so much easier but then those workouts were jammed into Fri-Mon. I try not to run consecutive days since I am not training for long distance races so working out t/th/sat/sun works so much better. I am also a person that LOVES Mondays. That is probably a function of our stage of life… weekends can feel long and we have a lot of TGIM energy in our house. So I like going into the office that day. But I can see the benefits of always having Monday off for vacation reasons!

  • Reply Rebekah Carpenter June 18, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    I would encourage you to look at the school schedule for Mondays and consider if you would be the default childcare for the holidays where they’re out of school? Just another element to weigh.

    My ideal would be two days and three days all in a row so I could go deeper on projects in both realms, but I understand that might not be your preference!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 18, 2024 at 3:03 pm

      Yeah this is a concern I am just now realizing. Currently I work days like President’s Day, MLK Day, etc – in the office, and I have childcare. If I were home, I’m not sure I could get as much done. Of course, then I could enjoy more ‘holiday like’ weekends but. . that is definitely a trade off!

  • Reply Gillian June 18, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    I do Monday, Tuesday , Thursday in the office and I like it. I am not sure what I would do if Friday wasn’t a choice though. I am considering cutting my office time back further, pending some other career developments and I think I would have to do Tuesday and Thursday in the office based on the other doctors’ schedules. The challenge there is that you lose a day for creative work with holidays.

  • Reply Brooke June 18, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    I’d think about this from the perspective of what would best protect your 2 creative days. You’ve mentioned in the past these getting consumed with kid school activities, doctors appts, etc. If you took Monday or Friday as your creative day, would it still be as protected? And if not, are you ok with that trade off?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 18, 2024 at 3:07 pm

      I’m definitely not going to change Friday to non-clinical – I agree it would get derailed and just probably would not be productive.

      I can’t decide about Monday! I feel like equal pros/cons to change it vs keep it how it is . . . but learning towards trying out Tuesday for next year. For every Monday that I *don’t* take off due to a holiday, it is a day I *could* take off on another random day and I think there are a few things that would be really nice about not working clinically on Monday..

      • Reply Coree June 18, 2024 at 3:37 pm

        Does your volume of patient emails etc vary throughout the week? I’d love Monday as protected time, but I might be stressed to come into a weekend plus a Monday’s worth of patient notes.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 18, 2024 at 3:40 pm

          Not a ton comes over the weekend, so I don’t think Tuesday will be TOOOO terrible. It’s also usually Josh’s more flexible day so perhaps he can drive the kids that day and I could get in a little early.

  • Reply Wendy June 18, 2024 at 5:08 pm

    I am team T/W/F. It’s lovely to have Monday to be productive at home and feel like you have your life together!

  • Reply coco June 18, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    I prefer 3 days weekends, ideally friday off. Usually our Sundays are low key so I’m ready to work on Monday. either option seems better than your current one though.
    peaceful summer sounds lovely. I am really looking forward to it.

  • Reply AnnaM June 18, 2024 at 6:15 pm


  • Reply Lisa S June 18, 2024 at 6:34 pm

    I used my remaining PTO this June (it expires July 1st at my role and can’t rollover) to take off every Monday this month. I still have childcare those days and it’s been great. I notice I’m personally more relaxed on the weekend and feel less of the Sunday scaries. No perfect solution but if making your weekend more chill is a priority, I could see a huge benefit to T/W/F.

  • Reply Ruth Down June 19, 2024 at 2:53 am

    I work Tues/Thurs/Fri which works really well for patient care (sadly no admin time in the NHS so these are full clinical days!) – the Monday bank holidays are kind of annoying because I don’t benefit from them and it makes Tuesday busier but we don’t have many in the UK. Being in work on Thurs/Fri means I can get all my ducks in a row for the weekend and if I try to breeze through Tuesday I can pretend I’ve *almost* had five days in a row off!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 19, 2024 at 7:40 am

      See, for us we use PTO on a holiday (whether the office is open or closed) just the same we would on any other day, so thankfully I don’t feel shortchanged in any way based on which days I work. This way though I feel like I eliminate the ‘default’ PTO of some of the Monday holidays. That said – we don’t have that many holidays where I work! Really the only 2 Mondays we actually get off are Labor Day + Memorial Day. Plus we get New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving (2 days), 4th of July, and Christmas – that’s it for days the office is actually closed.

      (We do not get MLK day, Presidents’ Day, Veteran’s Day, Indigenous People’s Day or Juneteenth as holidays. Of course you could take that as PTO if you wanted but the office is open.)

  • Reply jennystancampiano June 19, 2024 at 8:59 am

    Oooh, interesting dilemma. I think you would enjoy having the T-Th-F schedule (or, T-W-F) I can see your concern about there being a lot of Monday holidays, and that encroaching on your creative work. I think (?) it would be okay, since your kids are older and you have a nanny. But… I do know how having a bunch of people in the house throws everything off, even if they don’t need you every second. I would try it though- could you switch back next year if it doesn’t work?
    And- yes! I’m loving our relaxed summer vibes.

  • Reply Amanda June 19, 2024 at 9:29 am

    I work 3 days/week as a dentist and have done many configurations of the three days through the years. This might not be an option for you but I’ve settled on WThF as the most ideal option for me. I love that three days a week I’m in “go to the office – clinical mode” and then my time to focus on other parts of life is grouped together. When I’ve done other combos, I found the switching back and forth between clinical/home modes less than ideal. Agree with other commenters though that the Monday non-clinical day to ease into the week is the most helpful and honestly, life changing.

  • Reply Suzanne June 19, 2024 at 9:34 am

    Hooray for a period of relative calm! I am loving the lower commitment days of summer, and feeling so glad that I was able to structure our summer this way.

    Your days-of-the-week dilemma sounds tricky! I am team TWF. Love the idea of having Monday as a creative day, although with so many Monday holidays it might be hard to protect it as creative time.

    If it were me, I might be more inclined to do TWTh, because of how amazing it would be to have a four day weekend every week. But I think the Monday holidays combined with the way Fridays can sometimes fall apart seems like it would be hard to ensure adequate time for other pursuits. WThF might be my second choice, because I think it would be so wonderful to have a solid chunk of two days to devote to creative work… but you mentioned a preference for fewer days between patient days, so I can see how that might not be desirable to you.

  • Reply San June 21, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    I think TUES, WED, FRI would be my preferred schedule. It’s definitely nice to have that extra day around the weekend, if possible.

    Sounds like a fun Father’s Day.

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