The tears have dried up. Routines have been created. And the weather will soon be changing (I mean, not like REAL soon here in Houston, but you know). School has been in session for a couple of weeks for many of us now. With my oldest child in kindergarten, I’m still not quite used to this whole school thing. Sure, he went to preschool. But that was just part time. His school now goes from 8am to 3:05pm, 5 days per week. And, although I got quite sentimental about kindergarten in the days leading up to his first day, I’m now seeing the beauty…the relief…the freedom. Granted, I’ve got a 2-year-old that is with me almost 24/7, with the exception of her 10 hours per week at “school”. But I can still feel the changes that have occurred and can only imagine what it will be like when she’s at big kid school, too.
First of all, nobody told me how lovely it feels to just go to the damn grocery store on a Thursday alone while these kind strangers are taking care of my children. Why don’t more parents talk about that? It’s amazing! There’s no babysitter. No grandparents are doing me a favor. I don’t have that same guilt that I used to feel when I went running errands alone while someone was watching my kiddos. I mean, these folks are getting paid to watch and teach my kids. It’s their job. I shouldn’t feel guilty about people doing their job, right? Of course not.
Second, I now have designated hours during the week to get work done. A work schedule! I haven’t had one of those in, like, well, since before Rowdy was born 5 1/2 years ago. With my 2-year-old in part time school twice per week, I go to my office job one day per week and do my work-from-home jobs (a.k.a. Kind Kiddo business) the other day she’s gone. I’m used to squeezing in work at home with a 2-year-old at my feet saying “I hungry, Mommy” and a 5-year-old asking me to play with him and stop working. GUILT, GUILT, GUILT. And, yes, I know it’s super neat that I get to work at home – blah, blah. But I must say that my least productive years working have been my years as a parent. I mean, it’s even worse than my productivity level as a 20-year-old party girl back in the day. I forget shit wayyyy more than I used to. I make silly mistakes. When my children were born they must have each taken some of my brain with them on their way out.You can read all of the details of being a WAHM on my previous blog post, here. Anyway, I’m baby stepping my way back to being a productive working gal, all while still getting to see my kiddos a whole lot. Perfect.
And finally, my kiddos and I have a chance to actually miss each other. I miss my kids terribly when my husband and I go on a trip alone. But it’s almost a neat feeling to miss them a little and then have that excitement of reuniting when we return. Now that they’re both in some form of school, we get that excitement of reuniting every single week. They get a break from me, and I get a break from them. It’s healthy. When you’ve spent the majority of your time (or even all of your time for parents that didn’t work at all during the baby and toddler years) with your kiddos, having that time away from each other during school hours is actually really, really nice. Sure, it’s nerve racking at first, but it didn’t take long for me to feel better about it.
The bottom line is that it’s really freaking cool to have this new life balance. Why don’t I see more parents talking about this? I mostly just hear about raising babies and toddlers and slaving away at home and never getting a break and being so tired all the time and then despite all of that always saying things like, ‘But I absolutely love it!’ Look, nobody loves all of it. I mean, come on. Raising babies and toddlers is exhausting and frustrating and emotional. But as long as they give you a sweet smile, a kiss and a little “I love you too, Mommy” every once in a while, you keep pushing forward and doing your thang. And then one day, the school days arrive, and its wonderful. These little creatures that you’ve been raising are out there learning things and doing things without you, and you’re starting to find yourself again. So, here’s to hoping while we’re finding ourselves again, we also find some additional happiness, some more money…and yes, more wine. Always more wine.