Here's the thing, I became the world's most awesome mom when my kids went to school. I'm beginning to think that I would have been a better mom all these years if I had been a working mom instead of a stay at home one. Because not spending the whole day with my kids makes me like them more. There. I said it. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to stay at home with my kids all these years, but I'm really enjoying with next season of life where they fly the nest a little bit.
In many ways I feel like my life got oddly busier when they went to school- kind of like how a retiree wonders how he ever had time to work. The days just get filled up with stuff. However, I'm insanely productive when I'm doing all the things I've always done- just with no kids around. It blows my mind how quickly I can get in and out of somewhere when I don't have to buckle up kids or wait for them to do it themselves. I have time in my life to actually make the meals, do the laundry, go to the grocery and have infinitely more patience to do homework and deal with petty "he's touching me" infractions.
When my kids get home I LIKE THEM BETTER. I liked them before, but I didn't realize how much negativity I pent up when the gig was 24/7. Now that the gig is 17/7 my ratio feels balanced. I feel like I'm better able to deal with life in general. I know- good moms are supposed to love it all the time and do it all and want to be around their kids all the time- but just whatever. It is what it is.
I feel like when they get off the bus, that I'm able to listen (I mean really listen) about their day. I feel like when they sound out every single word in their reading books that I don't want to hang myself or speed them up. Don't get me wrong- I still snap at them all to often. The other day when a certain kid was being corrected, they muttered, "Nobody around here cares about me!" I went off. And then made said child list all the ways that I show how I care about them. And every now and then (or daily) I still find myself growling, "If you would just put your shoes where they go, you would not lose them every. single. day." So the zen doesn't always last. I still growl. A lot. But not as much as I used to and I like that.
And yet- I feel guilt that I love them being at school all day. Does the mommy guilt ever really go away? My roster of friends is full of homeschooling moms. I mean FULL. And more power to them. But I have not even one ounce of desire to ever have my kids at home all day by choice. I think I had a small panic attack just thinking about it. I think that no matter how well we do at this job, we always think there is someone doing it better. Comparison really is the thief of joy.
Once life dies down from the move and the other billion transitions we've been going through, I'll probably start looking for a part time job. Or pick up some free lance writing. Or figure out a way to get paid for packing lunch boxes. (Can I get an amen) Or write the next great American novel. This new chapter in life seems so full of possibilities! I like possibilities.
Why yes, that is a coat hanger stuck in Miles' dreadlocks. He gets great TV reception with it attached.
These two little brown-nosers sure know how to melt a mama's heart :-)