So Leann, what are you going to do with yourself when the youngest one goes to school next year?
With the school year in full swing, I get asked this question more and more all the time. I wish the answer were simple, I really do. Most often, I give people my standard sarcasm-filled response:
I'm going to lie around naked and eat BonBons all day.
(Wouldn't the Schwan's guy get a kick out of that?)
In reality, many people have this notion that the work is done when you're a SAHM and the youngest starts school. Some of the mothers that work outside the home have this idea that 'staying home' means that the house will always be clean, dinner will be on the table by 5:00, and laundry will always be kept up on. HECK! I used to believe that very same thing when I worked! I was sure that my days as a SAHM would be CAKE compared to working and taking care of a home and kids. I used to dream about the days when I had the time and energy and a routine in place to make sure that everything could be done and in order all the time. Just imagine having nine or ten extra hours every single day, five days a week!
Somehow, we seem to forget that the kids will still be there!
Now, we all know the 'SuperMom' types who actually do manage to keep things clean, and in order all the time and live by a very regimented schedule. For all that, they get huge props from me. However, I also know that there are only so many hours in a day and that something has to give in order to acheive that. I, for one, could never do it.
For starters, I have a tendencey to build up resentment toward my family if, say....they do the same senseless things every single day and it always makes more work for me. I stay in a much better mood just stepping over the toys and shoes in the floor rather than nagging them to pick them up or doing it for them. I become a pissy person over time if I'm not careful. In all honesty, I'm not a very organized person to begin with. I can barely pick up after myself. Picking up after other people all the time...well, that just taps into a part of me that isn't pretty!
Now, it doesn't bother me when they are little. I didn't always keep the toys and junk picked up, but I didn't blame them for it either. (Okay, so I usually just bribed the older one to pick them up for me. Set a timer, offer a treat, and the work seems to just do itself! Everyone has their price, you know!) But, as they get older they can be held to a higher standard. 7YO and 4YO have amazing amounts of strength and energy when it comes to their imaginations. I can leave an otherwise mostly organized living room to run to the bathroom and come back a few minutes later to all of my kitchen chairs, blankets, and pillows in the house piled into a 'fort' in front of the television. It doesn't matter how long I let them play there; they will be "TOO TIRED" to clean it all up at the end. I'm not sure how they manage to get the energy beforehand, but I've seen them move large, heavy pieces of furniture with little effort. Oddly, they NEVER have the strength or energy to put them back!
I need to find out how I can submit their names so that natural disasters can be named after them. That would just be oh-so-fitting!
In a year, I'm going to be entering a new phase in my life. Since I've been a mom, I've been either working, had little ones at home, or been uncomfortably pregnant while the oldest was at school. Given all that, I haven't done very much volunteering at their school. (Hey...I'm pacing myself! As of now, I have almost eight more years at this school!) I've always told myself that I would be more involved when the youngest one starts school.
CRAP...it's coming up pretty quickly! I guess I have to MEAN IT now, huh?
It isn't all that hard having one 4YO around. She can wipe her own bottom and get a lot of her own snacks. After having three, toting one around to the grocery store or to lunch with a friend isn't all that taxing. I will, however, be looking forward to not having to find a sitter during my annual 'check-ups' with the O.B.G.Y.N. or for any appointment that will last more than an hour!
I've really been thinking about all of this today as 4YO spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa last night. I was thinking about all the things I could get done today...all the 'alone time' I would have. After working in 7YO's class and having a hair appointment, I didn't get much else done. It was easier to do the things I did, but it felt like something was *missing.* (More like someONE!) I will definitely get used to being alone when 4YO goes to school next year, but I'll always cherish the times we have now. She's my best little shopping buddy....most days!