This year, and for the three years after this one, my three kids will get on the school bus together and off the school bus together, every day of the week. No more ferrying kids to and from preschools for partial days or driving Petunia back and forth to the other school at which she attended kindergarten last year or trying to keep track of whose school has which days off. My daytime hours are finally (officially!) my own, except inasmuch as the dog would still like some attention between 8:30 and 3:30.
It's not all roses, of course: our afternoons and evenings are so insane that there will be no errand-running or other mother-productiveness going on after the kids get off the bus. It's homework and practices and lessons and classes from that moment on. If I need to go to the grocery store or dry cleaner or buy a birthday present or find a kid a fall coat or have a repairman come to the house or get a head start on dinner, it has to be done during the "me" time. But I'm no longer juggling kids to get to my taekwondo classes, I can make a spontaneous cache run if I feel like it, and I don't have to plan for days ahead of time and get a sitter if I need a pedicure. It's an odd feeling. After years of moment-to-moment, hands-on SAHMing, my role is clearly changing.
Himself and I jointly made the decision that I was going to stay home with whatever kids we had long before Thing One was born. At this point, I could easily go back to work, although the kids like having me home and any job I did get would have to be kid-friendly, since Himself's work schedule doesn't allow much flexibility. I used to work 12-hour days at my pre-kid job, which would just not fly anymore...at that point, why even have kids if you'll never see them and just be paying someone else to raise them?
So, for the immediately foreseeable future, I am the mistress of a domain that is suddenly a lot quieter than it used to be. I'm finding myself feeling guilty if the house isn't spotless or the laundry done or a nice dinner cooked: it's almost like I'm feeling a need to justify my existence now that the kids are older and gone more. The unfortunate part of this is that there is NO more frustrating thing in the world than cleaning a house, only to have it immediately trashed again by the other residents of the house, none of whom care about having things clean and neat.
|This speaks to me.|
|So does this.|
Himself, to his credit, isn't asking me what I'm doing all day. And God knows that my patience and energy are taxed in a big way before school and when the kids get home, so it really isn't that I'm not doing an important job around here. It's just not the same important job that I've been doing for all these years. Eventually I will wrap my head around the change and stop feeling like I'm not pulling my weight!