I’ve seen a few comments recently from parents who are shocked by those of us who are happy that it’s almost time for kids to head back to school. If we don’t want the children around 24/7, WHY DID WE HAVE THEM?
I’m going to let you in on a secret: I love my boys. They are amazing people who surprise me every day in pleasant (and yes, not-s0-pleasant) ways, and seeing them grow and discover who they are is a gift. I am thankful for them. I think the world of them. I’ve got their backs if ever they have a problem, and no one had better be mean to them if they don’t want me to go all mama-dragon on their asses.
And also, having my kids under-foot all summer has been driving me insane.
Does that seem strange? Maybe it is, to some. I know people who want their kids around all the time, who always put the kids’ wants before their own. I have insane respect for parents who are committed to home-schooling, even if it’s not for me. I know parents who are truly sad when summer is over and school is back in.
Me? I look forward to getting back into routine. No, I don’t enjoy hauling their poor little butts out of bed every morning, especially now that the older guy is acting like a teenager about it. Yes, I wish school ran from 9:30 to 4, which would give us more time in the morning to wake up at a natural time. No, I don’t look forward to fights over homework. But I am excited about the rest of it.
I’m excited to hear about their friends, most of whom they haven’t seen for a few months.
I’m excited to find out what they’re learning, what they’re reading, and what they’re discovering. Last year they both had amazing teachers, and S’s grade 3 teacher did writing workshops with them. I hope this year will be just as good.
And yes, I’m excited to have time for my own work.
I know, it’s practically blasphemy in some circles.
I hardly get anything done when the boys are home. If I’m writing (or doing the necessary social media rounds, or chatting with friends who keep me semi-sane, or [redacted, announcement coming soon]), I feel guilty for neglecting the kids. Not that they’d let me, mind you. Interruptions are frequent, and it can be hard for me to keep my cool when an important scene is disrupted by talk of Lego. And if I say, “forget it, I’m not getting anything done anyway” and leave the office, I feel guilty for neglecting my work…
…and myself. See, writing isn’t just a job for me, and I’d be mighty disappointed if I was just doing it for the money. It’s what feeds me, what satisfies me. Some people get that from housekeeping, cooking, doing crafts with their kids or playing Mighty Machines on the floor. Those things all drain me. Yes, even the kids. I love the boys more than life itself, and we’ve had some amazing experiences together this summer:
But I do need time to be alone, to create, to be elsewhere.
When school is in, I’ll have that. I’ll be able to throw myself into my work and my obligations in that area while the boys are at school, and I can actually enjoy my time with them when they’re at home because I won’t feel like I should be doing something else. Instead of having my mind scattered between two duties at all times, I’m hoping I can compartmentalize and actually enjoy being in the moment with my family. At least, that’s my theory.*
And you know what? They like school, despite what they say when 7:30 AM rolls around.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to September. This year is going to be an experiment for all of us: it’s the first year both kids are in school full days (but still home for lunch, which is pretty cool), and the first year I have reason to treat writing like a job. It will be the first time I’ll have 4-ish hours a day to get my stuff done, and I’m feeling really good about the possibilities.
I love my kids, and I need time for my work. If that makes me selfish, so be it. I think my kids will be happier when they have my full attention at home, and I’ll be happier when I can work without distractions.
Maybe I won’t go this far…
But I’m pretty darned excited.
This post isn’t to excite anyone about back to school if you’re not feeling it. If you’re sad about it, I don’t think you’re crazy or anything. This is just to ask for a little understanding for the rest of us. We’re not bad parents for needing some time to miss the kids, and having time for ourselves might even make us better moms and dads during the hours we have with our families. We all love our kids, and we’re all doing the best we can with the resources we have available. We have different needs, challenges, and personalities. I just want to help us all understand each other a little better.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans.
I just saw this, and it is PERFECT. And ditto to the school-supply confusion. Doesn’t help that our Walmart ran out of everything three weeks ago, but that’s fiiiiine.
*I know, there are people who can do this no matter what, parents who work from home AND home-school AND take kids to activities AND garden AND have sparkling bathrooms AND eat organic vegan paleo yadda yadda… and I’m not there. I’m disorganized and easily distracted to the point where I’d look into diagnosis and medication if it didn’t affect creativity. My anxiety since I stopped taking antidepressants leaves me unable to deal with a lot of things. I can barely remember to thaw chicken for supper. Maybe by next summer I’ll have learned to juggle, but I just can’t do it right now.