October 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
I recently hit the long-coveted milestone of having all my children in school at the same time <insert cartwheel, and a lengthy “WOOOHOOOOO” here>. My youngest child started Junior Kindergarten this year, which means that for two, sometimes even three days each week, I have the entire school day to be me. Not someone’s chauffeur, not someone’s referee, not someone’s nurse, maid, or cook. Just me. For 6 hours. Also not to be confused with “free time”, (these days are often more packed than when I have children at home), but they are truly a little slice of heaven . The first day it happened, I felt like I won the lottery!
I have since discovered however, that every rose has its thorns. And if you do not wish to experience the thorns, certain precautions must be taken. I may have had the most perfect day of being me, being uber- productive without my entourage, even daring to wear high- heeled boots cause there is no one to chase after, but the culture shock when the kids re-entered the house was a far larger hit than I expected! All the sudden I was grumpy and resentful of the multiple questions being fired at me from four different directions. And the spontaneous din arising from the presence of four excited children was suddenly louder than I could tolerate. As I responded with impatience and irritable remarks, my husband asks me, “did you have a bad day?”, and I reply in a bewildered tone “no, actually, I didn’t”, suddenly baffled at how it all went south.
And then it hits me. It’s the contrast.
And so a new lesson in parenting is born: It is important to provide a buffer between “me time” and “mom time”. It is a more significant shift than I had ever considered before. My husband and I have been away without the kids lots of times, and I had never experienced this kind of reaction, but then again, we’ve always had the flight home and the car ride back from the airport to prepare ourselves for “re-entry”. A buffer.
I shared my realization with my husband and his response? “Well you’d better have less days to yourself then, I guess, eh? Chuckle, Chuckle”. Hysterical. Not a chance. But I will be carving out a few of those precious moments with a little buffer time from here on in.