Back to school is not just about kids getting a new backpack, and a box of crayons. On back to school day, everybody in the family is going “back” to something. A norm, a rhythm, a routine.
This year, for me, a big page is turning. My little girl is starting school. For the first time in over ten years, I won’t have a child with me for a full six hour stretch. That’s it! No more babies to attend to!
I can FINALLY step in the shower without needing to purchase my half empty bottle of shampoo for one hundred and six twenty twelve dollars from a little troll. I can decide to go to the supermarket without buying fifty dollars worth of candies of doubtful colors just so I can come out of the shop before sundown.
For once, the words, “I’ll jump in my car and be there in a minute” will actually mean just that, not, “Give me an hour and I might make it to yours, with vomit on my shirt and somebody crying, or in need of a diaper change. If I ever make it, that is…”
I don’t need to explain why I want to drink coffee, why I am choosing these clothes, why my phone is ringing, why my hair is blond. Nope. Now I can just be…for a full six hours…and I am dreading it!
Why? Because for one, this is a sharp reminder that I am growing old(er). Say what you want, kids might be demanding, and at times, really consuming all your energy. But they keep you young!
Plus, now I am bathing in guilt, wondering why I have been craving some level of freedom all these years. What was I chasing? Why did I feel the need to achieve things above and beyond being with my kids? I knew today was coming, so why didn’t I put everything on hold and spend every waking minute – and there were a lot of them on a sometimes twenty hour a day schedule! – enjoying my children, instead of hoping for five seconds of peace here and there?
Thankfully, my normally pessimistic self has found a silver lining in my little back to school motherhood crisis: my kids need me now more than ever. In the years ahead, where they are growing into tweens, and teens, they need sound advice, love, guidance and parents who will listen to them. I might not be caring for babies anymore, but my job is far from done. I just need to tune my mom ears a little to adapt to being a big(ger) kids mom. And it’s gonna go something like this:
Pre-big kids, I used to enjoy winding my boys up, asking them about girlfriends and watch them go green with disgust at the thought of catching girl cooties. Now I will be the one who won’t want to hear about girlfriends. No, no, no, no, no, let’s not joke about such serious matters, you guys are waaaaaaay too young!
Pre-big kids, I used to have to repeat everything five times and still, I am not sure all of them heard me. Now, oh, well no change there!
Pre-big kids, I never managed to sleep past 6:45 AM. Not one single morning…unless I was so sick I could not get out of bed. But that barely qualifies as quality sleep. Now, I CANNOT wait to wake up the whole house playing the trumpet at 8 AM on the weekend. And YES! I will learn to play the trumpet, just so I can do that.
Pre-big kids, most of my blogs would be about liquid coming out of sick kids, the pain of stepping on a Lego and the fear of finding little people climbing on a chair balanced on the counter top to reach my secret chocolate stash. Well, that might not change too much given that today, I overheard an interesting conversation about how if you throw a pizza slice at the TV, it sticks better if it’s pepperoni. So don’t worry, I am far from writing posts that make sense!
But the hardest change of all, is that I need to adjust to less and less hugs and kisses. I am not ready for that one yet. Thankfully, my little girl still wants to marry me, so if I play my cards right, I shall manage to get a fair share this year.
Are you experiencing transitions as your kids are growing up? How are you adjusting to it?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Nadege Nicoll. She was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at everyday life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com.
Photo credit to the author.