So, it's been a month now since the kids both started full day school and it's been an adjustment for me. To be perfectly honest, I was not one of those moms jumping for joy when summer vacation ended and I was left with a quiet house while the kids were at school.
Instead, I cried.
I've been home for four and a half years -- I've had children around almost non-stop for four and a half years. It used to be that I rejoiced in the two hours I'd get to myself when Austin was in half-day Kindergarten and Alex was in her preschool program. It used to be an incredible freedom when someone would babysit for an afternoon so that I could work in peace, or go to an appointment.
Now, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and yet, I don't always want to. Instead of rejoicing in the peace in quiet, it's just kind of lonely.
It doesn't help that work, which was incredibly (or insanely might be a better word) busy for much of the summer, suddenly slowed to what felt like a halt as soon as September started. Although I did the math – and I actually put in more or less the same number of hours into work in September that I did in August. It’s just in September, I had 6 hours a day, every day to do it in. And in August, I had 0 hours a day, every day to do it in (well that’s not entirely true – every morning the kids watched TV for an hour and a half so I could work and then I worked every single night). So I guess, I’m working just as much as I was, but I have so much more free time.
Some days are better than others. I’m trying to get into a routine of going out to a coffee shop several mornings a week with my laptop to work. I find, when I only have a small amount of things to do, I’m far more productive if I get out of the house and sit myself somewhere where I’m forced to do it. And the hustle and bustle around me is actually soothing.
I’m also trying to make lunch or coffee plans with friends several times a week to fill my hours. Other days, I've taken an hour and a half and gone for a run. But it’s hard to get over the guilt of allowing myself to have me time. Again, I guess I've spent so many years without having any that having some just doesn't ‘feel’ right.
As I said, some days are better than others. Some days are incredibly productive – whether it be with work or with getting stuff done around the house, or both. Or simply a lot of fun – having a kid-free lunch with a friend or shopping for new clothes for me (because seriously, how often do I get to do that!?). Other days, I feel a little lost and don’t quite know what to do with myself. And I end up puttering the day away and feeling worse for it afterwards.
I’m sure 9 months from now – when summer vacation starts – I’ll be scrambling, trying to figure out how to manage my work day with the kids around. But today, I just miss them.