My youngest baby starts Kindergarten in a few days. I’ve been a “mostly stay-at-home mom” since my eldest was born almost 8 years ago; for the first time in nearly a decade, I will have whole weekdays to myself. To say my feelings about this are mixed is a gross understatement.
When I was a child, I reached each new milestone with excitement and pride: starting school, learning to read, entering adolescence, learning to drive. I remember my mother being happy for me but also expressing sadness as I moved from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. I never understood that, because as a child, my focus was on the future, not the past.
Now My Baby Starts Kindergarten
|Image courtesy of flickr.com|
Each milestone for my children is a step away from the safe cocoon of home life and a step into a wider, scarier, and more exciting world. Each milestone takes them further on the road to adulthood and independence. A friend of mine once said, “The less they need you physically, the more they need you emotionally.” Parenting is not monotonous; it’s a journey through an ever-shifting landscape of a child’s needs, desires, joys, and sorrows. As my friend Rachael observed when her baby starts Kindergarten, every time our children change, we change, too.
Part of me is looking forward to the “new me” I can see emerging. I will have more time to devote to working, writing, and being creative. I can go out to eat with friends without picking a restaurant with a play area. I’m also considering going back to grad school, which was unthinkable before.
But I’m an extrovert, and I will miss having my little guy around to enjoy our favorite activities together, whether it’s baking cookies or watching movies or going to the zoo. I’ll especially miss him when it’s time to run errands. He loves going to the store and makes each trip a fun adventure.
|First day of preschool, two years ago.|
The other day I ran to the store after my husband got home from work, and both of the kids stayed home with him. I cried a little on the way there, thinking about how most of my errands will be done solo from now on. For the last 8 years, running errands alone has sometimes been a break from caring for young kids; now it will be my norm. It’s a small difference, but one that shows just how much being a “mostly stay-at-home” mom has impacted my daily life and routine.
My whole identity as a mother is about to change, as much as it changed when I went from being a mother of one to a mother of two. I remember the strongly mixed feelings of excitement, joy, bewilderment, and worry over the changes in my life when my second son was born. I’m experiencing those feelings all over again now, and I’m sure I will experience them again with both of my sons’ future milestones: going into middle and high school; leaving home; getting married.
A fellow blogger I know wrote a lovely post about her feelings when her baby starts Kindergarten. She expressed fears that she’d missed out on her time with them by constantly looking ahead to the next milestone and not enjoying where they were. That post helped me adapt when my first son started Kindergarten that same year.
I can’t say I’ve relished every single moment of parenting because no one does. But I do know that I’ve tried to live in the moment as much as possible and not rush through their childhoods. As grandparents love to tell you, it all goes by so fast. In a few days, my parenting will mainly take place before school, after school, and on the weekends. I look forward to finishing work and housework during the day so that I can be fully present with them during those times. I’m grateful that I can still work part time so I can be home with them during school breaks or sick days.
I look forward to seeing who my sons become as they grow up. I look forward to seeing who I become, too. Whatever changes time brings, I know our family will love each other for who we are — past, present, and future.
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Tags: Back to school