Lately I’ve been suffering from a wee bit of envy for those whose children are entering the school system. I was in the grocery store the other day, usually a difficult task with two kids in tow, listening to a lady chatting up the clerk about how her youngest started Kindergarten this year and it’s so nice to do all her errands while they are in school, including grocery shopping. As my own daughter approaches age 5 I’m hearing more talk from parents in our various classes about their kids starting school this fall. And when I do I must confess that I feel twangs of envy in me that these women are “almost done”. They’ve put in their five years of stay-at-home-mom-grind and now they are about to be Free. In no time they’ll have several hours a day, each day, to do with as they wish, whereas I feel like I’ll be struggling and clawing every ounce of free time I can get from my days forever.
I asked a mom I know, E, who has a 6 year old and is a dedicated homelearning mom (and one of the moms who inspired me to do it) whether she feels this way. Oh yes, she said. She is expecting her third child next month and probably feels it more than I do, lol. It really helped so much to hear that it was normal and it didn’t mean I was betraying the Faith, so to speak. But then she pointed out that, as the kids get older, we will have it easier too.
In fact, when I stop to think about it, how I’m feeling doesn’t make much sense. For one thing, Kindergarten is only 2 or 3 hours a day. I know from our past experience with preschool that by the time you drop them off and leave to pick them up it doesn’t leave time for much, and is a special pain if you have little ones to lug in and out of carseats, infants who might be napping at the wrong time, etc. And then there’s the fact that, even though the idea of having that time with one less child sounds appealing, the truth is I don’t want to be apart from DD for that much time.
Then we fast forward to when all the kids are in grade school. Talk about driving around all day – at least we homelearners do our “extra curricular activities” during the day and by 3 or 4 o’clock our day is done and we can relax at home and spend time together as a family. The school kids are just starting their second jobs when the school bell rings at 3:30. First it’s off to skating or ballet or karate or soccer practice and that means driving all over the place when everybody else is doing the same. After the games and classes Mum somehow has to put dinner together then the kids will have homework or music practice or whatever. And in the morning the rush starts all over again. That is so not the life I want to have with my children.
And when my kids are school aged they’ll be involved in clubs and activities and such that won’t require me to be there. AND since they aren’t age-segregated they can do stuff together which means less running around and more opportunities for some “kid-free” time. But not too much of it. Not more than I want.
And I’ll actually get to do some of this stuff with them. I want to do the Young Naturalists Club with them and volunteer with them for Habitat For Humanity and all sorts of other cool stuff.
So when I think this all out rationally there isn’t anything to be envious about. Still, I feel those pangs whenever I hear talk of the pending “free time” and “boy this time has gone by fast” and the new Life that awaits for the SAHM who is inches away from release back to something more closely resembling her former life…I have a feeling, however, that once it all starts and we are really Kindergarteners who Aren’t, then we will be able to make an accurate comparison. I’m confident that I will be the one to be envied, lol.