Today marks my 3-year old’s last day of preschool. It also marks the very first time he will be home ALL.THE.TIME. since my daughter was born approximately 20 months ago. To say I’m slightly terrified is an understatement. I might also add that this was 100% my choice. My son’s school is also a daycare and open during the summer so I didn’t have to pull him out. It must have been a particularly good day when I thought this was a good idea. The children probably both napped with relative ease, the sun was shining was, and we were laughing and giggling at the park with friends. A summer with both kids home 100% of the time seemed easy and idyllic then. Now, reality is hitting me hard and I’m wondering what I’ve done to myself.
Before you think I’m just in it for the 3-hour break from a tyrannical toddler, first let me tout the obligatory benefits of having a child in school: socialization with their peers, learning to be away from mommy, adjusting to a classroom setting and structure, and of course, educational lessons that I simply don’t have time to work on with him at home. I 100% believe that he’s much more intelligent due to the fact that he’s been in a classroom setting since he was 3-months old. The other day he told me we live on the planet Earth and started singing the months of the year. Ok there were two Decembers (September also = December) but still. That didn’t come from me as I rarely even know what day it is. Slow clap for school.
But let’s get real and talk about the selfish reason why I have him in school even though I’m a full-time stay at home mom. School has been my sanctuary during the adjustment to the life of a SAHM with two young children close in age. Who cares that AJR woke up at 5:30am and the meltdowns are rolling in like strong contractions – four minutes apart, one minute long – today is a school day! For a blissful three hours three times a week none of that will be my problem. He skips happily into his room, smiling sweetly at his teachers and I get to hightail it out of there guilt-free. It’s a win-win. I know he’s having an amazing, educational time with his little 3-year old besties and I get a chance to try to regain the patience that was lost within five minutes of him waking up.
School has also been my opportunity to bond with Olivia without the death-glares from AJR. Mom guilt dies down a bit as we enjoy some moments just the two of us. In the early days, there were lazy mornings spent breastfeeding with last night’s Real Housewives playing in the background. Not to mention for about 15 months of her life she was taking a morning AND afternoon nap, which meant I usually had a guaranteed hour of peace and quiet to sip my coffee and aimlessly scroll through my phone, ignoring piles of laundry and dinner prep. Wrangling two children solo for 12 hours a day is a trying business. I can’t lie, I look forward to when AJR is at school and the playing field is leveled and we’re back at 1:1 ratio.
When I told his school that I was taking him out for July and August they actually asked if I was sure. His school has been my lifeline. I love the school, his teachers, the fact that he loves it, and the precious semi-freedom its provided me. Now there will be no buffer. It’s going to be a 24/7 onslaught of threenager behavior. And let me tell you ’bout this threenager crap. Since I totally jinxed things with this post and waxed poetic on how much I’m loving on him at this age, he’s been on a mission to totally kamikaze those feelings of mine. The other day I literally thought about going to get his ears checked because his inability to listen has gotten out of control. His irrational meltdowns of the past almost seem logical and understandable in the wake of these new, super tantrums that completely level me emotionally. It doesn’t help that the mere suggestion of a nap results in such unrelenting outrage that they simply haven’t happened for a few weeks now. Even my bad habit of laying with him until he falls asleep doesn’t work anymore. His afternoons are then spent teetering on the brink of utter exhaustion, putting him in an even more emotionally precarious position than normal.
Don’t get me wrong, this summer is going to be great: lazy days at the pool, trips to the zoo, exploring new parks, and day trips to the beach. I’m looking forward to the smell of sunscreen on a little boy body, popsicle stained lips, bare feet in the grass, and the exhaustion that accompanies a day spent outside making bedtime easy and peaceful. If all that fails to make me glad I’m keeping him out of school for July and August, at least I have the comfort of knowing I can take the money saved on tuition and put it towards my rosé stash. And the fact that him and his sister will BOTH be in school in the fall. (cue evil laughter)