Tuesday BOTH of my kids started school. Please take a moment to send a virtual slow clap my way. My oldest, AJR is starting his second year of preschool going three days a week. Olivia, who turns two in October, started in the toddler program, and will go two mornings a week.
Do you know what this means?? On Tuesday and Wednesday I will have 2.5 hours of kid-free time to do whatever I please. Every week. For the next nine months. Wow, Lynn, did you just hit the stay at home mom lottery? Yes, I am certainly feeling like I did. That said, 2.5 hours may seem like a lot of time, but let me assure you, it most definitely is not. Here is a breakdown of my first official kid-free “day”:
8:55a.m. – slinked out of the kids’ school trying to conceal giddy grin. Felt a slit twinge of guilt as I left Olivia in a puddle of tears crying “Mommy back! Mommy back.” Guilt slowly dissolved as the click of the school doors echoed promisingly behind me. Sorry, second child. Mommy ain’t breaking that easily.
8:56a.m. – 9:02a.m. – sat in car and scrolled through the thousands of “first day of school” photos I took of the kids. Enjoyed the fact that no one was screaming of me to “step on it” or requesting the same song we’ve heard a mind numbing amount of times.
9:02a.m. – 9:11a.m. – drove to the gym in silence. Glorious, glorious silence. No radio, nothing. Just silence and my own thoughts as I gave myself a “enjoy this” wink in the rearview mirror.
9:12 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – Took a class at the gym. Was asked where the kids were. Literally broke out into a jig as I responded that they were in school. Focused solely on myself and my workout without having to wonder whether they were trying to steal gummy bears from the gym’s snack bar. (true story: AJR burst into one of my classes and said “Mommy! I’ve got guummmmyyyy beeeaaarrsss” and ran from the room on a sugar-high fueled sprint while the women around me erupted in laughter)
10:16 a.m. – 10:20a.m. – Another relaxing and silent drive. Toyed with the idea of calling the school to see how Olivia was doing. Decided against it lest I kill my solo vibe.
10:20 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. – Casually strolled through the aisles of Trader Joe’s picking up various items for the week. Didn’t have to open one container or bag of food to appease the banshees usually sitting in the grocery cart.
10:40a.m. – 10:50a.m. – Drove home. Called a friend. Enjoyed being able to have a conversation without kids screaming in the background because their music wasn’t playing and they needed to know who I was talking to even though I had already answered them the 70 other times when they asked
10:51a.m. – 10:55a.m. – Unloaded groceries without someone running off with the contents of the bag.
10:55.am. – 11:00 a.m. – Answered text messages and scrolled through social media without the guilt of not paying attention to my kids hanging over me. There are so many cute back to school pictures! I liked them all.
11:00.am. – 11:01a.m. – Had a “oh crap, I need to shower!” moment. Pickup is in 30 minutes and I was not going to miss an opportunity for an uninterrupted shower.
11:01 a.m. – 11:15a.m. – Took a hot shower with the door unlocked. No sounds of screaming children overpowering the deafening sound of the exhaust fan. No having to explain what my various body parts are to any kids peeking in at me while I take a shower.
11:16a.m. – 11:22a.m. – Prepped the kids’ lunch. Enjoyed not having to peel a mandarin orange under extreme duress.
11:23a.m. – 11:23a.m. – Got into the car. Wondered how the time went by so quickly. Started to plot out what I was going to do on Wednesday.
11:24a.m. – 11:28a.m. -Took the all too short drive back to their school. Excitement built as I was looking forward to giving them a squeeze and hearing about their first days.
11:29a.m. – Walked back through the doors of the school. Braced myself for the toddler hurricane I am going to be thrust back into.
I was not surprised at how quickly the time went. However, I was surprised at how much I missed them. Especially Olivia. Several times I fought the urge to call the school for a status update, but ultimately the second-time mom in me resisted as I knew she was ultimately going to be fine.
Also, I was struck with this weird feeling. Am I somehow cheating at this stay at home mom thing by sending both kids to school? Isn’t the point of staying at home to keep the kids at home and away from school until they need to go? There was a smidgen of guilt that hung over the first day. Guilt that I know is absolutely ridiculous. I am apart from Olivia for five hours a week. That still leaves 163 other hours each week that I am there. Always there.
School is amazing and does amazing things for kids. Even kids as young as Olivia. They are in school because it is beneficial for them. That said, I am really looking forward to having more time for myself as an added bonus. Those hours won’t be filled with me sitting around eating bon-bons while I watch Bravo. Ok, there might be a day here or there when I do that if I can find out what bon-bons actually are and the DVR is really backing up. But for the most part those hours will be consumed with grocery shopping, running miscellaneous errands, prepping meals, cleaning the house, making phone calls, and perhaps finally getting a long overdue haircut and making a trip to the dentist. These few short hours are going to fly, but I am hoping they’ll allow me to regain a little Lynn-Mom life balance. A balance that will benefit the family because when mommy is happy, then everyone else is happy too. The guilt may linger for a little while longer. But I think a few more solo trips to the grocery store and some art projects the kiddos bring home from school may get rid of it pretty fast.