Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back-to-School Thoughts from a Working Mom

I’m not thrilled about the kids heading back to school. I would be fine if my girls could enjoy another month of summer vacation. And it’s not because we spend our mornings sleeping late, or our afternoons soaking up the sun by the pool. It’s about the evenings.

I work full-time outside of the home, so regardless of the month on the calendar I’m up at 6 a.m., out the door by 8 a.m., and don’t return until 6 p.m. During the school year, I head straight home to make dinner, inspect backpacks, check homework, give baths, get clothes ready for the next day, and put the kids to bed by 8:30 p.m.

But the summer is different. Aaaaahhhh...the summer.


In the summer, we don’t rush through our evenings, checking items off a task list. If we don’t have dinner ‘til 8:00 it’s no big deal.

Backpacks? Homework? Bedtime? Fuhgettabout it.

(Smelly, dirty kids do require strictly enforced nightly baths...even in the summer.)

With a 40-hour work week I may not get to enjoy the lazy days of summer, but I do love my easy-going evenings in June, July and August.

Today when I dropped off my 8 year-old at her first day of third grade, I had to hold back the tears as I walked back to my car. I always get emotional on the first day of school. And it's not because I won’t spend the next several hours with her. Regretfully, being away from my kids all day long is nothing new for me. It’s the milestone in the moment.

But in all honesty, I think some of my emotion comes from the fact that it’s the-beginning-of-the-end of summer.

I have enough structure in my life during the work day. I need flexible evenings where we can focus on fun and relaxing family time. I need time to unwind from a hectic work day. Nothing puts office politics and projects into perspective than hanging out with my kids. They are the balancing force in my life.

And when I say "force", I mean that literally.

Just tonight my 5 year-old had an self-induced, accidental overdose of Triaminic for her little cough. There's nothing like a frantic call to poison control on behalf of your child to help you realize what's really important.

Fortunately all is well. Unfortunately, it will probably just get crazier from this point forward.

Good-bye lazy summer evenings. We had a great time together while it lasted.

Hello schoolwork and bedtime. Please don’t be offended that I’m not happy to see you.


Smith Family- Puerto Rico Style said...

Funny! I cry the first day of school too but I guess for different reasons!

Melinda said...

Summer went by just waaaay too fast

Camille said...

I thought about you this morning as I was hugging my oldest good-bye and leaving her in her Kindergarten room for the first day - knowing I won't be able to relish in her excitement right when she gets back! It will have to wait until this evening, when I get back! It's definitely a bitter-sweet event, for all the reasons you've listed here. Hang in there!!

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