By Gizelle Arriola of Dearest Mommy1
The first day of school for your little one can be quite daunting, to say the least. My baby is coming up on her first day of full day kindergarten. Once my youngest starts school, it will be the first time my little girl has been away from me for that many hours a day, ever. The closer that day gets, the more my excitement (anxiety?) builds.
Currently I am a stay-at-home mother of two very entertaining little girls who always keep me on my toes. My youngest is four going on fourteen. She’s fairly independent. Most of the time.
She has, for the most part, been around only our family since she was born; because of this, her first day of kindergarten camp did not go over well.
When we got to her class that morning my girl looked up at me with her serious face and said, “You are not leaving me here!” I explained to her in my calmest voice, “Everyone goes to school, and now it’s your turn. I need you to be a big girl like your sister until I get back to pick you up, okay?” She began to cry and literally was clinging to my leg for dear life as I was trying to get out the door. They had to hold her back when I finally did leave.
Apparently it was not okay.
Eventually she acclimated to her new surroundings and by the end of the week was a completely different kid when it came to school.
Later, after first doing a little victory dance in my kitchen (hey, I have been consecutively taking care of two kids, 24 hours a day for 8 years straight!), I started thinking about all the freedoms that come with having all school age children.
Free Time Freedom. Okay, so maybe that’s not full-fledged freedom, but free time is the kind of freedom that a parent who has been taking care of at least one child for years can appreciate. Of course, if you are a stay at home mom, you will have time for that book you have been meaning to read or that class you have always wanted to take.
Personal Hygiene Freedom. There are even more simple luxuries, like being able to use the restroom in peace without the added commentary: “It stinks in here,” and my favorite, “Are you done yet?” You can also take a shower all by yourself without the twenty questions that must have an answer as soon as you decide to get in: “What’s that?” And then the follow up question of, “Why doesn’t Daddy have those?”
Now that’s freedom, people!
Peace and Quiet Freedom. Peace and quiet at home is a foreign concept to most parents, but for me, a stay-at-home mom, the concept is especially frightening. It sounds sweet really, but in the back of my mind deep questions like these lurk:
What does peace and quiet for such a long period of time feel like? Will it hurt? Will I be bored out of mind after the first day? What will I do without the constant barrage of simple statements and mundane questions, like, “I’m hungry! Will you make me pancakes?” (at 2:30 in the afternoon) or, “I went poop, come look!” peppered throughout my day?
I find it odd that kids that age get so proud of their poop. I don’t even want to see my own, let alone someone else’s, but you do what you must as a parent. Whatever floats their boat, right?
Scheduling Freedom. Having your kids on the same schedule is one of the best parts of raising all school-age children. Now they both will be home at the same time, in school at the same time, and eventually doing homework at the same time. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a win-win in my eyes.
Eventually, our kids will grow older and need us less. We will look back longingly on those days when they were solely dependent on us to get their daily needs met and remember our now seemingly foolish excitement for them to grow up and be more independent.
For now, though, I will take whatever simple freedom(s) I can get, and maybe some I can’t anticipate.
This post was originally published on Dearest Mommy1.
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