Like most of you, we're at the tail-end of the school year around here. Seventeen school days left, to be exact. Parker is counting down with much happiness. Faith is counting down wishing the school year wasn't coming to an end. I've finally figured out why the past eight months have been so...weird.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure all this out. I'm a fairly smart person so why this didn't dawn on me sooner, I have no idea. Denial, maybe? What am I talking about, you might be wondering? Well...I'll tell ya'.
When I was a child, my mother was a stay-at-home mom. Back then they were called "homemakers". Before my school-aged days, I was always home with my mother. When I began my education years, my mother was home when I left for school and she was home when I got home from school. As I approached my teen years, of course there were times when I would be home alone, but never on a daily basis. Mom was home and that's how I liked it. When I went off to college, I had a roommate. These brought times that I was more than happy to be in the dorm room by myself but when I went home on weekends or breaks I was never alone for long periods of time.
When I was done with my education years and had entered into the working world I would spend my days at work with other people. For several years I worked a part-time job five or six evenings per week after spending my weekdays at my "real job". I would come home to my apartment or eventually a few years back at my parent's house to being home alone, but never for long as I was usually going out with friends or eventually my boyfriend-husband-to-be doing the fun things that one does when they are in their twenties.
When Scott and I got married we both worked every day. We would come home to our house at the end of the days and be happy to be there together, starting our new life and desperately trying to start a family.
After what seemed like forever (which was really only five and a half years), Parker was born! Me working outside of the home was no longer something that Scott and I desired for our new little family. I became a stay-at-home mom and happiness beyond measure filled my heart! When Parker was nearly five years old, Faith was born. Again, my heart was bursting with love for my children and staying at home with them is the only place I wanted to be.
Let's jump ahead now to the past eight months. Parker is in 6th Grade and Faith is in 1st Grade...her first year of all-day school. Still, this stay-at-home mom job is the one I desire. I want to be there when my kids go to school in the mornings. I want to be able to volunteer in their classrooms or on their field trips whenever I can. I want to be there when they get home from school...sitting on the front porch waiting for them to get off the bus, ready to hear about their days.
But this is where the "weird" set in. Between taking them to school in the mornings and them getting off the bus in the afternoons, it was just me. At home. By myself. Oh sure, I'd run errands, go to school to volunteer, have coffee with friends, etc. But for the most part, when I was home...I was home alone. No one needed me to care for them. I sort of found myself floundering around like a fish out of water. I wasn't sure what to do with myself sometimes. Oh sure...there was ALWAYS stuff to do...like laundry, cleaning, dishes, picking up doggie gifts in the yard...but who wants to do that ALL THE TIME? Not me.
So now I find myself at the end of the school year and finally figuring out why this was such a weird year for me. I was alone with myself and I had forgotten who myself was. I had to get to know myself again. Let me tell ya'...I learned a lot! I learned that I enjoy the quiet of the day...but I have to allow myself to enjoy it without feeling like it has to be filled up. I learned that I'll take a really good book, coffee with a friend, volunteering at school or instant messaging with a far-away friend over a little bit of dust on the furniture. I learned that sometimes you just really need a little nap. I discovered just how very excited I get when I hear the bus coming down the street to bring my children home at the end of the school day.
My season of mothering may have changed over this past school year, but my heart is still here...at home...with my children. I have no desire to push mothering aside for something "more". Sure...other things will start to fill in as my children continue to grow and become more independent...but at the end of every day...no matter how old they get...I will always and forever more be a mom.
Here's wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.