Today is the return of my children to school/childcare after 8.5 of closed schools due to snow, or the distant threat of snow. It's common for parents to gripe when school is closed for extended stretches of time - for some families it's the financial burden and mounting workplace pressure as parents figure out how to meet work obligations without childcare. For others, it's simply a struggle dealing with the kids when you have gotten used to offshoring their care and recreation for several hours of each day. I admit, I've fallen into the latter category many a times, which is why I was shocked to enjoy most of the last two weeks.
|NOT a Snow Day, (Note no jackets and NO SNOW) And Yet...No School|
|Now, THIS is a SNOW DAY|
With the emphasis on staying home (versus going out and doing), there was little in the way of plans, which can be blissful in small amounts.
And yet, you better believe there was a spring in my step this morning as I deposited the kids at preschool and returned to an amazingly quiet house. I've had an internal quandary ever since becoming a mother 6 years ago. I want to want to be with my children but I also relish (CHERISH!) the time I have without them. I'm an introvert, after all, and time alone in quiet is an important element of my well-being. Sending them off to school/preschool for at least a couple mornings each week has been supremely helpful for me in feeling centered and balanced.
I'm also noticing some shifts in my parenting experience: one is that my children are not so damn needy and can entertain themselves for long stretches of time now (however, they tend to need me in unpredictable patterns so it's not easy to designate time for self-care when they are at home). We are done with breastfeeding, diapers, naps, etc, so I don't feel so energetically drained after a full day together. Also, I've noticed the boys become more harmonious playmates the more open-ended time they spend together (vs. only after school, during a time of heavy transition for our family, as Papa arrives and I leave for work, and Ezra tends to be emotionally fragile now that he's dropped naps). Happy play begets happy play.
This has been a timely experience for me because I'm giving some thought to summer plans. Many of the week-long camps for kids have priority registrations, with steep discounts for registering now, so it's beneficial to figure out August plans in February, which I hate (I don't like locking in our family schedule 6 months ahead). The good times we've enjoyed the last two weeks are affirming for me a desire to keep our summer schedules loose and trust that long days together will be more happy than miserable. Remind me of this post in August!