Right now, we have less than 3 weeks of school left this year. (Really, we should be getting out a week earlier, but we had tons of snow days, so now we get out 5 days before Memorial Day. But that’s another topic…)
This was my first year with all my kids in school full time: a 5th grader, a 3rd grader, and a kindergartener. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been looking forward to this year for at least 2 years. (I’ve also said that the last year of preschool really gets you excited about kindergarten because you aren’t driving into town every three hours 5 days of the week…)
I cried last fall when all of my kids got on the bus on the first day of school. It really was the end of a precious time in my life. Suddenly, I had all these moments running through my head: entire mornings spent at a park, sitting on the couch feeding a baby while the older two made piles of stuffed animals to jump into, the teamwork song from Wonder Pets that I haven’t heard for years, and all 5 of us squeezing into Curtis’ tractor because I just had to get out of the house. All these moments seemed like forever ago, yet it was just yesterday. How in the world did my babies all grow up and head off to school?
I felt a bit lost last fall - there were a few days where I just walked around my house wondering what I should do next. It’s kind of weird to be a stay at home mom when there are no kids at home to stay with. I also knew that I didn’t want to rush out and get a full-time job; I still want to go to school events, programs, field trips, take care of sick kids, and do all the things that Curtis needs me to do. Enter my photography business.
When I started this business 3 years ago, it really was just a way to monetize my hobby. I like gear. I like taking classes. I needed a new computer. All those things are expensive and I wanted to be able to pay for them myself. Now, this is my job and it’s been awesome to have the time to work on my business without being interrupted 5 times in 5 minutes. I’m investing less in new gear/lighting equipment/all things business and am actually contributing to our budget. Some days I’m not as thankful as I should be for this job that is also my passion.
The hardest part of this year? Not having a built in social life. I didn’t realize how much I relied on those 10-15 minute conversations with other moms when I was picking up kids from preschool, or meeting other moms for a morning at the children’s museum, or having playdates just because we all need to see someone who doesn’t drink out of a sippy cup. I’m an introvert and now it takes so much effort to stay in touch with people even if they only live a few miles away.
To sum it up, here’s what I love and don’t love…
-Having time. Like I said, I’m not interrupted as much so I can write a blog post in 20 minutes instead of half a day!
-Time to myself. I’m a huge introvert and I love having the house to myself. I also do way better at caring for myself (walks, reading my Bible, taking naps) when I’m not caring for kids all day long.
-No childcare needed! I’ve had a ton of appointments this year for health related stuff and it is so awesome to not need to find childcare every time. We also found ourselves going on a lot of “day dates” when it was too wet to harvest or even just going out to lunch - it’s been great to be able to spend time as a couple without worrying about who was going to watch the kids.
-Independence for my youngest. She is such a mama’s girl and always has been. Kindergarten has been so good for her and she is learning that other adults are cool too and that there is more to food than just PB&J.
-Realizing that I’m not a bad mom just because I don’t love spending every minute of every day with my kids; when I have time to recharge and time to get things done, I’m a way better mom.
-Not having much time with my kids. They don’t get off the bus until 4:15-4:25, which makes our evenings seem really short.
-Having to do all family activities on weekends…no more trips to the zoo or Buhler or even just shopping during the week. This is also a big part of why I take on very few weddings each year - if I’m gone all day on Saturday, that really only leaves Sunday with my kids! (I often say I should’ve shot weddings when all my kids were young; I would’ve loved being gone one full day a week!).
-Again, not seeing people as often as I did!
-Not knowing what my kids are up to all the time. I’m pretty far from a helicopter mom, but it seems weird to me that my kids spend 8 hours of the away from me and I really have no idea what goes on in those 8 hours!
Summer vacation starts in 12 days and I am really excited! And will probably be equally as excited in August when school starts again!