The back-to-school parent conspiracy and the glories of a “Princess Year”
On Wednesday, I posted the following status update on my personal Facebook page:
It’s my son’s first day of first grade and my first day of both kids in full-day school. Worked, hiked, baked, started a new project and napped. Why didn’t anyone tell me how FREAKIN’ AWESOME it is? #ParentConspiracy
I got 32 “likes” and 18 comments, mostly along the lines of “I’m so jealous” or others like my friend Cheryl who posted: “13 days for me. But who’s counting?”
She deservedly is. She has all six kids in school for the first time.
I consider myself fortunate to work from home while raising my family but it’s meant a lot of early mornings and late nights so I can be present for my kids. Most moms are master jugglers and I’ve had my share of dropped balls. But what surprises me the most are people’s expectations. “Are you going to get a job now?” “What on earth are you going to do to stay busy?”
Somehow people have forgotten that motherhood and managing a household are full-time jobs.
Last year, my friend Tina bucked the naysayers and enjoyed herself. “I’m calling it my ‘Princess Year’” she said when her kids went to school. And she spent her time volunteering, getting pampered and playing. After so many years as a hands-on, stay-at-home mom, I say good for her to have some time to herself. I only wish working moms had that same luxury when their kids are in school.
With 6.5 hours to fill every day, I have constructed a mental list of all the tasks I want to accomplish while juggling volunteer classroom responsibilities and work. After dropping off my son on his first day of school, I hiked North Table and ran into a herd of deer. In years past, I’d keep hiking but that day, I stopped for a while, marveled and rejoiced, “I NOW HAVE TIME TO STOP AND WATCH THE DEER!”
Can you say waaaaay overzealous?
On my way home, I drove past a school giving away free items and scored a decrepit table and oak file cabinet. I spent the next three days sanding and painting them for my son’s room (which I completely made over),
gutting out our disaster-zone-of-a-garage and sold outgrown sporting goods on Craigslist,
baked an apple pie and these oven-dried Jell-O apple chips,
mowed the lawn, cranked out some freelance assignments, bought a new mountain bike from REI, went on a lunchtime biking date with my husband, and (get this) even napped.
I have been like a daytime empty-nest mom with ADHD.
But I didn’t want to set the bar too high. While boasting about everything I’ve accomplished to my overworked husband, I warned:
“Don’t get used to this frenetic pace.”
“Oh? Why not?”
“I’m just getting everything out of the way at once so I can play.”
And what a Princess Year it’s going to be.