Earlier this week as I checked to see if it was time to pick Olivia up from school, it hit me: When school starts in the fall she will go until 2:10, and this stay-at-home Grammy will have my entire morning free. Every day, not just my Wednesday each month when I run away to Fresno for the day, but every Monday through Friday. There will be a first grader and a fifth grader in our house, and my schedule will undergo a drastic change.
Now for many women this is commonplace, but it has never happened to me before. As a mom with a job outside the home, I went back to work full-time when my daughter was five and a half weeks old. She was in day care until she started school, and in after-school day care after that (I have shared before how my decision to continue working after her birth is one of my very few regrets in life). So I didn’t experience this lengthening of my “free time” as she grew older.
I am kind of panicky about it. How will life’s expectations of me change, now that I have the entire morning to myself? More importantly, how will my own expectations of me change? Will I rush to “over-schedule” those empty hours (I tend to do that), or will I simply enjoy the peace and quiet? Will this be the time that I finally find a workable housekeeping routine (don’t hold your breath here)? Or will I grant myself the flexibility and freedom to extend my reading-in-the-garden time, or set up a permanent creating space in my bedroom?
Right now I am enjoying my early morning walks by the river after dropping the girls off at school. And I love that moment each day when I ask Olivia how her day went, and she answers with some variation on, “Awesome!”
I guess that time will simply come later each day. To be continued in the fall…