As back to school time approaches, I often hear parents saying how they just can’t wait for their kids to go back to school. I, myself, have never felt that way. I think much of that has to do with the fact that I have been a stay at home parent for most of my parenting years. I happen to really miss my children when they go off to school.
I can see how if you are a working parent (as in working outside of the home, since we all work as parents!), I can understand how “back to school” time might alleviate a little stress because you don’t have the same childcare issues as you have to deal with during the summer months. And, if you are used to working during the hours your child would be at school anyway, it doesn’t really make a lot of difference as to whether they are at home or in school.
But, for the stay at home parent, it presents a huge change in our routine. When you are used to having this little person, or people, around all the time, taking them with you everywhere you go, it can create quite a void in your life. I always found the first year to be the toughest. When my oldest son left for Kindergarten, I missed him very much, but yet I had his younger siblings at home to occupy me, so I was still always busy with my kids. Then, after having four sons close together, when the last one left for Kindergarten, I really felt alone, so at that point, I decided to take on a part-time job during the school hours.
A few years later, I remarried and had my daughter who is now 7. So yet again, I am a stay at home mother. When she left for school, it was really hard for me, I think in part because I know she is the last child I will be having (unless I get a huge surprise!). Here I was, left at home, by myself, not even remembering what life was like without having a child around all day. So, knowing this is part of growing up, and inevitable at that, I had to figure out ways to use my newfound time.
Believe me, those first few days are rough, but it does get better! I took advantage of the time to get all of my housework and chores done, and errands ran. Did some organizing and de-cluttering and got caught up on the laundry. If you get all the work out of the way while the kids are gone, you’ll have more time with them when they get home. Then I found some relaxing ways to spend my time while she was at school, after all of the must-do items are finished. Catch up on your favorite television programs, read a book, take a nap, catch up on emails and get back in touch with old friends. Also, this is a great time to call or visit family. Keeping busy in a positive way can really help you adjust quickly to the new changes in your life.
Pretty soon, you will find yourself adjusted to your children being back in school, and there will plenty of days off and school breaks for you to take advantage of, to go do something special with your kids. As the schools re-open their doors in a few weeks yet again, I’m sure I will go through my yearly little bout of the “back to school blues,” but I know I will adjust quickly, and that everything will be just fine. It’s all a matter of getting readjusted again. A bit like changing with the seasons.