School starts again for my son on Tuesday, and I could not be happier! Yes, alas, I have turned into one of "those" moms.
Let me explain. Pretty much everyone I am close to have kids. I have heard all these stories over the years, and all these moms of school-age kids talk about how crazy their kids are driving them over the summer and how much they wanted them to go back to school. Or worse in my eyes, on the last day of school, they complain about how much they are going to hate having their child(ren) home for the summer. Having been a SAHM for 7 years, until Seth started school last year, I couldn't imagine my kids NOT being with me, and therefore couldn't imagine hating having him home for the summer. I mean, it was my normal routine. Honestly, I saw the moms who said all this as slightly selfish. Like, God forbid you should actually bond with your child over the summer.
This is compounded by my own childhood experiences. My dad was (still is) a teacher, and therefore was always home with us during the summer. Except my dad is a bit of a "free spirit"; he does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Some days he would spend the day playing with us and taking us here and there, and other days he would spend the entire day out in the field gardening from sun-up til sun-down, and didn't really want to be bothered to the point he had to come in the house and deal with whatever it was we needed. As an adult, I understand it now. It was his time off - HIS time.
As for my mom, she worked relentlessly. She spent a year after I was born, and a year after my brother was born (my sister is sandwiched inbetween us) as a SAHM. And she hated it. My mom didn't like being home with us 24/7. She needed that break, that challenge, the adult interaction. While as a kid I hated how much my mom worked, I now understand it. My conversations day-in and day-out have to do with diaper changes, sibling spats, imaginary scenarios of Seth's that I can't follow, the why's of just about everything.... Now I am the one craving the adult conversations, the challenge, the breaks.
Don't get me wrong though. I wouldn't change being a SAHM, at least while the kids are little, for anything. Growing up, I always envied my friend who lived down the road who's mom was a SAHM. Her mom would dress up with her kids for trick-or-treating, was a room mom every year, video taped all their school activities, planned the most exciting birthday parties, took us to high school football games, out to the movies, to Arctic Circle for kid cones.... She was a "fun" mom. I think still to this day, a part of me puts her on a pedastal as the idealic example of the type of mom I want to be.
I don't want to miss things in my kids' lives. I have worked in daycare centers and witnessed toddlers doing a "first" in front of me and not their own mother. I have seen the kids that have been dropped off at 7AM and picked up at 6PM - the kids that "grow up in daycare" - and I cannot ever imagine doing that. I was made to be a SAHM. I love it and it is, I believe, what I was put on this earth to do.
Buuuut.... I have experienced a sanity-saver in the form of public school. At the end of last school year, I was looking forward to spending the summer with my little buddy day-in and day-out again, and it was fun at first. But as the summer has worn on, there has been more and more friction between him and me. He is lashing out, I am yelling, I am constantly breaking up fights between him and Joy, reminding him, re-reminding him.... I am exhausted by it all. He is clearly sick of being in my presence 24/7, and the feeling is becoming more mutual everyday. We both need that daily break. He needs his friends, to be challenged, and to have the freedom to do things out of my presence; the freedom to just "be 6" without me all up in his business. And I need the freedom to be able to get things done without him underfoot all day.
So yes, I have become one of "those" moms. The ones who loathe the summer because it means 3 whole months with my son day-in and day-out. I love the boy more than words could ever express, I think he (along with his sisters) is the greatest kid in the world. But like everything in life, there IS such thing as too much of a good thing.
Here's to a new school year, and the return of both our sanities!