Is it just me, or have the last couple of days been especially wonderful?
That's right; it's back to school time. MCPS students headed back to class on Monday, and parents across the county breathed a sigh of relief.
My husband and I were out with our kids on Sunday night. We were getting into our car in a parking lot, and the woman getting out of the car next to ours had a bunch of kids and a huge smile on her face. She saw the joy on our faces as well, and we spent about a minute high fiving about school starting on Monday.
The joy in the air was palpable last weekend.
It's not that I don't love spending time with my kids. I do. I really do. It is just that we have had a lot of togetherness over the past couple of months. We could all use time away from each other.
My kids will use that time to learn and have fun with their peers and probably some other stuff. I'm not really sure. I figure the teachers will take care of that. I am going to use the time for so many good things. Here are my top ten activities to do with all of my new-found free time:
1. Not look for a job. I know I'm supposed to do this, but I can't quite imagine what employer will hire me after a decade-long work hiatus and pay me enough money to make after-school childcare financially feasible. This year, my third with all of my children in full-time school, I might not even feel guilty about it.
2. Run for the hills. Don't worry. I'll come back. I've been running for fitness for the past few months. I'm going to use this school year to really ramp it up.
3. Watch TV. I know I'm supposed to pretend that I'm too sophisticated to like television, but I can't. I love TV. Finally I will have time to catch up on all of my DVR'd television. Maybe I'll make a dent in my Netflix queue as well.
4. Write a book. Sure, I want to use my time to read other people's books, but this might be the year that I really start writing that book that's been rattling around in my head for years.
5. Declutter my house. I like to purge old toys, clothes, and books from my house, but it can be hard to do that when your kids are hanging around the house 24 hours a day. With them in school, I will be able to not only decide what to get rid of, but find a way to sell it or give it away without my kids finding it and putting it back in their rooms. I swear, some things I have tried to declutter three or four times and we still have it.
6. Dread homework. As lovely as school is, it brings some negativity with it. Homework time is a tough couple of hours at my house. I think I will use some of my alone time during the day to prepare calming thoughts so we can get through it as an intact family.
7. Be a lady who lunches. Yes, it feels decadent to be a stay at home mom sometimes, but I work very hard for my kids. With my kids' special needs and various activities, my family's choice to have me stay at home is the necessary one for us. Taking those occasional lunches with my fellow-SAHMs is a lovely reward. And, yes, I know exactly how lucky we are to be able to have this as a choice.
8. Miss my kids. No matter how glad I am that they are back in class and that I haven't been pushed into homeschooling yet, I adore those little munchkins so much. Running errands with a little friend to chat with is more fun than doing it by myself. I mean, yes, it's also a lot harder, but it is far more interesting.
9. But not too much. I mean, they come home at the end of the day, right?
10. Nap. I see a lot of napping in my future.
Jean, a.k.a. Stimey, writes a personal blog at Stimeyland; an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland, at AutMont; and a column called Autism Unexpected in the Washington Times Communities. You can find her on Twitter as @Stimey.