1. Have a daily quiet time.
There are very few parenting decisions of which I am proud. I suck at getting my girls to eat a balanced diet. I fret constantly about the damage my moods have done/will do to them. My nightmares are populated by slow-mo replays of the various accidents and spills my kids had as toddlers that could have been prevented if I were omniscient. But BOY HOWDY I am proud of how we've instituted quiet time.
Our daily hour of quiet time was born out of desperation. Z stopped napping as soon as her sister was born and as a sensitive introvert, I need some discrete alone time to count on every day. We decided that as soon as E went down for an afternoon nap, Z would stay in her room for an hour (though we began with a more manageable half hour) while I ran around trying to get all my chores done in relative peace and quiet.
This initial plan did not work, as Z quickly decided that if I didn't need a quiet time, well then neither did she. You see, she had equally important work to do. Scrabble tiles, rubber bands and uncapped pens are not going to get themselves in mom's shoes, now are they? So I reasoned with her, explaining that we ALL need to rest. I will lie down and read. You can sit on your bed and play quietly. We ALL stay in our rooms. WE ALL WIN.
It took a couple of weeks to get it to work smoothly and without tears and by then I had no interest in doing chores during quiet time. When E stopped napping, she quickly transitioned to a quiet time too. We've kept this quiet time every single day with remarkably few exceptions for FIVE YEARS.
That's right, five years of daily quiet time for me. I loved it. I came to crave it. The girls seemed to too. Z especially has benefited from having a quiet time to reset.
But since September when E started full day kindergarten, there has been no quiet time during the week for anyone, any more. RIP quiet time. I guess it's better to have loved and lost.
2. (This is related to #1) READ.
I really miss reading. Without a daily quiet time, I only read for a few minutes before bed and so I take weeks to finish a single book. I miss the delicious pull of falling deeply into a book. I don't feel like I can justify reading for pleasure during the day and so I don't. I'm trying to go to bed a little earlier at night so I can read for a bit longer.
3. Wonder what stay-at-home mothers with all school-aged children "do all day."
The answer: pretty much what they did before their kids were in school all day except without a sidekick (or two). I do most of the housework and have been chipping away at house projects that have languished since we moved here 5 years ago. I volunteer at both girls' schools and at my church. I try to get all my personal needs met (exercising, appointments, social time) so that we can maximize family time on evenings and weekends.
Also: a shit ton of driving kids around. And around. And around. Granted, this year we enrolled our oldest in a private school a half hour away from home so there is more driving than normal but STILL. So many carpools. I'm expecting the multitude of Cheddar Bunnies on the floor of my car to start reproducing any day now.
4. Walk down the baby aisle at the grocery store.
I wound up walking down the baby aisle by mistake the other day and it felt strangely foreign. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I roamed these aisles like a dazed junkie in my favorite alley looking for my next perfect fix. Maybe this will be the bottle that will stop all spit-ups forever!
But that aisle no longer belongs to me. I don't miss it, really. But I'm surprised at just how unfamiliar it seemed.
I haven't written on this blog in over 6 months. What happened? I don't really know, though it's likely a combination of several factors.
My kids are older. They deserve some online privacy. I have many thoughts and feelings about their struggles, and my struggles parenting them, but I don't know how to share them without it being invasive and unfair. Maybe I'll find a way. Or maybe I just won't write about them anymore.
I'm happier. Writing is often a strong drive for me when I am sad, lonely and looking for clarity. I can always use more clarity but my new-found contentment means I rarely need to type away my frustrations.
I'm strangely busier than ever before. I feel like I should have more free time with both kids in school but instead I'm constantly on the go and rarely at home. I used to spend all day every day at home with one or both of my kids and so would blog in fits and starts whenever they would play quietly for a few minutes. This is not the case any more. I miss it. I miss being a stay-at-home mom who actually STAYS AT HOME.
This may be the last post on this blog. Or maybe it will be the beginning of writing a bit more. Only time will tell.