Truth be told, I thought starting school would be harder for him and easier for me. Who was I kidding? When people ask me how he’s getting on, I answer “just fine”. I tell them how he loves going in every day and how brilliantly he’s taking to it and I almost want to add “but I’m not”.
After years of having him around pretty much most of the time and finding snippets of me time whenever possible, I simply feel lost with so much time on my hands. I’m floundering a little. All of a sudden I can think about me and what I might like to do. While I’m not complaining, it is taking some getting used to.
On the first day, I got home from taking J into school and suddenly realised that I had a whole six hours stretched ahead of me. Whereas before, when he was in preschool I would have been lucky to snatch two and a half, and that would almost always be taken up with housework, now I hadn’t a clue what to do.
On the second day, I planned a little more. I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I shopped for hours and bought things just for me. Clothes. Jewellery. Makeup. Lunch. and still with time to spare. It felt wonderful. I was invited on a weekday night out to Liverpool and for once was able to accept. I danced until my feet hurt. Then I took my heels off and danced some more. I danced until the lights came on because I knew I could sleep a good six hour sleep the next day while he was in school.
While I don’t plan dancing all night and shopping all day to be a regular occurrence, it has been nice to find myself again, to do things which I like to do without feeling guilty. Its been two weeks now. I’m using this time productively while I have it. There’s still a lot of work to do on the house and garden, but I also have time for hobbies. Hell, if I feel like taking a long soak in the bath, why not? I’ve started a jobsearch too.
I’ve been very lucky to have felt like I had a choice when it comes to working, as I know many mothers don’t and for the past year and a half, after several periods of working and paying for childcare, I have chosen to have time off to stay at home with my son and to see him through preschool, with just one day a week set aside for college for me. Im glad I did it, because I will never get that time with him back. Now he is starting school, I can have a professional life without the guilt, without the compromise.
It’s good to step back and think about what I want from my life and start to make some plans for me now that mothering doesn’t take up so much of my time. I miss him when he is in school, but that’s ok. I trust he is in good hands and I am proud of his independence. It’s a difficult stage, but then aren’t they all.