Not too long ago, I wrote about how everyone, including the kids, could use a break at this point. The summer has not been anything like what we had expected, and I’m afraid the kids will return to school this week and tell everyone that their summer mostly sucked because of it all. By the time this summer break has come to an end, I have even been told that they wished mommy had been at home this summer. They’ll never know how much this crushed me inside, but I can’t say that I really blame them. It really has been (mostly) a bum kind of summer. Save for our beach vacation. But now the summer is over and it’s back to school time once again.
For both the kids and I, it’s been a summer being at home, going outside only when I could muster the strength or I wasn’t feeling sick. We’ve been with each other just about every day since school let out. All day. There are very few times they head out with just mommy, or I head out by myself to go anywhere or do anything. It has driven us all stir crazy. For me, it’s been a double whammy of pinned up stress and the loss of my precious me time. I thrive a lot on routine. And this past summer was anything but. And it’s hard to just follow the flow like that without the structure I had been used to during the school year.
It’s not that I really go out and about when I’m home by myself, but it really becomes a value at times to have the hours during the days that I am here, uninterrupted, and can do everything I plan for the day. From chores, to writing, to catching some much needed rest or just watching a movie or 2. Of course, the other side of this is that without much companionship around, or places to go and hangout, it can be completely, miserably lonely. But I guess you have to take the bad with the good and the other way around. So beginning this week, I get back my solitude, and a little bit of myself. A little bit of quiet amid hectic days, and a lot of structure that my life thrives on.
I think a lot of people underestimate how important it is to have time for yourself. Especially if you are a parent, and two fold if you are like me, and home the majority of your days. There is no doubt that I love my kids. Tremendously, unashamedly, and without constraint. I love to hear them laugh, watch them dance, and watch how their imaginations take them to unbelievable places. Though it should also go without saying that I can’t stand their petty whining, the sibling fights over absolute nonsense, and the constant having to repeat myself over and over before they stop or start doing certain things. Every parent is like that I believe.
So after summer turned more into stresses than laughs, I was glad to get back my me time. The first day of school rolled around on a Friday. The kids were dropped off, the wife headed off to work, and here I was. Alone in the apartment. Chores getting done, other things getting done, and silence. No screaming, no whining, no anger or agitation. Just me and an uninterrupted day. A return to a normal, steady routine which greatly decreased my daily anxiety and once again I felt in comfort in my own home, on my own terms.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I don’t know what they say about being forced to be together 24/7 all the time. But with the absence of the kids starting back to school, I would expect that we get back to our normal evenings of homework, fun, a few chores, and a lot less stress. They get their time to be away, and though I’m still here, I get my time for myself back. And after the daytime absence, our hearts can be warm in each other’s presence, instead of feeling tugged by never-ending stress.
And that, I believe, is something we could all use at this point.
Happy back to school time and happy me time. Let the normalcy resume.