I was warned that third grade was an adjustment. Much like a glowing pregnant Mama, I thought I understood and knew what I was about to experience. Like that same bleary eyed Mama a few weeks after birth, I am fumbling through, figuring it out and realizing this is a whole new deal.
In our school, third grade is when number grades begin...and homework ramps up significantly...and the school day is 30 minutes longer. Each of my three are playing a musical instrument (K-piano, P- electric guitar & R-cello) and have soccer & running practices. Throw in a midweek church night and the result is that I MISS MY CHILDREN.
I have a lot of time during the day to tend to all sorts of things. Because I am a stay-at-home Mom, I feel crazy pressure to NOT. WASTE. A. MINUTE. I am staying busy with good things. I have guardrails regarding afterschool time, which only seems to add pressure to everything that must happen before 4pm.
Most days, the children and I have a total of 4 hours together--and that includes hectic activities like getting ready for school, baths, bedtime, breakfast, dinner, chores and homework. It's really no time at all. Getting all ourselves and our gear place to place on time and with good attitudes. Doing "best work' at homework time in three separate rooms after a long, tiring day at school. Feeding people. Double checking independent 9 year olds to make sure they really bathed/read/cleaned/brushed...and largely doing so solo... can get a little tense! It's hard to check in on their hearts when I am busy nipping at their heels.
I want to make the most of the time we do have...but it's requiring A LOT of prayer for me to make these stressful times of day count. And as a Mama who theoretically has all day to be ready to receive, I feel extra pressure to be "on." I didn't spend all day at a job outside the home. What's my excuse?
When I blow it, UGH, the guilt.
I have entered into a whole new chapter of parenting--and, frankly, I am a little sad.
I don't want to hear anyone tell me that it only gets worse...because deep in my heart I know that the demands will continue to increase--and social lives will come into play. I'm having a hard enough time with the fact that I already have one in contacts and another in orthodontics. What happened to my babies?
I am reminded of this quote a friend recently shared from "A Bittersweet September Song" by Beverly Beckham:
My children love school. They are growing, thriving and stepping up to the new responsibilities. I know they will be better for this experience...and begrudgingly admit that eventually so will I. But I miss sidewalk chalk, silly dance parties and laid back afternoons of bike riding in the driveway.
I am reminded that THIS IS THE POINT of parenthood...not to keep them reigned in, but to slowly release them to walk/run/fly on their own.
It's just requiring a little adjustment for this Mama.