Wednesday, September 02, 2009

On the Eve of Something New.

Dated: Wednesday, September 2nd.

Tomorrow, the kids both head back to school. Full-time! We're all very excited about it. We, in the global sense, meaning mostly me.

In an effort to get our act together, I've vowed to do as much legwork the night before, so the mornings will run smoothly. To the extent I can, I'll pack their lunchboxes (am snack, lunch, and pm snack, plus beverages!! I swear, the kids spend the bulk of the day eating.) Can we say childhood obesity, anyone?

I also want to start laying out their clothes the night before. Hoping to get their input on the matter, and thus avoid day-of arguments about "what to wear," I asked them for feedback today.

me: Let's pick out what we want to wear tomorrow! Tomorrow you go back to school!!

Miss Mina didn't hesitate for a minute. She picked out her ensemble from head to toe. Dress, shoes, socks, accessories. In all fairness, she's been dying to wear this dress since she received it as a birthday gift in July. Thanks Gabby!

Then, I asked Jordan.

His initial reaction.

Followed by some of this:

I picked something out myself; but I have a feeling he'll have an opinion tomorrow.

Indeed, new things are coming our way this month. While the kids head back to school, I'll be going back to work full-time. This development began to unfold at the end of July when my former boss contacted me to discuss a job opening. Much dialogue later, I accepted. I've been reluctant to talk about it too much, yet, since I didn't want to dooce myself before I even got hired. But today, we confirmed a start date.

I'm super excited. Nervous too, but overall - excited. I think it's time.

And I'm glad I have a couple more weeks before I have to start laying out my work clothes the night before. Unfortunately, since my wardrobe consists mostly of t-shirts, hoodies, shorts and capri pants, I think some shopping is in order. (yay!)

But mostly I'm glad I get to enjoy a little more time with the kids without the struggle of trying to do everything all at once all the time. I always wondered how moms who worked outside the home managed it all; and now I get to find out.

I don't regret a minute of the almost five years I had at home. Jordan's birth story notwithstanding, I always wanted to spend time at home with my kids when they were little. I've been lucky we were able to do it; and lucky that Jeff's been so encouraging about the decision. He recognized, even more than me, how hard a job it was in its own right, and how little credit you get for it, and how the gratification of raising good kids is a delayed one.

They don't tell you what a great job you're doing so much. That - I hope - will come with time. I hope one day they'll realize we(I) tried as hard as I could to be a good mom.

But now, on the eve of something new, I wonder. I feel right about the decision; and good about making it. I feel comfortable that the kids love school, and I hope that the nanny we hired for afterschool will be a good one. But, of course I'm still going to worry.

I can't help it.

For four and a half years I've invested every ounce of myself in being a mom. In some ways I feel like I treated this experience the way I would any hard-earned job. I worked at it constantly. I read books about parenting, I analyzed different approaches to problems, I worked at keeping the kids busy and engaged. I talked to every mom I could about situations that bothered me. I sweated every decision there was - from breastfeeding, to nutrition, to sleep schedules, to potty training, to the right preschools, to what books they should be reading, to the right kind of lotion to put on their skin. All of it.

It was a job. A beloved one; but a round-the-clock one. It is also one that's worth every sacrificed paycheck and more. But it comes with its share of angst. Many a night, I struggled with whether I had done the right things that day. No one is there to give you that seal of approval or employee of the month award. You don't get a bonus. In fact, an awful lot of people tend to dismiss you out of hand when they realize what you do.

So, some nights when I was feeling sorry for myself, I had to pause and remind myself how lucky I was that Jordan was even around, given his dramatic entrance into the world. That quieted my inner voices right away. Then I could shut up, say a prayer of thanks, and go to sleep.

Some of responsibilities are going to be out of my hands for awhile. Much of the day they'll be in school. Some of the day they'll be in after-school structured activities. Some of the day they will be with a child care provider who is not me.

I think they can handle it.

I'll let you know how I do.

Post-Script: Thursday, September 3rd.

We got off to a great start today.


Nametag identifications...

Good hygiene..

But something odd happened to Miss Mina on the way to independence. She suddenly decided she wanted to go home. Realizing that wasn't going to work with us (the benefits of having gone through this already - we're heartless and immune to tears), she switched tactics.

She then decided she wanted to see Jordan off at his classroom upstairs; and then she'd go to class.

It's amazing how creative she can be when she wants. We dropped Jordan off in the "big kids" class all the way upstairs. He didn't look back once. He grabbed a truck and started playing. As I walked out, I heard his teacher say, "Jordan, the first thing we do in the morning, after we wash our hands, is practice our journal writing."

Expecting open defiance on his part (a new truck!!), I giggled.

Suddenly, I heard Jordan's voice:

"Miss Amy, where do you keep the journals?"

Shock and awe.
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