Early this summer I was anticipating a long, kinda boring summer working at home, while my kids battled for my attention. But it didn’t work out that way. I got a full-time job in the middle of the summer and my kids went into summer childcare, euphemistically referred to as summer "camp."
There is no doubt that we have quickly learned about the pros and cons of being a family with two working parents. But I think I am most surprised that it hasn’t been absolutely terrible. Sure I’m tired a lot. And I find that I have to be much more organized, or things fall apart very quickly.
But the real shocker is, after all these years of being with my kids all the time, we seem to be enjoying spending time apart, too.
My husband and I found them a great summer camp, where they get more park, beach, craft and shopping time than I could ever have given them at home. Just last week my husband observed, "You know, they are not really complaining much about you working."
And it’s true. They are busy and happy outside the home, and we are still a family.
And as for me, I have to admit, I am enjoying being an adult for long stretches of time. It’s a whole new world out there. Driving to work, even putting up with rush hour, is an opportunity to clear my brain with precious quiet time. I don’t have to listen to Disney Radio or referee fights in the backseat. I can have silence or listen to my music or my audiobooks or even listen to talk radio, with no complaints from the kids.
But it’s a mix of emotions. When I get out of the car and see their empty booster seats, I feel a little sad.
This week my girls and I had opportunities to visit each others’ new worlds. I took them to my new office last weekend. They looked at my desk, my walls, my computer for a moment and were bored. Didn’t seem very exciting to them. How could they understand my enthusiasm for spending time in a place where people have impressive vocabularies, tell risque jokes at lunchtime, and the women do NOT wear crusty old jeans every day?
Then after work on Friday, I visited my daughter’s new world, at their summer camp’s family picnic. They introduced me to their friends, and then quickly disappeared with them, investigating the park’s creek and all the critters living there for the next hour.
They are becoming increasingly independent. And now it’s my turn to restart my own life as well. If my little babies can grow up and be their own people, I guess I can, too.