Child-free From Nine ‘Til Three
It’s been a week now.
I’ve had a whole week of dropping all four children off at the school gates in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. That’s at least 6 hours of my own company five days a week.
The kids have to be in school by 9am but I usually have them out the door at 8:20, so we can be at the gate when it opens at 8:30. This means I can leave them in the supervised playground and add a whole extra half hour to my child-free day.
I do have to remember to be out of the house at 3pm to get to school in time for my first pick up. Theoretically, I should be able to stroll around the back of the school, picking them up as they are released at 3:05, 3:10 and then 3 :20. In reality, I stand back and watch for which First School door opens first, then dash red faced through the crowds to get to the other one. I hate the thought of either of my little ones being ‘that kid’, standing and waiting for their parents to show up. It’s not such a big deal for the older two, as they just come and find me if I’m not in their playground.
So how do I feel about having no little one at home? In all honesty, I feel relieved. I know some of you out there will be gasping with horror and thinking I must be an awful person, but I’ve had almost 11 years of having a child underfoot. I’m not horrible; I’m just tired. Yes, all my children went to nursery and childminders before they started school so I could have some time to get on with stuff, but I always felt like I should have been earning something during that time.
I tell you right now, there is nothing, no NOTHING, like the feeling of having all your children in full time, free education. Maybe people feel differently if they have kids in private school, I don’t know. But the relief that my child free time is no longer costing the family anything is a huge relief to me.
This last week I have felt happier, more active and more motivated than I have in a long time. Not that you’d know that after this morning’s performance, where I went a bit mental at the kids after one of them spilt an entire glass of ribena over her sister’s only clean pair of trousers and then lost it with my husband because he failed to put the dishwasher on last night. Just because I suddenly have a big chunk of the day ‘ free’, I don’t think I should have to suddenly be everyone else’s skivvy.
So what am I going to do with myself? That’s the big question, isn’t it? I’ve noticed a lot of my friends who were stay at home mums, went into paid employment shortly after their youngest started school. If something came along and fell in my lap, I can’t say I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t feel inclined to go looking just yet. I’m quite antisocial and I love my own company.
For now, I’m happy to lounge around the house, blogging, walking dogs, cleaning the kitchen, chatting with my friends online, doing a bit of vet work, agonising over school choices, sorting washing, preparing meals, writing, making sure everything is ready for the kids’ various activities and ensuring the puppy doesn’t eat anything its not meant to.
Right now, I’m just thrilled to get some guilt-free time to myself at last.