Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jenny's reflections: when all your kids go to school

And here's more reflections on the year your youngest child goes to school, from Jenny at No Reading at the Breakfast Table. I find myself going back again and again to her post What are you DOING?, about what it's been like adjusting to having no children at home. She says,

Over summer, I had a standard reply to everyone's questions about what I was going to do with ALL my spare time. I said that I planned to sit down, have a cup of tea and just stare at a blank wall for a while. In reality, it feels like three weeks ago I sat down, starting staring at the wall and then couldn't get up again - worn out from a decade (plus) of constant demands! Still haven't tidied up that play room properly yet.
That's exactly how I feel, "worn out from a decade (plus) of constant demands". My feelings are a mixture of exhaustion (and I've still got a year to go in my young-child-rearing marathon!), anticipation (how I long for a few uninterrupted hours a day!), and apprehension (how I will miss having small kids at home!).

There's a kind of hollowness too, as the thing that has defined me and filled every spare moment for so many years - being pregnant and caring for very young children - is coming to an end. Who am I? How does God want me to use the years remaining to me? Will life always be this tiring? Very mid-life-crisisy, I know! But I'm realising that these are common feelings and questions for women during this season of life.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you're at this time of life, with your youngest child soon going to school; or if the transition has happened for you recently, or even a long time ago; or if you're anticipating it in a few years - how do you feel about it? What's your story? What are the issues you've had to deal with?

Enough rambling. More about all that another day (and yes, I do plan to come back to this issue, so please share your reflections with me!). In the meantime, you'll enjoy Jenny's posts:

Two Days, No Kids, Very Weird
Overscheduled Kids or Overscheduled Mum
What are you DOING?
Adjusting to Change (Badly)
PS to Adjusting to Change (Badly)

HT Meredith

image is from Jenny's most excellent blog No Reading at the Breakfast Table


Simone R. said...

When my littlest started school last year, I felt like a great waste of space on God's earth.

It wasn't that I didn't have anything to do. I was as busy as ever - heaps of church stuff, school stuff and I worked a couple of days a week. But when I got home from drop off it was just me and the dog. A bit depressing!

Narelle Nettelbeck said...

I'm heading into the same life stage. My youngest started school this year for 2 days a week and I struggled. Next yr he will be full time. I have however always worked - I run a child care from our home.....It will be a difficult adjustment next yr and I've been asking all the same questions that you are.

cathie heard said...

My youngest of 4 started I was expecting to have loads of spare time
and energy. I was shocked to find nothing seemed any different - I was
still tired and not getting much done.
BUT, without me realising it at first, by about third to fourth term the
effects of having no one at home for six hours started to glimmer
through. I started being able to think clearly, I started being able to
work through lists of jobs, I started to be able to read books and
remember what they said, I started to feel like taking on a bit more at
church. I then started to see my life in two distinct spaces. There was
the school time where I could focus singlemindedly on whatever I chose
to do - housework/ Bible study/ whatever
And then there was from 3pm onwards which became kids, food time,
running around to activities time.
7 years later I am still in this stage and I enjoy having the 2 distinct
parts of my day. I feel I have my time for doing things that the kids
would not enjoy being part of; and then their time, where I can enjoy
them and focus on their world. And now I do have more energy and am a
bit less tired.
(except this year we got a dog - but that's another story)