It’s back to school shopping time! I picked up a new spiral and some highlighters, pens, and post-its, but these goodies weren’t for my son. Nope, this semester, Momma went back to school.
It’s been an adjustment for all of us. A big one. As a full-time, work-outside-the-home mom already, I didn’t feel like I had a wealth of free time. There are still only 24 hours in a day. Here and there, I’m learning to find pockets of time, moments when my son is occupied, and I’m leaning on my family to support me.
I think my husband was initially caught off guard. When I announced that I was going back to school, I don’t think he really believed me. I don’t think it actually hit home for him until the first bill came in. Even then, I don’t think he really understood what the time commitment would be and what kind of support I might need. I wasn’t even sure what kind of support I would need.
One evening, he put our son in the bath, and I snuck onto the computer to take a quiz while the boys were busy. But, about five minutes into my quiz, my husband walked into the room with the dog and said he was going for a walk.
This had never been a problem before. When he wanted to do something, I had always been available to take over. But, I couldn’t just tag in this time. When I told him I was in the middle of a quiz and needed him to wait, he said, “Sure! No problem,” and sat down at the kitchen table — with the dog still on the leash, shoes still on, earbuds still dangling around his neck – waiting for the 30 more seconds he assumed I needed. Umm . . . that’s not what I meant, dear. But, we’re figuring it out.
My son is an only child, and because of this, he is used to having my (mostly) undivided attention whenever he wants it. But, he is now at an age when he can play independently for a bit, and I’m working through how often I am willing to say, “Not now. Mom’s working.”
As I write this, he is standing inches away asking me if I’ve ever been in a see-through elevator and quoting the Lego Batman movie. The dog is sitting at my feet looking up at me hoping for quick run. I have three windows open on my computer, each with a different assignment or article I’m working through. And, there’s a load of laundry I need to move over to the dryer before it gets stinky. I don’t quite have a handle on things just yet, but, I repeat, we’re figuring it out.
Screen time is my friend, my kid is a trooper, and my husband is a champ.
I don’t want my family to feel like I’m always busy, like I’m not available. But, I do want them to know that I’m important too — that my hopes and dreams matter.
I want my son to see me working towards a goal. I want him to see that I can do hard things — and to know that he can, too. I want him to know that while I love him more than anything in the world and that I would do anything for him, I want to do things for myself, too. I want him to see that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. I want to model for him that we are each responsible for our own happiness. I cannot blame him or his father if there is something I want for myself but don’t have. I cannot blame my boss if my job isn’t all that I want it to be. I can decide what I want, and I can go get it.
And, do you know what? You can, too.