As a mother you're always looking and waiting for your child's next milestone. Learning to talk, learning to crawl, learning to walk...they're among the biggies. As children get bigger, so do the milestones. Things like getting a driver's license, graduating from high school, graduating from college...they all signify major changes.
While we are mindful of our children's milestones, our milestones as mothers seem to get lost in the background. Whether you're a working mother or a stay-at-home mother, sometimes the big changes in our lives seem to go unnoticed. For many of us, having kids means taking a bit of a backseat.
What happens when you get to ride shotgun again, even for just the short rides? Well, I guess you can say that's kind of what's happening with me these days. My youngest daughter recently started full-day Kindergarten. I was and still am sad to see her go. We were like peas and carrots while her sister was at school. Although she went to pre-school, kindergarten is a whole new game. Her and I had a good thing going, but now that's all changed. For better or for worse, that special time is over. We still have our time, just not like that. Now, for the first time in five years, I have a bit of unprecedented freedom.
It is a new frontier for Mom.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about being able to focus on myself more and not feel guilty. As a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer for five years, a lot of what I did or didn't do revolved around my kids. Honestly, I wouldn't change one second of it. I feel totally blessed to have been able to stay home and witness so many of their milestones first hand. But, there comes a point when your role as a mother shifts. Trust me, my kids still need me, but it's different. They're just not as needy if that makes any sense. They can go off and play together while I work on writing in the other room. They can sit quietly and watch TV or read a book. I don't have to worry about someone choking on a Lego while I try to meet a deadline. We still have our time together, but I can have mine too.
Before you think I'm about to pull a "Thelma & Louise", I'm not. But, I am ready to explore. It's only been a week and in just one week, I've already been able to scope out new writing and job opportunities...ones I wouldn't dare to before because I just didn't have the time to devote. I can carve out a new path for myself which is exciting, liberating, and scary all at the same time. I can try to figure out what's going to work and what isn't right now as we all adapt to these changes. I can think out of the diaper box and it feels wonderful.
Some may say I could and should have done this all along. But, I chose not to. Everyone makes decisions that fit their lives. That was my choice and I'm happy with it. I don't judge you, so hopefully you won't judge me.
Although I feel like a little Davy Crockett these days as I explore new frontiers, I still miss my babies when they're at school. I wonder what they're doing and if they're having a good day. I wonder if they ate their lunch, if they went to the bathroom, and more importantly if they washed their hands. That's why I love seeing their smiling faces when they get home. I love to be able to hear about their days and help them with their homework and just be their Mom. I am even more focused when they get home because I've had "my time". Now this is their time. I don't feel frazzled because I've played ten-thousand rounds of Candy Land or played referee to a million arguments. If you're a stay-at-home mom, I'm sure you can relate!
There is a bit of Zen in this new frontier and it is simply amazing.