When you're a stay-at-home mom people pretty much know you spend a lot of time with your kids. If you stay home when they're babies there are a lot of diaper changes, feedings and sleepless nights. If you stay home when they're a little older there's more play time and child rearing going on.
As they get older they start making little friends and having play dates. As they enter pre-school and other programs, you may step back a bit and let other people do some of the work. But, what happens when all of your children are in school full-time? If you're like me you start hearing the question every stay-at-home mom hates to hear.
"What are you going to do now?"
In just a few months, my youngest will be off to full-time Kindergarten. As a result both of my kids will be in school full time. It must mean I can now run off to a tropical island. Maybe it means that she and her sister will get to school by themselves, make their own food, and find rides to afterschool activities. It must mean my mothering role will become obsolete because everyone keeps asking me what I'm going to do. It's not like they're going off to college. It's elementary school.
The mothering responsibilities will still be there come September. They're just going to shift a bit. I'll shift along with them. That doesn't necessarily mean I have a power point presentation about my future all cued up and ready to go. Does anybody?
Being a SAHM doesn't mean your kids are your only interest. It only means that you made a choice that worked for you and your family. You made a tough decision and you probably made a lot of sacrifices. It would be like assuming all working mothers are only interested in their jobs. Working moms also made a choice that was best for them and their families. Many also made a tough decision and made sacrifices of their own. Yet, I don't hear working moms being asked what they're going to do with themselves once all their kids are in school full-time.
Many SAHMs had successful careers they decided to put on hold before making the leap. Maybe it's time to go back? Others have developed new interests...interests don't involve diapers and rattles. Maybe it's time to give those some attention? Sometimes it feels as though people can't imagine what you could want to do with yourself when your role as a SAHM isn't the main event anymore.
So, when people ask what I'm going to do now (or when September rolls around) I answer back with a simple "I don't know. I'll figure it out."
Why? Because I don't and I will.
Quite frankly I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Do you?
There's something exciting, yet scary, when you know your life is about to take a huge right turn. Sometimes it's better when that shift is unexpected. Knowing change is on the horizon can be intimidating. It doesn't help when everyone wants to know how you're going to deal with it all. But sometimes not having a plan is the best plan of all.