Today JB took the day off work and went to the cabin with the boys, leaving me with a blissfully quiet house all day. The timing couldn’t be more perfect and I love when life’s road-bumps just sort of smooth themselves out a little by delivering some zen right when you need it. (Of course, sometimes it works the other way too, but let’s just focus on the positive here.) I took advantage of the solitude — even the dog has been gone at the vet all day for her spay surgery — by cleaning the house and catching up on laundry, and I realize exactly how lame that sounds, but man, it’s so incredibly satisfying to do those things when you can actually enjoy the results for a little while.

In between writing assignments and folding clothes, though, I found myself staring blankly into space a few times. The house was so silent, so utterly devoid of movement and life, and I wondered how things will really be when school starts back up in September. For the first time since I started working from home, both kids will be in school full time, and while I have been greatly looking forward to the exotic experience of getting things done without a cacophonous amount of background noise and distractions, I realize too that it will be an adjustment.

Will I revel in the luxury of having 6-7 hours of freedom each day? Or will I be achingly lonely? Will I take advantage of this new schedule to expand my freelance career or find other rewarding ways to invest my time? Or will I end up feeling invisible, isolated, and more than a little useless?

I suspect the answer will be “All of the above, at one time or another.” I mean, that’s kind of how things go, right? Balancing work and home and parenthood is always a mixed bag, wherever you’re coming from. But it does feel like my options will open up this year. The road can be bumpy sometimes, but who knows where it will lead? Maybe the best places yet are just around the corner.


71 Responses to “Next chapters”

  1. Melissa H on August 13th, 2014 4:16 pm

    so will you use your extra hours to compile and publish/self publish all your parenting poetry from the boys’ younger years? You were always spot on and I’ve been waiting to share a compilation of your stuff with expectant friends. My sister’s first baby is due in January….. No pressure :)

  2. Caitlin on August 13th, 2014 5:40 pm

    Hi there! I really enjoy your blog and have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award!

  3. Cara on August 13th, 2014 6:34 pm

    This is precisely where I am right now. I’m an exhausted and pregnant SAHM to a very extroverted child. I cannot wait for school to start. But… She’s starting Pre-K. Five days of school with a lot less parent participation. Last year I complained that they only had her 12 hours a week and I was generally there for at least 4 of them. I wonder if this year I will revel in the time to get things done, or feel lonely for her.

  4. Carla Hinkle on August 13th, 2014 8:25 pm

    My experience is that at first it seems like an unimaginably large block of time…but pretty soon you fill it up & the day goes by in a flash and before you know it, it’s pickup time. Actually, I find that 6-7 hours a day completely to myself is just about what I need.

  5. Heather on August 14th, 2014 3:36 am

    I’m glad that you’re cautiously optimistic. What this time becomes is up to you.

  6. Sarah on August 14th, 2014 5:27 am

    Last year was my first year with all kids in school all day. I work from home as well, so was looking forward to the extra time. It is true the day goes by really quickly. What I found as an introvert was that the time alone helped me recharge my batteries in a way that I did not even know they needed recharging. By the end of the year, I had more energy and was more clear headed than I had been in years. So while the summer has been nice, and I love my kids, I am once again looking forward to Sept.

  7. Ness on August 14th, 2014 6:06 am

    My advice? Give yourself a schedule. I spend 3-4 hours a day writing, maximum of an hour cleaning (when you only have 60 mins man, you get it done fast) and the other 1-2 hours doing whatever the heck I please. ME TIME. No one has to know what you do, and you sure as heck do not need to feel guilty about it. Embrace your time, work hard, clean fast, and give yourself a break!

  8. June on August 14th, 2014 7:34 am

    Ness’s comment is spot on. I’d further suggest that you create a few to-do lists so that you know what to do ahead of time (I tend to dither “what to do, what to do” when faced with more than 15 min of free time). Mine are sort of broken down by how much time I have available – have 60 min, do X, Y, or Z, but if I have only 30, then I do A, B, or C. I also have items separated by status – the recurring tasks (scoop litter box, laundry) vs the 1-time tasks (fix broken hinge on cabinet door), as well as by fun things that I want to do vs not-so-fun things that I have to do. I know this sounds incredibly nerdy, but I create the lists while I’m distracted at work, so none of my precious free time is wasted trying to make decisions.

    Regarding the quiet, when we moved in 2012, I went back to our house of 8 years to do the final clean up. When the house was sparkling and pristine (even the realtor representing the buyer made a point of commenting on how beautifully I’d cleaned), it was so weirdly stripped of our personalities that I felt like I had to yell all the kids’ names one last time, just to prove to myself that we’d existed. It was so strange to call for them and not hear pounding footsteps follow. I was glad to get back in my car and return to the mashup of hugs and dirt and chaos and laughter.

  9. Ali303 on August 14th, 2014 9:21 am

    The grass is always greener, isn’t it? I’m with you. My 4YO just started school again and I’m…a little lost and a little happy. I love the alone time, but I do miss seeing her face pop around the corner. I’m getting an assload of work done, but picking her up from school and singing her lullabies to sleep at night are my two favorite times of the day.

    Then again, being able to go to the bathroom without having to narrate what I’m doing through the door is kind of priceless.

  10. mary on August 14th, 2014 9:49 am

    Don’t overlooked how NOT alone you’ll be with that sweet doggie with you all day :)

  11. dorrie on August 14th, 2014 9:59 am

    Love it, so true. And there is no answer. Just real life, dreary sometimes, magical sometimes, sometimes transcendant. They need to do their work and you need to do yours.

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  14. Shawna on August 18th, 2014 10:08 am

    I have no wisdom to impart as I’ve never really worked from home for more than a sporadic day, but just wanted to say that I’ve been gone for a month (staycation – just hanging with the kids at home mostly) and I feel like I hit the jackpot of Sundry bounty to find all these entries waiting for me upon my return!

  15. Katie on August 22nd, 2014 6:51 am

    SAME BOAT. For the FIRST time this fall both kids will be in full time school. First time I’ve had a REAL break in 8.5 years of parenting (as a full time parent). I have been fantasizing about it NONSTOP for about 12 months. Counting down. Cannot WAIT. All the other moms have been saying they are dreading their youngest going off to Kinder and I just laugh at them because I AM SO FREAKING READY. So last night we went to back to school night to see his classroom, etc. And I actually cried. So. I guess you’re right. Mixed bag. It isn’t just all jumping, gleeful Mommy. It’s also sentimental and nostalgic and end of an era and all that. But, as another commenter said. As an introvert, I think I am finally FINALLY going to feel normal again this year.

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