I’m smack dab in the middle of Elementary Momhood. That means both of my kids are in elementary school, and I am swimming in the middle of the shallow end of the pool where the PTO, School Fundraisers, P/T conferences, and 5th grade graduations abound. I’m attending the award’s assembly and creating a Signup Genius–simultaneously–because I can. I’m over-the-moon happy that my kids’ classes each won a pizza party and even more excited that I only have to provide Capri Suns. Yes, Elementary Momhood is like a fun, busy day at the pool.
Now, don’t get me wrong, being in this stage of life is in no way easy. It is actually quite busy and stressful and consuming. Depending on how many clubs you sign up to help or fundraisers you are running, one can easily become overwhelmed with elementary momhood. In one week alone, I am rushing kids to 4 different activities, providing snacks, carpooling friends, organizing a staff meeting at work, and planning a class party. And I only have two children. You mommas with more than 2 kids must have organization mastered. I don’t even know what I would do with a 3rd kid–tie him/her to the roof of the MomUV? But I digress…
I’ve actually been in this stage of life for 3 years and what no one told me is this–it is the easiest time of raising children. Babies were so hard. They cried and stayed up all night; you couldn’t reason with a baby for anything! They didn’t understand sarcasm. Rocking and nursing provided warm fuzzies, but I wanted to BE in momhood. I was eager for pedis with my daughters, not cleaning mashed bananas out of my cardigan. Freedom from babydom is just that…FREEDOM! No more carseats, diaper bags, mothers-day-out events, or constant exhaustion. I’ve gained my life and myself back. I’m not the same person who began momhood, but I survived with my marriage in tact and a new enhanced love for my spouse who was a partner in those battle babydom years. We can look at each other and notice the grey hairs, but we also know the scars and the aches that brought us here. Now, I can at least look in the mirror and choose if I want to look like a hot mess or not. So here I am…in elementary momhood…a survivor of babydom! (Insert sigh of relief…and remnant exhaustion).
Elementary Momhood is a new stage, a new lifestyle for our family. We can jump in the car and go on road trips. We can keep the kids out late for a fun Friday night movie release. We can have real conversations and laugh together. We can enjoy each other’s company in a new way. We can get to church on time and not have meltdowns before lunch.
But we also have entered the world of social calendars and after-school activities. So with all of the freedom I gained, I realized I quickly lost it to swimming, golf, basketball, and piano…not to mention the activities my kids attempted and decided after one season they didn’t like anymore–dance, gymnastics, volleyball, softball, soccer, just to name a few. Now add in homework and school projects, and life is now nothing like what I thought it might be…in fact, it reminds me of life when I was a kid. (Insert sigh of resignation…I am now my parents.)
Before you think I’m contradicting myself, don’t forget the main point–elementary momhood is the easiest part of life.
Fast forward another year and do you know the stage I’ll be entering? Middle school, more specifically, secondary momhood. That’s right–I’ll begin the quick race to the finish line–high school graduation. But of course before I get to the finish line, I’ll have to endure the storms of the teen years–puberty, periods, boys, girls, breakups, fights, parties, grades, tests, and that’s just 6th and 7th grade. I am former high school teacher…I am well aware of what is to come those last two years of school, and if I’m being honest with myself as a parent, I’m so ill-prepared. If I survive those years with all of my hair (no matter the color) and my husband still talking to me, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
So yes, I know exactly where I am right now. I know that this stage comes with stress and busyness and overwhelming exhaustion and more stress, but it is the time of life as a parent that I was waiting for. The fun chats about friends, the late night discussions about a certain ethical issue, the excitement of the first day of school, the fun of school projects and the stress of last minute tests to study for. The swim practices in 100% humidity, and the swim meets where she places 2nd. The basketball practice with goofy dads, and the games that are lost by 40 points. These are the days I cherish. They come and go so fast that I’m actually afraid for the first time in my life that I will miss them and wish for them back. I want to bottle up each day and moment and hold on to it, but I don’t have time for that. I have to drive one kid to golf and another to swim…on opposite sides of town…at the same time.
I wish you joy and contentment in the middle of elementary momhood.