Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to Reality

This is it. Summer is officially over.

Despite the fact that it's only mid-August. Despite the fact that the temperatures will hover in the mid-90s all week long.

Today, the kids went back to school.

For a lot of moms, this is cause for celebration. It seems to appear a lot in editorial cartoons this time of year, the circle of soccer moms chillin' over coffee and thrillin' over the fact that their brethren have been dispatched, once more, to the hallowed halls of knowledge. Away from them. For eight hours a day. Yippee!

I, however, am not one of those moms.

Perhaps it's because I've worked outside the home for most of my kids lives. The summer has always been a chance to spend more time with them just having fun, rather than nagging over homework and trashed rooms while rushing to (pick one, or mix and match: cook dinner, throw in some laundry, feed the pets, vacuum the living room, mow the lawn) before dark.

Perhaps it's because we've moved them a couple of times, and this is one of the years where they're both starting over. New town, new school, new kid on the block. I did that a bunch growing up, and I know what it feels like. It's tough. Especially in middle school, where my seventh grade daughter is right now, having to make the traumatic switch to middle school all over again after starting in Florida last year.

Perhaps it's because I just like them so darn much, that I actually miss them when they're gone.

This year there's something else, too: back to school for the kids means that it's now time for me to really figure out what I'm doing here. We're settled in from the move. The house is set. The kids are feeling at home. We have a routine. So now what?

Am I going to be able to get more writing jobs? Am I going to have to break down and substitute a whole lot more than I originally wanted to? Am I going to make the leap and go back to school for my Master's?

And am I ever going to get this dag-nabbin' house clean?

On the one hand, this is the first "first day of school" in years that I've been able to just concentrate on getting my kids ready and not worry about getting myself ready to go to work as well. What a relief. On the other hand, I don't really have a job, so it's time for an existential crisis (and perhaps a financial one as well).

So this is my plan: Take a deep breath. Have some coffee. Make that phone call interview for an article I actually do have an assignment for. And see what happens next.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I feel the same way about my kids going back to school. This is the first fall in thirteen years I haven't returned to my teaching job.

I have loved being available to my sons' needs as they go back to school, and they're 14 and 17. I'm enjoying this time, in their lives as well as mine.

Sometimes my self-confidence lags, but then I go back to one of my books, like The Courage to Write.

Good luck, and enjoy!