We hear about empty nesters – parents whose children have left home for college – but we don’t often hear about the strange empty space left behind when you suddenly have all your children in school.
I am far from an empty nester, of course. My oldest child is still only six years old, but last week marked a milestone in my motherhood journey. For the first time since early 2014, I suddenly have a few days a week where all four of my children are in school and I don’t have at least one child home with me full-time.
Not an empty nester, for sure, but all of a sudden, entire blocks of time just opened up to me that haven’t existed in nearly seven years and I’m left with a mix of emotions.
I’m happy for my children and for the wonderful experiences that they’re having in school. I’m excited to be available to them to drive them to all of their various after-school activities and to be able to volunteer for the PTA. I love hearing the things that they’re learning and the other kids they’re meeting. I am delighted to watch my sweet babies becoming even sweeter as they get older and begin to discover the hobbies and passions that speak to their souls.
I’m happy for me too. I’m happy that I have entire swaths of time to train, run errands, work on business items, or simply sit down and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee while it’s still hot.
I’m also sad for myself. My babies have an entire outside world that is exciting, fun, and sometimes not so nice. I find that I miss my kids tremendously when they’re at school even though it’s only for a few hours.
It’s also strangely discombobulating to enter this new stage of motherhood. I left my high-powered full-time job when I had my second child and I recently sold my small business, so as I enter this new stage of life, I am adjusting to also not working 40+ hours a week for the first time in my entire adulthood.
What color is my mommy parachute now?
I don’t have the answers yet – this is a time of intense reflection and transition – but the possibilities seem limitless to finally, for the first time perhaps ever, consider what I really want to do.