Free Bird

Both of my kids went back to school last Monday. My job at the school doesn’t start for a few weeks yet, so I have some free time on my hands. There is still the school drop-off/pick-up for my 12-year old and everyone still expects to eat dinner for some reason. But other than that, free time.

Since my kids aren’t little anymore, I do actually get some time alone during the summer. I’m just usually the taxi driver/short-order cook/driving instructor/problem solver/nagger/cruise director and feel like I’m “on duty” 24/7 when they aren’t in school.

During the school year, I know where they are from 8am -2:30pm. It’s kind of like they’re in jail, with no possibility of parole until 2:30 or a vomiting episode, whichever comes first.

As our summer starts to wane, there is always much anticipation of my upcoming free time; so many possibilities. Mani-pedi?? Massage? Meet friends for coffee/lunch/walking/shopping? Lie around the house and do nothing? Write my novel/exercise/knit/crochet/start a money-laundering scheme/walk the dog/scrapbook?

Let’s just say I’m not crafty, so several of those ideas do.not.apply.

But the possibilities are endless.

Monday morning came and the kids went off to suffer through enjoy their first day of their new school year.

I hit the ground running….I was on fire! Drop off daughter, make menu list for the week, shop for groceries at two stores, unload groceries, play with the dog, blog, tidy up family room, make some lunch.

It was only 11am. And then I was stumped.

My problem is that I don’t know how to relax. Deciding what to do is not easy for me, especially when there are so many options.

When I’m stumped on what to do, my mommy-auto-pilot takes over and I start randomly throwing in loads of laundry or tidying something up. Which is never really done, so it’s always an option when bored.

But it’s boring.

As the week moved on, I found something to do for myself each day. I went jogging, trying to find the legs I once had; learned to Tweet thanks to encouragement from my blog buddy Liz; finally linked up to Mama Kat’s writing workshop; I chatted with a far-away friend.

By Friday, I was bored.

And out of the blue, boss-lady called to see if there was ANY chance I could work just a few hours before I’m hired back for good? Just set up the classroom, start getting referrals for at-risk kids from the teachers. She says there are SO many kids that need me this year.

My first thought? Crap. My summer is over.

But after I hung up, I had a different thought. Maybe I finally found what I was looking for all week long.

I think I just need to be needed. Just a bit.


  1. Sarah Garb says:

    I definitely had some rather excited parents this morning dropping the kids off for our first day of third grade. Now I know that they probably all had just as big plans for the day as we did!

  2. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:

    I'm going to need to find a way to relax myself once this kindergarten thing gets going. Now I turn on a movie and take a half nap. One might still find me dozing to tinkerbell's lost treasure when she's in school.

    That's okay right?

    Enjoy your lost freedom/newfound structure!

  3. That's gonna be me in a few years. Ok, a lot of years. But still. It's gonna be hard. I think when you are used to being needed constantly, it's gotta be hard to be so free! I hope you enjoy relaxing at least a little!

  4. This sounds so familiar. Very entertaining read, though. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed hopping over. Your blog is great! Looking forward to reading more and getting to know you through Twitter as well!

  5. I think I would nap. Then again, my kids are still younger.

    Btw, I LOVE the tagline on your button!

  6. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    Good Luck getting back into the swing of things at work. I always wonder too what I would do with free time…I have all these big plans I just don't know when I'll get some! Enjoy your last few days…go get that mani/pedi and massage πŸ™‚

  7. I think that's what I need, to be needed. Settling into a routine is the worst! And all I do is clock watch! You can only buy so many groceries and I'm not the biggest shopper in the world, so days seem kinda longish!
    Good luck with your job! Sounds like just the thing! πŸ™‚

  8. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    Funny…you're the second blog I've read today that talked about this quiet in the home…

    And I was a full-time working mom until just a few months ago.

    Now I have this alone time in the morning before I go into work, and it flies by before I can even blink!

    But my kids are older too, and I totally get the taxi feeling.

    The oldest FINALLY has his driver's license. (He's 18, what was he waiting for?) And it's so odd now to think we can just send him on his merry way…

    But…we do!

    And I highly recommend learning how to relax. As soon as I figure it out I will give you some pointers!

  9. Booyah's Momma says:

    Interesting. I just read another post that had a similar experience with her kids going back to school, but a different perspective. I always thought I would jump up and down for joy when my kids went off to school; this throws a different light on things.

    But isn't it amazing how much you can get done before 11 am all by yourself? I have occasional mornings like that, and it feels fantastic!

  10. An Imperfect Momma says:

    A nap….how sweet that sounds. Glad you found something to do πŸ™‚

  11. I know what you mean! On the rare occasion that hubby takes all three kids out, I don't know what to do with myself! I feel like instead of relaxing I should be doing something!

  12. I say this now, but I'm really quite jealous. I would really like a long hot date with just my laptop. It is nice to be needed though. I'm sure you'll adapt by Christmas break!

  13. YAY for you! ya know, i'm not a person who could sit around without nothing to do, either. i don't get women who say they want to always be a stay at home mom, even when their kids are older and in school all day.

    i LOVE that you hopped on the twitter bandwagon! and given the fact that i'm seeing you on there a lot, you must like it!

    but i do need to ask…how did you sneak "start a money laundering scheme" in there??

  14. Aging Mommy says:

    Oh great post. Yes, it is always nice to be needed but remember, those wonderful kids of yours still need you too, no matter how big they are getting – just means you get time to be needed elsewhere πŸ™‚

  15. Just Another Mom of 2 says:

    What a great post! Since mine are so young, it's easy to say "oh if only they were both in school.." well yeah, then what?? LOL. I look forward to returning to working eventually so I can appreciate your feelings!

  16. This is kind of the flip side of my silence post, today, isn't it? πŸ™‚ Great minds with adult acne sort of think alike. πŸ™‚

  17. Sweet sweet post, dear! being needed is a great feeling! Now, get to work! πŸ˜‰

  18. Same thing for me! I dropped all the kids and then thought, "Now what?" So I did absolutely nothing significant, and loved it! But yes, I'm going to have to find more exciting ways to occupy my time!
    Silence isn't always what it's cracked up to be, huh? πŸ™‚

  19. I love this post, and the description of your motherly role is classic–"I'm just usually the taxi driver/short-order cook/driving instructor/problem solver/nagger/cruise director." For someone who's all those things, I guess you wouldn't be able to live the life of luxery (boredome) for too long πŸ™‚

  20. I can't imagine you "nagging"! πŸ˜‰ I'm wondering if I'm going to feel this way. The kids start tomorrow. But who am I kidding, S-girl only goes to school for 2 1/2 hours. So I guess I'm not totally free! It just feels like it since I'm not the teacher anymore!!

    I love your writing style!!

  21. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:

    I have to admit, your post made me SO JEALOUS. I am not there yet since my kids are still little and if I ever have a moment when no one is crying or tugging on my let or demanding to nurse, I am either doing the dishes or trying to unclog the toilet from the stuffed animals that have been randomly shoved in there. But I do understand what you mean. After living like this for several years, I will have absolutely no idea what to do with myself if I ever get some free time!

  22. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:

    I could use a day of free-time. I have one scheduled for sometime in the year 2027.

  23. Sounds like your possibilities are endless! How dare your family expect to eat! Shame on them!

    I really would LOVE to read a novel written by you. I'd enjoy every second of it!

    Yeah for doing a little running. You know that would make me smile!

  24. Drama queens mum (Kimberly) says:

    That's so hard. I'd love for my daughter to go to pre-school (she won't be going till Fall of next year). I have so many projects to get done. But I wouldn't even know where to begin. At least you had a few days alone.

  25. Polished Portrayal says:

    I think everyone needs to feel needed, but you know what? I think that you're wanted even more than they need you ;o)

  26. Oh how I relate! I am such a busy-body. My husband's biggest complaint about me is that I do. not. know. how. to relax! While I always think it would be dreamy to have blocks of free time to get things done, I think I'd quickly go crazy. I hope that even though your summer is over that it was a fabulous one! Have a great school year!

  27. LMBO about….

    During the school year, I know where they are from 8am -2:30pm. It's kind of like they're in jail, with no possibility of parole until 2:30 or a vomiting episode, whichever comes first.

    That is hilarious!!

  28. Okay I love it so much I'm gonna post it on Facebook! Yep, I'm a dork!!

  29. I am so, so, so needed right now with a 2 y/o and a 5 y/o, but…this day will come for me and I will remember this post, I know!

  30. Free time is overrated. I need to find something to fill my kindergarten time. It's time to move on from being a SAHM.

  31. The redhead says:

    I never thought I'd be the person who couldn't just sit down and relax…but it's happpened. There's just always something to be done. Well, at least in my opinion. The Husband assures me though that I don't need to clean the window sills with Q-tips.

  32. Having a 15 month old, I MISS boredom more than anything. In my world right now, free time is UNDER RATED. I love me some ME time whenever and however I can get it, but I'm sure there will come a day when I want to pull out my hair over nothing to do and toy with the idea of going back to work (gasp!).