With school now in full swing, we are finding ourselves settling into a new routine. Today is the first day I did not follow the school bus to the school! I could not help myself! I think I finally feel comfortable that Muffy knows where he's going and can make his way around. It's a nerve wracking time for parents. The kids are the ones who seem to take it all in stride!
This empty nest of mine is taking some getting used to. On one hand, I'm finding my time very pleasant and productive. On the other hand, I have pangs of loneliness and the overwhelming feeling that my life is going by WAY TOO FAST! I'm no longer a mother of babies and wee ones, but that of school-aged children. I was at the library the other day and saw all the parents with their tots and I found myself teary-eyed and choked up. No more mid-morning skates, no more library dates, no more grocery cart companions......it's hard on the heart.
I've been busy finding my own new rhythm, making lists of priorities. I'm trying to make sure I fit in a bit of fun and creativity for myself between all the cooking, cleaning and errands. I'm finding that keeping myself and the house organized allows me to really focus on the children when they hop off the school bus. My goal is to clear my schedule and devote those afternoon hours to them. This means cooking supper in the morning and simply having to re-heat it at dinner time and throw together a salad or veggie plate. It also means I'm putting a bit more thought, effort and planning into our after school hours.
I'm so fortunate to be home with them in those afternoon hours. I want to make the most of our time together. I have intentionally left our schedule very relaxed and free, with just one activity during the week - swimming lessons. That leaves four days without plans. Monday is actually our CSA food box pick up day. The pick up takes a mere 5 minutes, but it is a drive from out home. I've decided to pick up the kids from school on that day and do something fun while we wait for the pick up time. This fun activity will vary from week to week. This week it was a walk on the boardwalk and beach, topped off with an ice cream. It could be a trip to the playground, a trip to a coffee shop...etc. I've committed to organizing some small activity each of the other days to add a sense of rhythm to our week:
Monday - Fun Outing/CSA Pick Up
Tuesday - Art or Crafts
Wednesday - Nature & Science
Thursday - Swimming
Friday - Cooking or Baking
I think it covers most of the areas that are important to me. My boys need lots of physical activity and outdoor play, and I also want to ensure they have the opportunity for ample creative time.
This might look overly structured, but trust me it's not! Nature day last week was a walk to the beach....but they pretty much spend hours outside exploring every day! It just means that on that particular day, I put at least some thought into what we might like to do. I ensures I have the materials on-hand and easily accessible for a project. Arts and crafts day today involved 30 seconds of prep time on my behalf - digging through the drawer for straws. We made straw rockets today. I showed the boys the idea and they spent the next hour making up their own versions - from space shuttles, to fighter jets to chickadees! Tomorrow is "science day". Chi-Chi wants to make a menthos/soda pop volcano and Muffy wants to try to make rainbows with the hose. I tell you, very simple! Some days, I will certainly put more preparation and effort into our activities, depending on my mood, energy level, the weather, and the level of desire. All in all, I want to make sure both boys have time to unwind and relax afterschool and focus on their personal interests. The first thing they do when they run through the door is put on their PJ's, then a snack, of course. From there, I follow their lead, but I do like to have some fun ideas in my back pocket.
I'm already enjoying organizing our week in this fashion. I'm interested in spending more time looking through Action Pack for ideas. Anyone have any suggestions for other great resources?