Seasonal Motherhood: Back to School
The kids go back to school on Thursday.
I feel aggrieved about this. I am a Monday start kind of gal. So, Thursday doesn’t really work for me. But no one asked me. Which is a shame. I know stuff. I have been doing this parenting gig for 23 plus years, call me, I will guide you in ways in of wisdom. Or at least persuade you in the ways of the weekday calendar.
And the truth is Monday starts, semesters, grading periods, seasons, and holiday breaks are the go-go juice that make motherhood an unobjectionable vocation.
Let me be very clear, I love being a mom.
These people, I am privileged beyond words, to mother them. But I don’t know how people mothered well prior to the invention of the school year. Even back in my homeschool days, I was completely reliant on the Americanized methodology of motherhood which ran on a 12-month scholastic calendar.
From conception to delivery, infancy to toddlerhood, the goal would be to educate these beings, with the objective of working herself, mom, out of a job. It is actually a tortuous retirement plan. You pour every ounce of humanity, dignity, perseverance, intelligence, and priority into a being and then they leave you in their dust as they go off to pursue higher education, service to their country, or a short stint in prison.
And there you stand.
Boobs sagging, laugh lines, stretch marks, and a non-existent waistline, accented by what the kids like to call a “muffin top” and mom jeans. Your hopes for them are genuine, but I am telling you now, encourage them to aim low. Tell them they are losers every once in a while. Otherwise, they will leave you high and dry, sucking down Cosmos and microwave smores, using their baby pictures for Kleenex.
But that’s another story. Like I said, I love motherhood. Even with its lousy hours, sleepless nights, and zero dental plan, I am addicted. So, in my quest to love and be loved, we opened our hearts and home to foster care and adoption. No, I am not their grandma, those are my babies. And yes, I am fully committed to dropping them in their perspective classrooms for the bliss and agony that is back to school.
So, it begins. The first day of school, to Thanksgiving break, and then on to Christmas. By the time we throw the rotting jack-o-lantern carcass off the porch and hang that first stocking, we are fully in want of the days when our homes will be alive with the ease that is Winter Break. By then every mom public, home, or private schooled, will be ready for the clamor and chaos, summer has brought us to deplore.
Deplore, that is a strong word. But the scholastic calendar is from Jesus. I can’t find it in the bible, but it is probably just in a dead sea or something. Because mothering seasonally is like a Friday paycheck. You go and go and just when you think you can’t do it anymore, Shazam, the next season of nurturing changes and is called something new. And from there, the possibilities are endless.
I was going to teach Sam to read this summer.
We were going to go to the library and eat more salad. And we did some of that, maybe like once, and then, we just kind of didn’t. Instead we slept late, ordered pizza, and eventually, put the library books in the overnight drop off, promising to check those out again and read them, at Thanksgiving, or Martin Luther King weekend. That’s not really the point, the point is that the separation of motherhood by calendar makes it more digestible. If you go on the calendar of labor and delivery straight to college orientation, it is just too much to face. It is literally a lifetime.From labor and delivery straight to college orientation, it is just too much to face. It is literally a lifetime. Click To Tweet
But knowing that you only have six weeks to go until Good Friday, you can process that. You have something to get to, a finish line if you will, that then allows the reboot. Spring Break is just far enough away from Christmas break that you can finally take down the mistletoe, fill out 24 Valentine’s day cards – to a friend – from – a friend – to plan that trip to Aspen or Lake Tahoe, and then start ramping up to face the three months we all adore and dread, called summer.
The real accolades go to moms who work outside of the home in non- calendar jobs.
So, they have to keep going regardless of the scholastic time line. Bless you. Because they not only have the stress of not getting to see the fruits of having to go nowhere, they must find haven for their young beings year-round.
Everyone take a knee.
In my parenting journey I have had one job, as an aerobics instructor that was year-round. I made it six months, and then I saw my name on the schedule in June and again on Columbus Day and I was like, “Uh, yeah, I’m out.”
Now understand, in my circumstances, I will not have an empty nest until I am 62, by then I will be firmly grounded in the system. In my retirement villa, I will require Presidents’ Day weekend to regroup from the hard work of Bunko and Salon Tuesday. But it is either that or “from now until I am dead.” Which again, could be a long stretch unless I start smoking again. I have vibrant Viking genes, so when I graduate that last charge, I will need summer break to regroup before I head back to shuffleboard and pottery class, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to Presidents’ Day, and Martin Luther to Good Friday, and then on to Spring Break and repeat.
If I got to plan it, I think that a nice funeral would be after Spring Break but before the vacationing season of Summer, because it gets so hot and also, I love Padre Island in May.
And I know you know what I mean, every momma out there, with all the new back-packs hung neatly by the door, ready for back to school.
Bento boxes labeled precisely, with a menu plan that will allow for fancy lunches all the way through to November, when you’ll switch to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and “just eat around the damn crust!” clear through until the Valentines Day Party when you cave and buy Lunchables and then give up the ghost and shove a check for $50 bucks in aforementioned backpacks for hot lunches until… summer… when we are eating all organic and going back to the library.
I am seasoned in my abilities and my shortcomings.
I love my kids and it is time for them to go back to school.
Our six-year-old likes his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches microwaved for 9 seconds. Tonight, he said, “Mommy, will you bring me a warm sammich everyday at my new school so I don’t have to eat it cold?” And my heart skipped a beat at the sentiment. Sweet little lamb, he really thinks I love him that much. And I might again, come Good Friday. But summer has left me weary and callused, come Tuesday, warm PBJ will be but a laughable sentiment only reserved for summer, teacher work days, and Thanksgiving break. My love is not conditional, but it most certainly is, seasonal.
May your floors be sticky, and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1
Friends, no matter how you school, I pray for wisdom, endurance, safety, and peace in this new school year. May God shelter our children, teachers, and schools from harm. Join me today and every day in praying, “Jesus be all over us!”
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