Does anyone remember the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Staples commercials from the mid 90’s? You know, the ones with the Christmas song playing in the background as the ridiculously happy parent gallivanted throughout the store buying school supplies? Here, let me refresh your memory:
I remember watching these commercials as a young, 20-something woman thinking “Who does that? What kind of parent looks forward to spending less time with their children? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?”
Fast-forward to 2014 and here I am, sheepishly raising my hand. I am “that parent,” one of “those people,” counting down the days until summer is over and the little sanity I hold onto during the school year returns.
This is the first summer I’ve felt this way. I remember last summer being hard — what with my husband deployed and all — but I don’t remember looking forward to the school year. In fact, I remember having a lovely summer with my boys. I was a little sad Daddy wasn’t here to enjoy the fun times with us, and I was looking forward to heading to Europe to see him for two weeks in September, but I don’t recall desperately wishing to jump to August like I do now.
As if my guilt levels weren’t already sky-high, this is Jameson’s last summer before he starts school. Next month my littlest little will have his first day of his educational career, and for the first time since 2008 I will have time of my own.
Maybe that’s the difference.
Last year, the school year starting didn’t herald the beginning of a whole new chapter for us. It was just Benji returning to school while Mommy and Jameson went back to doing our thang. This year, everything changes.
In April, 2013, I started writing for allParenting. I still write for them; I’ve been writing a whole lot lately. And with it being summer — with both of my active boys home and needing to be entertained — finding the time to write has been hard. It has involved juggling a laptop over the head of a sleeping baby on my lap. Or staying up way past midnight and sacrificing sleep to meet deadlines. Or seeking out kid-friendly places with free wifi, and spending three hours on something that should take 45 minutes because of the non-stop flood of interruptions.
Please don’t think I’m complaining.
I’m thankful for my active, healthy kids and my work-from-home job and circumstances which allow me to be home all day. But I am looking forward to having the time to focus daily on the things I’ve been doing half-way for so long. I’m looking forward to organizing photos and cleaning (really cleaning) my home and returning to regular gym time. And I’m looking forward to writing during daylight hours, without feeling as though my children suffer when I do.
More than anything, I’m looking forward to missing my babies. I’m looking forward to looking forward to seeing them. To having the time to really appreciate these precious little miracles God entrusted me with.
I now retract my prior judgement of people just like me. I understand why those old Staples ads struck such a chord with parents. It isn’t that parents want to spend less time with their children, it’s that they want to have the mental clarity to enjoy every moment they are able to spend together.
(For good measure, here’s one more of those awesome commercials.)