Tuesday, August 08, 2006


My baby started Kindergarten Monday. Now, she’s been in daycare a couple of days a week for a while now, so we’re not suffering from separation anxiety or anything. It’s just the Momentousness of the situation. MY BABY IS IN KINDERGARTEN. Yikes. She’s no longer a pre-schooler. She’s a schooler.

Life is going to be different from now on. A school calendar will control my schedule for the next thirteen years. I can no longer put AC in the tumbling classes that start at 10:30 am— instead I wait in the lobby with masses of other people at a noise level that makes it impossible for me to work (because we have to do this after school). And sitting in the lobby typing on a laptop seems to be an open invitation for people to read over your shoulder. Like I need these soccer moms reading the love scene I’m writing or editing—that would go over well.*

So, as we’re adjusting to this new schedule (I also have to get up very early now…school starts at 7:40 am.), I’m also adjusting to the fact I’m about to be unemployed. One contract ends this week; my other contract ends September 14th. And I don’t have another contract lined up. I’m also not teaching. Ummm, does this mean I’ll be a full-time writer? I understand it’s the dream of most unpubbed folks to be a full-time writer, but I kinda hoped money would be coming in...

So, we’re in for some changes. Home alone every day without papers to grade, events to plan, etc, etc. I’ll either be writing a lot, or I’ll have the cleanest house this side of the Mississippi as I practice avoidance.

I keep telling myself that change is good. Okay, so how do I put myself on a schedule when no one is breathing down my neck and I don’t have fourteen other things that need to be done? (Although the PTA** would like to give me fourteen or fifteen things to do…)

Change is good.


*I wrote part of this blog entry while AC was in gym class, and there really was a soccer mom reading over my shoulder. I’d hoped that when she read that, she’d quit reading over my shoulder, but she didn’t seem embarrassed or anything...

**We’re already fundraising. Anybody wanna buy a coupon book? :-) Kidding...


Playground Monitor said...

Change is good. Yes.

It's okay to say yes to a few volunteer jobs. It's good for you and the community. Just don't get sucked into them all. Sadly, though, schools fall under Pareto's Law of Maldistribution just like everything else: 20% of the people do 80% of the work. When my boys were in school, I was the "Field Trip Mom." I always had such a good time! But ask me to bake cookies. EEEEEEEK!

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Change is not only good, it's inevitable. :-) You know, I loved the years when my kids were in elementary school. Those are such great ages, and they grow and learn so much. I volunteered some, but not excessively. I did field trips and cookies, one year I even made little Christmas stockings for all the kids, but I never got too deeply involved in the PTA. I could volunteer some and still have plenty of time for whatever was going on at home.

So yeah, change is good. :-)


Kathy said...

Welcome to the real world! LOL. Yes, you will be called upon to do much and rest little. I agree, as with anything, 20% do all the work.

The question has always been for me...what am I willing to do to make my kids childhood's memorable. When my kids started school, I did the parties, made cookies and cupcakes, participated in Field Trips (lots of fun), helped with Field Day, etc...etc... I even designed a logo for the High School PTO.

My point is...kindergarten is a wonderful time, enjoy it, but it's only the beginning of a wonderful ride. Things are only starting to feel hectic because quiet time is disrupted and schedules have to be rearranged to fit. With 4 in school at the same time, I've had to juggle PTA, helping with homework, being the Soccer Mom, Ballet Mom, Football Mom, Basketball Mom, Baseball and Softball Mom because I wanted to make a difference. At this point, I'm still the Tennis Mom and Cheerleading Mom and by now the kids have participated in hundreds of fundraisers, but through it all, even though a lot of my time has been eaten, I've enjoyed watching my kids grow, learn and achieve success.

While a part of you misses what you and your little one have shared, and you'll probably need time to adjust, there are so many wonderful new experiences ahead on the horizon. Many will define who you are and who your little one becomes. But knowing that you are doing this side by side will make the days and years pass with joy and much blessing.


Smarty Pants said...

My mom was an awesome class mom. No holiday went by without trays of cupcakes baked or school carnivals without my mom organizing it. She did that despite working full time and being a single mom, so I have to give her a lot of credit. She didn't kill herself doing it, though. She did what she could and was comfortable doing.

Make sure no one guilts you into stuff you don't want to do if they view you being a full time writer as a bon-bon eating soap watcher.

Enjoy your opportunity to write full time and if you're house is super clean for the journey, so be it.


Patricia W. said...

Change is definitely good.

You didn't say whether the kindergarten were private or public school, although I'm not sure it matters, as either way you should begin gearing up for the annual fund-raising activities -- book fairs (fall & spring), pictures, bake sales, etc.

The other thing that I recall from my introduction to school vs. preschool was the incessant birthday parties. This may have been a private school thing, or maybe it was a '90s thing, but there was at least one birthday party to attend per month, and these things were E-v-e-n-t-s. Pottery making, karate kicking, bowling ball throwing, character costume wearing, amateur sports loving--do you get my driff?--events. Each one seemed slightly more fantastic than the last, which was bad for my kid whose birthday was at the end of the year. Thank God this ended when he went to public school the following year.

Take a deep breath and dive in. Don't discount getting involved with the PTA as a way to know what's really going on in your child's school. (The best and least public data is always known by the PTA officers.) You can control your time commitment. My oldest son was proud of his Bookfair/Field Trip Mommy, even as recently as last year for the 5th grade trip to Universal Studios.

He started middle school this year (and again it feels momentous), maybe because he's starting to care about his clothing and I noticed the 8th grade girls checking him out. Changes...

Angel said...

This getting up early thing is not fun. I mean, we didn't sleep past 7:15 or so before, but dragging a reluctant 6-year-old out of bed at 6:30 AM is NO FUN!!! Neither of us is morning people, so I have yet to achieve the calm, cool (i.e. no griping, whining, or pushing her to hurry up) mornings I'd so hoped for. I should have known better. Nothing I hope to enjoy with my children goes the way I plan.

I've avoided the PTA at Nicole's school so far, simply because I'm not worried about working for the school as a whole. I'm more worried about being involved with HER class, so I'm going to volunteer when HER teacher needs help, etc, with those things I think I can manage. I want to be available, but not taken advantage of. :) I'm also not interested in school politics. I'm sure word will get around to me if I need to know it.

And I'm sorry Kathy, but that list of things just makes me exhausted. Mine might as well not expect that from me, because it ain't happening!

Instigator said...

Change is good. Although not always easy.

Sweet Pea had registration for Kindergarten today. Her class starts on Thursday. This year doesn't seem quite so momentus - possibly because she was in the 4K class last year. Basically, she started school a year early.

I'm not sure either she or I were ready last year but we both needed the break from each other (the girls come to work with me when they're not in school). I watched her grow up so much last year, I can't imagine what's in store this year. She loves her teacher, a woman she's known for a couple years now - the benefits of a private school where Grandma is a teacher and everyone knows your uncle (the priest).

I volunteer in her classroom but stay away from just about everything else. The first year (3K) I volunteered to help with the Halloweeen carnival and somehow found myself in charge of it. Not what I'd signed up for. I work full-time, bring baby girl with me, and then write at night. I'm doing good to get everyone where they need to be in the mornings with lunches, homework and backpacks. Someone else is just going to have to volunteer to be room mom.


Counselor Shelley said...

Always wanting to help - I will be happy to breathe down your neck.

Problem Child said...

Shell--there are soooo many tacky comments waiting to be said based on that post.

::bites tongue::

Instigator said...

I thought tacky and inappropriately suggestive comments were my department ;-D