As other parents are happily checking items off their children’s back-to-school lists and looking forward to a life of structure once again, I am over here sobbing as I look at the calendar.
Why am I dreading back-to-school season so much, you may ask? Is it because I love my kids so much that I can’t bear the thought of being apart from them for seven hours a day? Is it because I dread the onslaught of paperwork and after-school activities?
Well, um, yes, a little bit, you caught me. (The paperwork in particular scares me.)
But the main reason that I am dreading my kids heading back to school is because this back-to-school season marks a huge change in our family’s life.
Our change is happening because my husband just took a new job, which means he will be out the door by 5 AM every day. This means I’ll be solely responsible for getting all four of my kids out the door and to school, which is over 20 minutes away.
In our previous life, our children’s school was on my husband’s way to work, so not only was he able to handle drop-off, but he was also around to help get the kids fed, dressed and out the door. I enjoyed the comfort of simply having my husband there in the morning to drink a cup of coffee with me and start our day together. And because I work from home, I accomplished a large chunk of my workday in the early hours of the morning, assured that my husband would be there to tackle any stray children that happened to wake up before their alarms.
While a job change that will take my husband away from my family early in the day might not be a big deal to other moms, to me, it’s a huge deal to me, because it changes everything about my life, my morning routine, and how my day goes as a result.
And to be completely honest with you, I just don’t know if I can handle it.
I’m scared, and I’m struggling with feeling like once again, I have to shift and make compromises in my life in order to accommodate my husband, the one with the “real” job. I am feeling a tinge of resentment that somehow, I am the only one tasked with caring for our kids in the difficult morning hours. I am wondering on how earth I will fit in my job, the one that pays for our kids to actually go to their school, without having my husband there in the morning. I am feeling sad that our family life will change in such a drastic way. I feel, well, a little forgotten.
And I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only mom and wife who feels that way.
Because it’s not necessarily about the change itself, or how our schedules may fall in our day-to-day lives, but about the sometimes-difficult emotions that such a big change with our partner can bring.
It’s about feeling like we are the ones that get left behind, the ones expected to figure out how to keep our family running smoothly and fit in our own work and make sure lunches are packed and all the paperwork is signed. It’s exhausting to feel like you’re the one behind-the-scenes making everything run and to not be able to vent about these feelings, isn’t it?
So, here I am, talking about them. I’m a mom whose partner is taking on a new job, one that is good for our family. So even though I’m scared and I’m struggling a bit, I am putting on my positive face.
Because that’s what we do as moms. We admit when we are scared, we hash things out to death with our friends in group text, we confess our weaknesses, and we acknowledge that we can’t do it all. But when push comes to shove, we wake up– some of us without partners–we pour our coffee in the biggest mug we can find and we slap a smile on our faces.
And then we do the very things we are most scared of.
So, to all my fellow moms out there starting new challenges, new schools, new jobs, new routines and new schedules this fall, I raise my cup to you. We’ve got this.