If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me what I'd be doing all day long while all of the children are in school full-day, I'd be well on the way to covering next year's new school uniforms (or at least Big Brother's required-by-school pricey shoes).
While it is acceptable, around here, to stay home with my children as long as they are at home, I seem to have crossed the line now that Little Brother's in kindergarten and there are 8 hours without children in this house.
Do you know how many bonbon jokes I've heard in the past few weeks? Or suggestions that I can get all caught up on the soaps (which I have never watched in my life)?
I truly can't count the number of people who assume that now that Little Brother is off to kindergarten, I'll be off to work. My job is done, you see. I've gotten them all off to school.
We tried that once before, when Middle Sister started school, and I had a 4-hour-a-day teaching job. Then Big Brother came down with mono, 2 weeks into the school year, and TheDad and I had to figure out whose work schedule would be inconvenienced to take care of a sick child. We quickly came to the conclusion that this wasn't worth it. Not having any immediate family members closer than 65 miles away means that we don't have a lot of backup. Our family is on our own for a lot of things that my parents, when we were kids, and now my brother, sister, and TheDad's brother can take for granted because there are grandparents in the area and they can help out.
And we believe that the kids need me just as much as ever--just in a different way. They need me to be there when they climb down off that school bus in the afternoon, rumpled and tired and excited about their day. They need to be able to come in and find that I have gotten my errands and "daytime" chores done during their school time, so that after school I am not so consumed with laundry and cleaning and such that I can't listen to them talk about their day, inspect artwork and classwork, share a snack, and read all those notices that come home from the PTA. They need me to pick up Middle Sister and Little Brother after school on Tuesday this week so we can hurry over to a local high school and watch Big Brother's cross-country meet. They need me to find a way to volunteer some time in each of their schools. They even need me to strive to attend daily Mass while they're off at school. And if someone is sick, they need me to be there.
They may be in school, but my job is not done. And that's good, because I love my job.