When my kids were itty-bitties, I was exhausted. My Ginger Ninja turned three when my Darling Daughter was born – and there was Middle Son at 15 months. It was exhausting caring for three children three and under. Then three children under four … then three children under five … need I go on? But then something magical happened, school started and my oldest began Kindergarten.
Full Day Kindergarten! This left me with the Giggle Twins at home (then ages two and three). They were home alone with me for two years before Middle Son started Kindergarten. In the meantime, I kept them engaged with activities at home like shaving cream on the deck table to play in, sidewalk chalk, finger paints, glitter, playground time, playdates, and more. Just like most mommies do. In the time they weren’t napping, they attended Kids Joy (the children’s program during women’s Bible study), MOPPETS during the MOPS meetings, and preschool so I could get a Mommy Break and still offer them something wonderful.
When my Darling Daughter started Kindergarten, I suddenly had an empty home six hours a day. SIX GLORIOUS HOURS! Say it with me, “Six Glorious Hours!” This time was amazing. I was already engaged with MOPS Field Leadership, so there was always more than housework and grocery shopping. As the years have passed those six glorious hours have somehow shortened. Before I know it, the clock reads 3:10 and my kids will be walking in the door soon. Some days I’m pulling in the driveway moments before the bus rolls up. And, did I mention I’m still exhausted?
Exhausted not in the way a mother of preschool-aged children is exhausted: the constant wiping and holding and changing and up and down and crying and soothing and singing. No, not like that. The constancy of mothering infants and toddlers has morphed into the incessant shuffling of children from here to there. Their needs are now often beyond our front door with practices, games, team functions, rehearsals, parties, after school activities, and the friend who lives outside walking distance.
And it will transform into something different next year when my Ginger Ninja begins middle school – taking my singular school schedule to two bell schedules … and then to three with kids at each level of education. And then, the time will shrink even more. By the time my youngest leaves for school there will only be an hour or two before my oldest returns.
By then, the constancy of motherhood will change again, transforming my role to meet my children where they are. I am reminded to cherish each moment as it comes. To relish in the stages of motherhood and child-rearing. I encourage you to do the same: to immerse yourself in family life so when someone says, “Where does the time go,” you’ll have an answer.