So after my harrowing morning of getting the kids ready for school, I had a few minutes of quiet in the car on the way home. I began to ponder some of the reasons for the craziness.
Partly, it’s just kids being kids.
Some of it has to do with me wanting to be “on time.”
Some of it might even be that it is Thursday and my first day “all alone” in over three weeks. Seriously, I wanted to soak up every minute.
So as I drove home, I pondered a couple things. My kids don’t haveto be at school at 8am. There is a suggested drop-off time between 8:00-8:20am. I personally love the drop-off because I can pull up, let one child out, pull over to the other door and let the other child out (they are met by teachers, I’m not just kicking them out to fend for themselves.) I can stay nice and toasty and warm and dry and whatever in my seat. I like it. (And the school recommends it as a boundary between school and home. I agree.)
But even if we missed the drop-off time, I can walk them in until 9am. After 9am you need to have a reason for being such a slacker, like a note from a doctor or something (I am assuming that means a note from an appointment that morning, not just a note saying you are, in fact, a slacker.)
So my fire drill in the morning is all about getting there at 8am. Partly I have learned that I can get burned on the interstate on the way there and my 15 minute drive can turn to 45 minutes easy. That puts us still within the limits. It also allows for the days when we really are just plain running late, and we still get there the same time as others who just always run late.
Another benefit I like to getting there at 8am is the teachers that are in the room (as opposed to the ones doing drop-off) are spending one-on-one time with the children. Getting them started on new work, with fresh eyes all around. And if your child is the only one there, that is serious one-on-one time.
I like to get the full value of the school too. I am paying for 8am-3pm and prefer that we not arrive at 9am. That’s just me though. I justify being a stay-at-home mom by being frugal. The per hour cost of school goes up dramatically when you shave an hour off each day.
But today, I began to wonder. This is our last year of playing around. Next year kindergarten starts. Five days. On time. Seriously. Part of me thinks we are practicing this year. If we can make it work three days a week now, at a school that is much farther than the elementary school, we should be in good shape for next year. This is kind of our rehearsal before the big show.
On the other hand, the kids will be going to school for the next 17-19 years (I added in college because I have every hope that is the path they will take.) Should I ease up this year and relax a little? Should I be the one who shows up in the nick of time because we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from the cool games we were playing that morning? I don’t know if that sets the best example. But I’m not so sure I’m setting the best example either.
Some days, when I am subbing, I have to be there at a certain time. How much more confusing would it be to crack the whip on those days and then be all relax-a-pants on the others?
Of course, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Some compromise of the two. For me, for now, that’s pajama days when we have a day off. That’s reading books in the morning to let the ear drops sink in. It’s getting a little more prepared the night before. It’s doing the best I can with what I have.
As one friend recently wrote about – in twenty years I will look back on these days and miss them terribly. I just want to make all the moments count.