Summer has wound down. Labor Day has come and gone. All the kids are back in school and daycare full time. I’m back to work and teaching after my six-month maternity leave. Last week, even the calendar forced us all to admit that summer is officially over. In all honesty, I am not a fan of summer. Mostly, it’s too damn hot. Even now, it’s still too hot outside for my preference. This summer, however, though hot, was one of my favorites – and it definitely included my best maternity leave. Four years ago, when I also had summer off after having Vivian, I was actually pretty lonely learning how to mother a newborn baby. Two years ago, when I again had the summer off after having Lillian, I was so stressed and exhausted caring for a potty-training toddler and colicky newborn. This summer, though, I was able to enjoy special time with a feisty, but sweet, preschooler; a headstrong, but not-yet-potty-training (well, until the end of summer) toddler; and a magical newborn who actually slept and ate well on a schedule. The stars of summer aligned! Now, this isn’t to say that I was not tired, overwhelmed, and busy, but what I will remember most about this past summer are all the unique experiences that I shared with the kids (and not loneliness and stress).
For the first two months after I had William, I kept the girls in daycare and preschool full time. I pulled them out on random days to spend time with them and do fun activities with them, but I mostly focused on bonding with William. Then, in June, July, and August, I modified our schedules so that each girl was in daycare or preschool three full days a week; each one spent one day at home with just me (well, and William); and all three kids spent one day at home together. This schedule was nearly impossible for Dan to keep straight, but it allowed me to have some individual time with each child, the girls to remain social with their friends (and for Vivian to continue dance and swim classes at preschool), and all three kids to have playtime together. On the days that I had one (or both) of the girls with me, we did a fun activity outside of the house (so, three days a week). On the days that I was home alone with William (twice a week), I mostly did house chores and projects, snuggled William, and watched a lot of HGTV. If you’re as confused as Dan was, it boiled down to this: Mondays were William-only days; Tuesdays, Vivian stayed home from preschool with William and me; Wednesdays, Lillian stayed home from daycare with William and me; Thursdays were William-only days; and on Fridays, all three kids stayed home with me. Trust me, it worked out well!
Yes, it was a busy summer, but oh, such a good one. And now, time for Fall fun!