As kids get older, it seems like we as parents only manage to get more busy. It used to be hectic, dealing with crying babies and diaper changes and needing to be constantly on guard for falls and dangers in the house. Now it is hectic in the need for organizing playdates and sport activities and school activities and scouting and the like. It seems we are always running here or there, and our family activities always circulate around someone having a game or meeting or whatever else falls across our path in the week. We can't just wake up Saturday and say: Hey, let's go to the woods today. Now, it's more that we set the alarm to wake up in time for the game, go and watch Jari play soccer, run a few errands that need to be done, and make it home in time for Kaeden's scouts. It isn't nearly as free and impulsive as life was when we still had babies running around. Of course, we don't need to bring the stroller and diaper bag and extra clothes with us either. Now it's just tell the kids to get in the car, and they go. Usually, mama still has to make sure the coats make it along.
Parenting has so many different dimensions. With our growing children, our duties change. We need to teach our children what is appropriate behavior, discipline them for being unruly or cruel, and help them find their place in this world by organizing and making sure they are where they need to be. We need to stimulate them by giving them choices, but not too many choices that we get too bogged down with appointments ourselves. It's management skills, being a parent.
Last night, I forgot that it was Sport Club for Kaeden. Jari had a friend here playing all afternoon and I played a game with Kaeden and then started dinner. Suddenly, as I was putting laundry away, it dawned on me that I had forgotten all about Kaeden's activity. "Kaed, we forgot sport club tonight!" I told my son. "Didn't you want to go?"
"I forgot it too, mama." he replied, concentrating on his Playstation game. I was glad he was otherwise occupied, as sometimes forgetting sport club could result in a full-blooded meltdown from my son. Having the game to entertain him kept his emotions in check.
Yesterday, I got all of Jari's needed items ready for his special Autumn adventure with his class. I made sure Kaeden had his gym clothes for his gym class. Both boys left the house with full bellies and healthy lunches. As did my husband. I made a few important phone calls, answered the door when our oil was delivered, paid a few bills online, read the electric meter and tried to turn it in online, ran to get some meat at the grocery store, did laundry, cleaned up the visible messes, made dinner, played games, supervised playing children, said hello to the neighbor, looked up activities for us to do while we're on vacation the end of the month, and chose not to attend my choir activity (Erwin wasn't home in time, and even though I could have reminded him, I soemtimes feel like he has enough on his plate and I don't need to add to his daily struggles. When I do choose to tell him he needs to be here for this or that at a certain time, he ALWAYS is. Even if it is in the middle of the day when he should be working. But marriage is like that. You give, you take, you share, both responsibility and joy and struggles, and somehow, when you both give it your all, everything gets managed just fine...and life seems to revolve and circulate and you live together comfortably.)
Anyway, even though I was home alone yesterday from 8:40-3:30, I had a busy day. I have been considering going to work, as it is something I would like to do for my emotional health, and the extra money could help finance our trips to America, activities for the boys, the oil to heat our home, the lunches out with girlfriends...yeah, all those extras. But, I don't know how we would manage everything if I was working. My boys have it very easy as I am always here for them, and they know that whatever they need, mama is always here. They don't have to worry who will pick them up from school, when they need to attend daycare, why they can't have friends come to play...it is natural for them to have the comfort of knowing mama will be home when they are, to supply a snack, to play a game, to help with homework, to find a misplaced soccer shirt or judo belt.
It was a choice Erwin and I made for me to be a stay at home mom. And I am glad my children have the security they do, this being my job. However, my job seems to be changing as my kids get older, and as I become even more busy than when they were toddlers, I wonder what is in store for me...but I have a hunch that as Jari ages another few years, he's going to be quite self-sufficient and independent. And as Kaeden ages a few years, he's going to need more assistance, and maybe not just from home and mama's heart. And so, I will happily continue my job, helping my children to grow into their own people, and know that this job, though not always exciting or satisfying or giving me social contact, is the most important I could be doing at this time in my life, in my children's lives. And someday, Erwin and I will again find the time to wake up lazily on a Saturday morning and have a leisurely breakfast before we grab our bikes for a ride through the woods, our kids off on their own activities, their own calendars and agendas filled with their own handwriting, while mine is just a reminder to be at the soccer field at 6 for Jari's game, or to attend Kaeden's Judo exam watching him receive his next belt.
This parenting stuff is ever-changing. It's both the best ride and most wrecked accident all rolled up in one. But it's an adventure I wouldn't want to be without.