My kindergarten son just finished up his first spring break. Which means I just finished up my first spring break as a stay-at-home mom. Up until this year, my spring breaks were always experienced more from a teacher’s point of view. And, I can now say, there is a difference between experiencing the week as a teacher/parent and a parent.
As a teacher, spring break was like the long-anticipated intermission. You know, when you’ve been holding your pee, and you are about to burst but you have to wait for the intermission before you can get up and relieve yourself. That’s how spring break felt for me. Each spring break would arrive with me on the brink of exhaustion, needing a rest from the daily toil of teaching: completing paperwork, attending meetings, sharpening pencils, hanging up bulletin boards, grading papers, and of course, teaching.
Spring break would arrive, and I would be granted a reprieve. The alarm was turned off, my daily to-do-list was drastically reduced, and I had time to spend with my son. It was a treat.
Now, though, as a stay-at-home parent, spring break took on a different meaning. The week still provided me with alarm-free mornings and a shorter to-do-list: no lunches to pack, no backpack to check each day, and no homework to complete. But, because I am a stay-at-home parent, I am fortunate to have a lot of time with my son each day, every day. So spring break just meant even more time with my son. Which translates into a more-tired Mommy.
I love my son. But, let’s face it, he’s six. I’m thirty-eight. And to complicate matters, I go through each day dealing with the unpredictability (in terms of fatigue and pain) of an autoimmune disease. So even on my “good days” my son has more energy than I do. On may bad days, it’s a struggle to remain upright.
The conclusion of this year’s spring break actually left me more tired than I started out. We filled our days with fun, and fun is tiring. Walks and trips and games and projects and inside time and outside time and dancing and singing and reading and building and tickling and playing.
When I was teaching, spring break also provided the desperately-needed light at the end of the tunnel. I had made it this far; I could hold on until summer. Now, as a stay-at-home parent, spring break provided me with a sneak peek of what our summer break will look like. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.