I’ve lost 28 pounds. I’m making time for friends. I’m baking. Cooking nice dinners (even making them ahead). Going to early morning yoga classes. Reading. Writing. Walking the dog. Biking. I still haven’t gone clothes shopping, but I’m actually budgeting again — and definitely making room for a spring spree.
I’m doing all this because my kids are officially school-aged. My five-year-old son is in kindergarten, and my seven-year-old daughter is braving grade two. And, while the school-age years pose new emotional hurdles (dealing with mean kids) and disciplinary challenges (they can now turn on the TV themselves), my gosh, life is so much better (they can get their own glass of water!).
I didn’t put it all together until recently. My mom and I were discussing my weight loss and how I seem to have everything more under control — cleaner house, better cooking, saving money, managing time, etc. We thought maybe my new-found control around food was influencing all aspects of my life, since that’s usually the theory. But, then I realized losing weight has actually been easy, too easy, so it must just be another symptom. Of what then? Of the fact that I suddenly have two hands free to really start taking care of myself again.
Yes! I am loving the school-age years.
In addition to having a little more time (and space!) for myself, here’s why I think the school-age years are so awesome:
- My kids are still young enough that they make me laugh a lot, saying things like, “Empathy is when you put your shoe in someone else’s shoe” (five-year-old), and “Daddy, can you see perfectly without your glasses?” (seven-year-old).
- They’re still young enough that they can get excited about the 100th-Day-of-School party two weeks before and beg me to invite Grandma.
- They’re still young enough that they climb into my bed at night — hardly a day goes by that I don’t wake up with a fuzzy blond bedhead beside me.
- They make their own beds.
- They are starting to shower on their own.
- They brush their teeth themselves.
- They dress themselves — including snow pants, hats and mittens.
- They READ and WRITE on their own — so exciting!
- They read cooler books, like Ella Enchanted, Magic Trixie and Ninjago.
- They draw amazing pictures.
- They learn to really skate and dance.
- They understand when I tell them, “Mommy has to work right now.”
- They tell time.
- They brush their hair until it looks smooth.
- They still run to me when they see me after school and nearly knock me over with hugs.
- And so much more…
Sure, I’d love it if they were a little less picky at the dinner table — like they were when they were toddlers — but I’m not sweating it. Now that I’m eating better, we all are: homemade muffins throughout the week, hot dinners, cut-up veggies. Now that mom is happier, we all are. I’m telling you, the school-age years are awesome.
What’s your favourite phase of parenthood so far?