Today marks the final day of Evelyn’s second week of kindergarten. She’s doing well and loves her teachers, she comes home talking about new friendships she’s forming. Each night at dinner time, Sarah and I ask the kids 4 questions. We go around the table and take turns answering:
- What happened today that made you feel happy?
- What (if anything) happened today that made you feel sad or upset?
- What was your favourite part of today?
- What was your least favourite part of today?
Even Bronwyn answers! Yesterday her most favourite and least favourite part of the day was: Dah-Dah. Ohhhh-kay, then! We don’t know what she meant, but the wide grin that spreads across her face when we involve her indicates that she loves participating just as much as the 4 year olds do.
A few weeks ago, I received a wedding invitation in the mail for someone I’ve known since I was 3. He’s my former neighbour turned step-cousin. I forgot to send the RSVP card, so the mom of the groom-to-be followed up via Facebook messenger to ask if we were going to make it to the wedding. (We are not.) I was telling Bri I felt badly that I’d forgotten to send the RSVP back – it’s been floating in my bag for at least two weeks. One of her many gifts is the ability to make me feel better about myself/things in general, so she quickly jumped to my defense and said that there’s a lot going on in my life – a lot of new things – and that adjusting to this schedule takes up a lot of mental real estate. She’s right, of course. Life is busy for parents. Life is particularly busy for single parents with full-time outside of the home jobs. How do solo parents with more than one child do it? Or how do parents who are outnumbered do it? I…have no idea.
Parents – mothers in particular – carry invisible duties when it comes managing households/families. Our responsibilities go so far beyond child care. We take care of everything: swim lesson registration, picking up toilet paper (or noticing we need it in the first place), figuring out what’s for dinner and then cooking it, making sure the clothes don’t rot in the washing machine, cleaning, filling out school/permission forms – the list goes on and on and on. I don’t have anyone helping me with (most of) this stuff, so it’s all on my shoulders, all the time. That…is exhausting. I’m tired. So Bri reminded me to forgive myself for forgetting to mail back that RSVP card. I have enough on my mind at any given moment of the day.
This post isn’t to whine about the constant physical and emotional labour involved in being a (solo) parent. At least, that wasn’t my intention when I sat down to write. I wanted to touch on the transition to kindergarten.
Evelyn’s asleep by 6:30 most nights now. She’s woken up a couple of times at night crying. Her mood vacillates between sweet and thoughtful and kind to that of “toddler smacking mom” at the drop of a hat. Although she was in full-day preschool – and daycare prior to that – the schedule change, school change and new rules is a lot for her to absorb. She loves it. But it’s a lot. And that “a lot” comes out when she’s at home processing her feelings either verbally or through tears.
Her preschool was amazing in that they offered daytime programs in dance, art and swimming. And now, I have to squeeze those into our evenings and weekends. I’ve signed Evelyn up for two lessons (I never want her to be over-scheduled): swimming and ballet, her two favourites. She’s also in an after-school language program once a week where she’ll learn Spanish, but I signed her up for that more because we needed childcare after school on that particular day. And that’s about as stretched as I can make us go.
Good news (for me): Bri will be here this Sunday for another quick visit. It’s been 4 looooooooooooooooong weeks. I can hardly wait.