For the first two weeks after I quit my job and we moved, I didn’t have any commitments. My mom would call up and we would decide what we wanted to do, and I would load the three kids up in the car and we would go do whatever I wanted.
It was great.
We got to see my mom every day or every other day. It felt great to decide what I wanted to do with my days.
This is what I pictured it looking like.
This was the freedom I was looking for when I quit my job!
Then we finished getting our 5 year old enrolled in kindergarten and they were ready for her to start and I was like
“Now I have to be at school at 8:20 and 3:40 every day?!? What the hell?”
I mean, we’re a short walk from the school, but still,
I didn’t like the idea of having to be at a certain place at a certain time twice a day every day.
We had also talked about putting our 3 year old in preschool (at the same school as the kindergartner). I made the phone calls to get it set up and then started questioning that too.
“Do I really want to have commitments on Tuesday and Thursday mornings too? If we do swim lessons or something, that only leaves two free mornings a week…That’s not enough free time.”
I didn’t really want to put her in preschool because I liked having all of our mornings free. I mean, preschool’s only for two and a half hours, and then I’ll have to be at school 4 times on those days. I can’t leave the baby with my husband 4 times in one day. He has to actually get work done. So that means I’ll have to take the baby with me at least 2 of the 4 times…
I enrolled her in preschool anyway.
Maybe because they want her to start after the holidays, so I haven’t really had to face up to it yet.
But it has made me wonder, am I thinking about freedom wrong?
I thought freedom mean that you have “free time” all the time but alas, it does not.
Maybe freedom means having the freedom to choose whether or not to put her in preschool. Or even that 2 half days of preschool are something we can do because we don’t need her in full time care.
Is it the freedom to decide what I want to do with my time, not just in the moment but ahead of time?
The freedom to schedule things during the day? Or even at 5:00?
I never even considered doing activities at those times before. Well, I did consider doing them but never did.
My oldest wanted to do dance lessons and I looked into it and never found a time that worked for us. Which is to say, I didn’t want to make any of those times work for us because it was just too much for me. Our days were already spoken for and we didn’t have room for anything else.
But now I do have the time and I find I’m still resisting making new commitments.
Even when I know that having “free time” all the time is not a good thing for me – because I will just sit around watching tv or reading (when the kids aren’t awake of course).
Forget about cleaning the house. I may pick up, but I’m not going to be accomplishing grand things while the kids are napping because in my free time I just want to relax.
Most of that “free time” I talked about before is actually time where I’m taking care of my children. Which also means that we can do what we want as long as we’re home by noon, or maybe 12:30 at the latest because my kids nap.
I have to adjust my idea of freedom.
It’s not the freedom to do what I want whenever I want with no responsibilities. I’m still married. I still have kids. I still have responsibilities in our home. I also still want to do things that are just for me. So I’m still working on the idea that I can have time commitments and still have freedom.
It’s the freedom of choice.
I get to choose how I spend my time and how my children spend theirs.
I have to make choices for myself and my kids. This is new for me. Defaulting to watching Netflix (thanks Offspring) is still a choice, but not a good one. I’m working on making better choices about how we spend our time, but I think it’s going to take awhile.