It was not wise of me to require all 125 of my students to write essays due the same week that Sophie’s school took a spring-break. This week, I’ve been using all my back-up childcare options. Fortunately, the small in-home daycare that Sophie attended from age 8 months to age 2 allows graduates to return to “help” the teacher with the babies; it was packed with toddlers and even elementary-age kids this spring break. We used this baby-daycare the 2 days when I have to travel to work and then hired our fabulous neighborhood 12-year-old to play with Sophie another morning.
The rest of the week, I just got up at 5 a.m. to grade essays, then tried to squeeze in more essay-grading and lecture-writing after Sophie went to bed. The rest of the day I spent with Sophie. I missed one essential email & phone-call when a committee that I’m on had to make an urgent last-minute decision, but, really, what professor always checks her email or phone all the time? I got back to the committee-chair four hours later, after Sophie and I got back from our Easter-egg hunt.
Surprisingly, at least to me, this week I truly enjoyed my days of playing at being a stay-at-home mom. Sophie and I spent almost all day Thursday at a friends’ pool, before going to another friends’ potluck-party Easter-egg-hunt. Then we spent almost all day Friday at the beach, frolicking in the sand with two of Sophie’s favorite friends — after a morning stop at the local gardening store. The weather here has been in the 70s. Our biggest spring-break problem has been sunburn.
Sophie rejected my suggestions for any spring-break adventures more elaborate than friends, sun, & water. She didn’t want to see the butterfly exhibit at the zoo or visit the aquarium or legoland or even story-hour at the library. She wanted to play with the hose in the front yard. So we did. And we both had a fabulous time.
Sophie’s school is usually 5 days a week, 9am-2pm. She and I both love her school: she comes home with creative art-projects, singing “a tisket, a tasket, a green & yellow basket,” chatting about her new passion for identifying patterns, and proud of her newfound abilities to skip or negotiate with friends or something else that I find fabulously developmentally appropriate. But she’s also exhausted. Five days a week (even short days) is a lot for a three-year-old. It’s been good for her to have this break this week. It’s even been good for me.
I don’t think I would be enjoying permanent stay-at-home mom-hood this much. But, for this week, sitting on the beach with Sophie and our friends has been pretty wonderful.