By JULIE HOLT
The day has finally arrived, friends! You woke up this morning with a renewed sense of purpose.
You skipped upstairs to wake the children for their first full week of school.
It was a pain getting them bathed and in bed last night, but by 9 a.m. today, you will have a gloriously quiet day, free of fighting, requests to be driven to a friend’s house, boredom complaints and endless washing of clothes and dishes.
Sure, you could take advantage of this much needed free time by catching up on the cleaning, organizing or shopping the you neglected all summer. You could also sit at home and ponder how quickly your children are growing up and how you miss those sweet younger years. But really, that sounds terrible.
That’s why I’ve prepared for you a comprehensive list of awesome ways to celebrate handing your kids back over to the fine educators who get paid (not nearly enough) to deal with your precious little (monsters) children eight hours a day.
- Enjoy a treat in the living room. You know that secret candy stash that you totally don’t have? Yeah, the one in the laundry room where no one goes because then they might have to do some laundry? That one. Take out the bag of fun size Butterfingers and take it to the couch. Sit down. Eat 2 or 10. See how nice that is to eat a treat out in the open and not have to worry about a nosy third grader barging in and demanding a piece of the treasure? You don’t even have to walk the wrappers out to the outside trash can this time! Win!
- Watch a trashy show on the actual TV. No more streaming House of Cards on your iPhone with earbuds in — just turn it on with surround sound and let it play — no little ears will hear the horrible things Claire Underwood says and then repeat them at Cousin Stella’s baptism. I happen to know that from the time your kids get on the bus at 8:20, until they get off at 4:10, you can get in at least six episodes. Just keep the bag of Butterfingers by your side to save time.
- Fine, go work out if you must. But you know, don’t rush. Spend a little time beforehand stretching and warming up, then stop by the smoothie bar after and get something that tastes like a pina colada, but sadder. If you’re into that sort of thing, getting in a workout without worrying about what the kids are doing in the childcare room or at home with no adult supervision can feel downright luxurious.
- Go shower curtain shopping for hours. Walk down every aisle in Target, looking at things you have no intention of buying. Hop over to TJ Maxx and look at all 426 medium tanks.There’s nobody there to tell you that their feet hurt, they are starving or loudly announce that they have to poop. Walk through a store without wondering what useless item your kid will beg you to buy until you have to whisper horrible threats into her ear so the bad mommy police won’t hear you.
- Meet your squad for coffee, and stay a while. The last time you tried to have a conversation with your BFF was when she called to tell you happy birthday and for the duration of the 75-second call, you tried to tune out your kids arguing over who got the first slice of birthday cake. You may have to set it up like a blind date and tell each other what you’re wearing so you’ll recognize each other, because it’s been that long since you could hang out without ignoring each other in favor of keeping your kids from drowning each other in the pool.
I hope these suggestions gave you a great start to your days of freedom. Sure, you’ll have to settle into your own routine soon enough — there’s no room for a mom to get to willy-nilly with her free time. But maybe just this first week, you can do the things you’ve been dreaming of all summer.
Julie Holt is a wife, mom, writer, hairdresser, coffee addict and afternoon napper. Her proudest accomplishment is surviving the toddler years of three children and allowing said children to survive as well. Julie is a regular contributor at HomePage Media Group and a freelance writer. You can read her work at www.jholtwriting.com.