I’ve mentioned on here before that I work 35 hours, 4 days a week. I’ve been lucky enough to have this schedule ever since going back to work after my maternity leave with Tadpole. I’ve tried to make Fridays a day when we can move at a slower pace and can focus on having fun together. We’ve certainly done plenty of trips to Target or the grocery store on Fridays, and there were some days when spending all day on my own with our rambunctious kiddo wasn’t easy. But we’ve been able to have adventures on the city bus, go swimming at the pool, take toddler-paced walks around the block, visit the animals at the zoo, and so much more. Overall, it has been fabulous to spend my Fridays with Tad, and there are posts here and here about some of our Friday adventures.
But now there are a variety of factors that are making us wonder what the best way is to spend our Fridays this fall:
- Tad is in pre-K this year, in a combined pre-K/K class. We haven’t gotten to meet his teacher yet (she was out of town this week), but we think she may not want him missing out on 1/5 of the classroom time. But he’s still in pre-school, and his class is still very play-based (it’s not like they’re sitting in rows of tiny desks filling out letter worksheets). So maybe she won’t care?
- Tad is more and more aware that his friends are still at school on Fridays, and has sometimes mentioned not wanting to miss out on time to play with them. I’m sad that he’s already at an age where he (sometimes) prefers time with his peers to time with us. It brings up all sorts of things for me about the ways he’ll eventually grow away from us. But I don’t want our time on Fridays to be more about my needs than about his.
- I’m a little overwhelmed by all that Roo and I have to do between now and mid-December. So having some chunks of time to get things done would be kind of amazing. I start to daydream about being able to sort through all of Tad’s baby clothes so that we can get them ready for Sprout. Or having time to research day-care options for the spring. Or even taking some mid-day naps when I’m 30+ weeks pregnant! Or sitting in a coffee shop and people-watching by myself!
- We don’t know what we’ll want to do about Tad’s preschool schedule after Sprout is born. I’m guessing that we’ll probably want him to go to school on Fridays. It seems like Roo and I will want to be able to focus on the baby (and on napping when the baby is napping!) during maternity leave. And it might be good for Tad to have as much time as possible at school, where thing will be more familiar and less chaotic than at home. It’s hard to predict how it will all feel once Sprout is here, though. Maybe I’ll be happy to have someone around who I can talk to, even if that person is 4 years old and doesn’t take naps! But if it’s likely that he’ll go to school on Fridays after Sprout’s arrival, maybe we should start that schedule now–both so it’s a familiar routine, and so it doesn’t feel like another way in which the baby is taking our time and attention away from him.
So there’s all of these really good reasons for him to start going to school five days a week. But then I think about how awesome it has been to have a day a week to focus on my kid. I know he’ll start going to school every day when he starts kindergarten next year. And in the spring I’ll be spending Fridays with our new baby. But I’m not sure that I’m ready to give up this Tad-focused time quite yet. And I know that Tad misses his friends at school on Fridays, but I also think he might miss our special time together–especially as we all get ready for the arrival of his sister.
So I don’t know what the right answer is. Roo and I have talked about various options. Maybe he’ll go to school every other Friday? But won’t that be confusing for everyone? Or maybe he’ll go to school on Fridays and I’ll pick him up around lunchtime? But won’t that be a confusing change in routine too? We have a beginning-of-the-year conference with his teacher next week, and we’ll see what her advice is. And Roo and I will keep exploring our options. Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this? Any suggestions? Maybe a magical solution that we haven’t thought of?
The one thing that I keep coming back to is that, no matter what we decide to do going forwards, I’m so lucky to have had 4 1/2 years of Fridays with Tadpole.