HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
May 28, 2007, Herald Journal

A lunchtime kindergartner

By JENNIFER GALLUS

Transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a working-in-an-office mom has been a challenge this past school year.

Sensitivities that exist between the two groups of mothers prohibit me from calling myself a working mom, because, I’ve been reminded several times, stay-at-home moms work, too.

Yes, I know this, I was one for six years. I cherish every memory of staying at home with my boys. We are all moms, we all love our children, and we all work hard no matter if the work takes place in the home or in an office, or both.

I now know first hand that there are unique challenges that go with either path and no one path is right or wrong.

Would I encourage women to be stay-at-home moms? You bet, but I realize that not every mom can stay at home for various reasons.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ve had a hard time giving up the control that I once had over knowing every move my children made during the day.

At the time I started my “office job,” I went from having a kindergartner and a preschooler enrolled in half-day programs last year, to a first grader who was now gone all day and a morning kindergartner who was dismissed before lunch.

I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up my kindergartner from school every day and enjoy lunch with him before bringing him to my friend’s house for the afternoon.

As the school year comes to an end, I’m already starting to miss our lunch dates.

A couple days a week we would go to the school cafeteria for lunch. It may sound silly, but it brought back a lot of memories of elementary school lunches and surprisingly enough, things in the elementary cafeteria haven’t changed all that much since my days in school.

Also, I would get to see my first grader when we frequented the school cafeteria, which was a big bonus.

Other days of the week, my kindergartner and I would either hit an area restaurant or buzz home for lunch.

Some weeks, where I was up to my ears in work, I would get tired towards the end of the week of my lunchtime running.

However, the days when my kindergartner would go to a friend’s house after school on the bus, and I didn’t get to see him at lunch, were somewhat lonely and I found myself missing my lunch buddy.

Now that he will be going into first grade next year, I will no longer get to share my lunch hour with him and I will have to let go of even more control.

My mom always tells me, “When your kids are small, your worries are small. When your kids are big, your worries are even bigger because you don’t always know where they are, or who they’re with (mostly referring to the age after they are driving).

I can definitely see her point and take comfort in the fact that I do still know exactly where they are and who they’re with, even if it’s not with me.

I have a feeling that I will be popping into the school cafeteria off and on next year, and for as long as I don’t “embarrass” my boys.

My lunchtime excursions with my kindergartner are coming to a close. I wouldn’t have changed a minute of it and I believe the blow in becoming an office mom was softened by it.

Kid-isms

My 6-year-old had just gotten a new pair of camouflage flip-flops and wanted to wear them to church. I said he couldn’t, and that the church doesn’t like people to wear them to church, to which he replied, “What if they were Holy flip-flops?”