I’ve been thinking a lot about the choices we have made in the last 8 years to craft this life of flexibility. Flexibility was born out of the need to become creative with childcare, to make it more affordable while still working as many full time hours as possible. It was also born out of the recognition that I don’t do well with routine, particularly within office and corporate culture. Flexibility is so valued in our lives that we have held off on important, big decisions like opening a store. Even though we crafted this life of flexibility to be more present and involved parents while juggling full time work hours, ironically it’s now the kid’s schedules that have made our lives become more scheduled and a bit more rigid. With Claudine entering Kindergarten in 3 months, our lives will be even more ruled by the school calendar.
I was talking about this with my friend Megan the other day, who is also struggling to adapt to this life according to school schedules. It’s not just that family vacations now need to be coordinated with school vacations (and with the rest of the world which makes traveling always on peak times), but many things revolving around the kids need to be planned, reserved and paid for well in advance. The kids have been committed to summer camp, which starts in a month, since last November. When I recently looked ahead at the calendar, I noticed that pretty much every week of summer, and in some instances, ever day of the week is accounted for between camp, Brooklyn Flea dates, work deadlines and our trip to the West Coast. It suddenly made summer seem fleeting and all accounted for.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different and maybe something to get used to when you now have school age children, but I won’t lie and say that I don’t miss how life used to be more spontaneous. Not just for the big things like taking off for months at a time and traveling around the country in a car with no agenda, which was a big part of my life in my early 20s, but for little things as well – friends dropping by, last minute dinner plans, a movie in the middle of the day. I want – and believe I can – bring back some of that spontaneity back into our lives. Our calendar may be filled, our business may tie us down to home, and Mark’s schedule may have become less flexible than when we first started the company, but we are making some choices even if it does comes at a price. Our business and online store will be closed for nearly 3 weeks in August which also means we will not be earning any money during this time. It also takes a while to ramp sales back up from such a long break and I admit, it does make me really nervous to be closed for so long, but we are doing it anyway. I look at these vacation photos from our most recent trip, a trip where we had to pull the girls out of school for 3 days and close our business down for a week and think…was it worth it? Undoubtedly, yes.
Every stage of parenting brings on new challenges and a period of adjustments. It rarely stays the same and so it keeps you on your toes. Perhaps my once spontaneous life can never return to what it once was as long as the girls are young and living at home, but I also recognize that since they have become a bit older, school schedules aside, it’s totally possible to take spontaneous trips to the museum and little outings here and there and not be ruled by nap and bedtime schedules. If I can’t be spontaneous for whole summers, I can be for just a day. You lose some freedom, but you gain others.