The sun was slowly waking up as I sat with my cup of coffee, enjoying a morning of peace and quiet. But after one sip, I was jolted out of my serene moment. “Mommy! What are we doing today,” asked my daughter as she waltzed down the stairs in her sleepy state. And just like that my quiet time was over. I love my daughter, but I’m counting down the days until she starts school. I am more than ready for some “me time”.

I always knew I was meant to be a mother. I longed for the days of baby cuddles and toddler dance lessons, and looked forward to passing down my favorite childhood memories. But the early days of parenthood weren’t easy; the long nights of baby cries and pumping took a toll on me. I felt like a zombie going through the daily motions of life. It’s all part of the journey called parenting. There are difficult days, but the joy and sweet moments far outweigh the tough ones.

As the years go by, my role has shifted. I’ve always been a career woman, but I’ve learned that family comes first. My primary job title has become “Mommy”—at least according to my daughter. I manage to squeeze in 40 hours of work in between making my daughter breakfast, helping her change clothes, shuttling her to school and activities and kissing her boo-boos. For years, I felt guilty when I when I loathed parts of parenting. I felt like I should embrace the good, the bad and every moment in between.

But you know what? Kids can drive you crazy! It’s OK to want your own time.

I miss the days of sleeping, without being startled awake at 6am. I miss the days of going the bathroom without little hands creeping under the door. I miss my clean car, which is currently filled with sticks and leaves that my child smuggled in from the park. I miss uninterrupted phone calls. Even when I hide in my closet, the nagging “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” arrives at my door within minutes. I miss the days when my child would listen and when my temper was tame. Yes, I know this is what I signed up for when I gave birth, but even moms are allowed to complain.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my daughter and I love being a parent. But, somewhere between the baby stage and the preschool field trips, I lost my identity. Years of putting my child first meant that my hobbies, date nights, and even self-care, were put on the back burner. And that’s not healthy. So forgive me, as I get excited that we’re only a month away from the school year starting. I’m more than ready for some time to myself.

In the meantime, I’m making sure my daughter has the best summer ever. We spend our days at the pool, meeting friends at the park and eating plenty of ice cream. I cherish the quiet moments of cuddling on the couch watching movies, knowing that some day she won’t want to be hugged. And even though my daughter knows how test my patience, I embrace the whining. My five-year-old still needs me and that makes my heart happy.

As summer zips by and we inch closer to August, I see light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, I’ll be sad as my daughter heads off Kindergarten. That major milestone is enough to make most parents well up with tears. But, I’ll also be patting myself on the back. My daughter is happy, healthy and has a strong head on her shoulders. And while she starts this exciting new stage in life, it’s time for my next chapter. I’m looking forward to a little quiet time at home, rediscovering who I am.

Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”