The last chapter of my parenting blog — FranklyStein

Me at deskThis is the last installment of FranklyStein, and my last week as editor of Chesapeake Family Life magazine.

It seems a little ironic that the same week my oldest is going off to college, I'm graduating from the parenting media industry and heading off to college too. I'll be working full time as a communications specialist at University of Maryland Baltimore.

For nearly 16 years, I've been the editor of a parenting magazine. When my oldest was 2 and my twins were a year old, I became the editor of Maryland Family Magazine, and have been at Chesapeake Family Life for the past 5 years. In the beginning, I worked just 10 hours a week — sharing the editor's job with another parent. The hours have increased over the years, but it's always been part time and incredibly flexible. It's been the perfect fit for me as I've raised my kids.

early blog picWhile working mostly from home, I've been able to take the kids to orthodontist appointments, attend field trips and stay home with them when they were sick. I could swing carpool and be the midday pickup if school let out early. I was around in the summer — working from the pool deck when they were little and later shuttling them to swim practice. I worked while they napped, while they were glued to a video and later, when they were in school. My workday was always disjointed and often went well into the night. But it was worth it. I was there for them.

But now they are older, and I'm ready to turn in the flexibility for a more normal workday. It's going to be a tough transition for all of us. I'm already looking at my calender and rescheduling mid-day doctors appointments. I'm gearing up for having to do grocery shopping on Saturdays, crossing my fingers that no one gets sick and hoping my fellow carpool driver will be able to pick up on all the early dismissal days.

I'm ready, however, to leave work at work and have my home life back. I'm hoping I might have time to read in the evenings, explore the world of Netflix and play board games with my middle schooler. I'm wondering if I should turn my home office back into a bedroom and let the three kids left at home have their own rooms. I can't imagine what it might be like to go on vacation and not have to bring work.

I also can't imagine what it will be like not to blog anymore. I've been writing since blogs — and my family — began. I've shared the ups and downs — the struggles with ADHD, issues with bullying, sports dilemmas, parents with dementia and more. My kids, however, are probably breathing a big sigh of relief that it's over. And it's time.

So that's all. That's the end of this chapter. Thanks to all of you for sharing my parenting struggles all these years. Good luck to you and wish me luck, too. Hopefully I can handle college life.

To read more FranklyStein click here

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Life editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 18, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.