Monday, May 20, 2013

Seems like there were a lot of moms who had days with their kids on Mother's Day. Well, I had a different kind of wish and different kind of gift. I spent almost two entire days mostly by myself. I didn't go to a retreat or take a vacation away from Minneapolis. I stayed at my house. But for two weekends in a row Brad gave me a break from mothering. And it was exactly what I needed. It's emotionally/intellectually difficult as Mother's Day approaches to feel the reality of your thankfulness for your kids and to know that what you are doing is important, but to feel so stretched and weary and, even, irritated by your children that you would like to just "not be in charge", to not make 17 decisions when you need to buy new underwear for a child, to not have every thought and action interrupted so many times that you can't remember what you were even trying to say or do. To not deal so often with other peoples' bodily fluids and hygiene.

Last week I talked with a mom that I don't know very well while waiting to pick up the two younger boys from preschool. She had always wanted to stay home with her kids-- one of her dreams growing up. And for her first girl she was able to for awhile during the time her husband was overseas in the Iraq War. But now she and her husband both work full-time at Target to pay bills. She told me she stays up until almost 2 every morning to get her chores and housework done. Her and her husband work opposite shifts to work out childcare so they see each other in passing which makes things even harder. That's just one person's story -- and she isn't bitter or despairing about it  -- maybe a little sad, but she's okay with the way things are. And I know her kids feel loved and will most likely be just fine.. What I know is: I am very very blessed to have these kids and to be home with them during this season of their life. And I know that full-well. But it is emotionally and mentally exhausting for me too.

I never realized how much time I have always had alone. I worked retail books for a long time which definitely was heavy on people-interaction but I went home at the end of my shift. And I even lived with my parents and two of my siblings for a number of years as an adult, but there was always a room to myself, and furthermore I wasn't "in charge" -- I could help out but I could also slip away to be by myself. To process things. To read. To work on a project in silence. As the kids grow out of naps and as their needs for conversation and more complex relationship-interaction grow, my opportunities for solitude and quiet-space continue to shrink. I am trying to find ways to work this need into my normal routine so that I don't become resentful of the kids, so that I can continue to process life, so that I have more to give the kids when I am with them. 

I know with our decision to have the kids in public school, there is coming a day, soon, when I will have that kind of space regularly, and it will be very different. Until then, I have a kind and wise husband who gives me space to be alone. And sometimes he forces it on me. And I am grateful. Grateful for a chance to catch my breath and return to mothering a little stronger and with a little more grace.

p.s. That is my actual bike -- Isn't it pretty? Brad gave it to me as a birthday present a couple years ago to celebrate the end of my child-bearing adventures. The perfect-for-me bike basket is from my mom and dad a couple Christmases ago. Yay!

1 comment:

Leah Miller said...

Yes, I love the bike.

And I love hearing your thoughts on this. I can relate a lot, but also can't. I hate being by myself. :) Even when I need alone time, I'm on facebook or email or something, still interacting with someone! What's wrong with me!?
You are doing a great job at seeing what you need to move forward. And your kids are so lucky to have you and Brad.