Why do I spend so much time wanting a break, when the minute I arrived in the security line, I feel lonely?
What?! Are you crazy, Nora? You finally get away from the kids-- and to be alone with girlfriends for the first time in probably ten years, and you're missing them already?
I guess so. Call me crazy, but when your life starts embedding in your children's lives more deeply with each passing year, I finally get what all those weepy-eyed college mothers are crying about.
When my kids were super little, I loved getting away. There was the time Travis and I ran away for three days to the Mexican beaches and I was so fed up with a one and a half and three year old, all I did for the whole car ride down there was eat almost an ENTIRE bag of Sunchips. Not fed up obviously, just delirious and hungry-- a bad combination when standing in a gas station.
Now that they are (almost) out of toddlerhood, and with the advent of school years upon me, I am more tied in than I ever thought.
This is when it is time to detox. I'm not saying to run away from your children maliciously. Or to neglect your duties or ignore your children's physical or emotional needs. I just agree with many other smarter old school mothers: I have to take care of myself.
This is a concept discussed with much more eloquence by Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea. She writes how important it is to create creative and emotional space for ourselves as women, because we get tied up in being caregivers.
I think we all need time, extended time, away from those we love as caregivers. It will honestly take me several days to detox from mom and wife mode and the distracting thoughts about dishwashers needing to be unloaded or to find that missing pacifier. I have to choose to distance myself, not by disconnecting or stop caring, but by getting away from the essential, well known belief women all have that it's all up to me.
When we get away, we know that no vegetables will be eaten, the floors won't be clean, the laundry bins will overflow and something WILL get lost or broken.
But in our love to be central to our households, we can sometime forget the freedom found in letting go.
It would have happened anyways: the laundry and cleaning will never cease. Food will spoil in the dark recesses of the fridge to the best of us. Tears will be shed anyways.
We're important but also important as an individual. Caring about yourself, specifically, your own soul, mind and body isn't wrong. It's a good thing for both you and the ones you are entrusting to others.
I feel this way every morning I put a little sweet kindergartner on the bus. I have to 'entrust their souls to God while doing good'.
A great speaker at our church said it well: faith is believing in character as much as capabilities. On a deeper level, I have to trust other caretakers that they are reliable in character as well as capabilities.
We would like to think that the kids will really miss us (most likely our spouses will after they spend a weekend or afternoon fending for it on their own), but we will probably miss them more. It is good for children to learn that the universe does not revolve around Mom either. Dads can really use the time alone, without us disturbing their mojo with interjections and 'that's not the way we usually do it' commentary.
So, here's from the flight deck: fasten your safety belts and take off-- take off for an hour: don't worry about your kids or think about how if you're not there present with them, that you are disappointing them. For full-time moms as well as full-time working moms this helps us survive as well as spend our emotional energy wisely. Taking time off also helps us to recharge our capacity for helping them through life and crazy heart emotions. Getting away helps us use other parts of our brains, including strategic and creative centers.
Friends, when was the last time you got away?? I'm just going to try not to text my husband reminders of a million details this weekend for starters :)