One of the paradoxes of parenting young children is that you can long to be close to them and yearn to be away from them at the same time.
Today I’m spending the better part of the day away from the kids. I had my book club coffee date this morning, ran some errands, and now I’m writing at the bookstore with about an hour left before I meet the family for dinner.
I love days like this. I’m with the kids so much that it’s refreshing to have some time to myself. Even something as simple as being able to run into Walgreens for one little thing without having to haul three kids in with me is incredibly liberating. Or blasting a song that the kids would complain about in the car. Or enjoying a cup of coffee without anyone tugging, snuggling, nursing, whining, begging, or otherwise disrupting the experience.
Yet, I miss those little moppets. I’m not itching to go home, but there’s a little part of me that’s always wondering how they’re doing, what they’re doing, etc. I want to give them a hug, even though just this morning I was feeling “touched out.”
I’ve learned that it only takes a few hours of “me time” to fulfill that need. After a whole day, I’m ready to jump back into hands-on mothering with gusto. But those few hours are imperative. Without them, it’s easy to start resenting the kids’ constant needs. Just a little breathing room, a little space to think away from the house, away from parenting and household responsibilities, makes a huge difference.
So does meeting up with other moms without the moppets. Our book club meeting this morning was wonderful. The ladies I met with have been friends of mine for some time, but we almost always get together for playdates or classes with our nine kids. Just the three of us getting to chat uninterrupted in a lovely little coffee shop felt like a great gift. Such a simple thing, but soooooo good for my soul.
This may be a little cheesy, but it just dawned on me that the word “home” has “me” in it. (It also has “ho,” but we’ll just ignore that for now.) Without some “me” time for mom, our “home” is incomplete. Today was a great reminder of that truth.
So now I’m all refreshed and raring to go keep a 2-yr-old busy at a restaurant while we celebrate four family members’ birthdays.
Wish me luck. I may be yearning for some more me time before the evening is up. 🙂