-I've started a habit of grabbing the car keys as soon as my husband gets home from work and hitting the road. I need a little bit of a mental break, need to get out of the house. Get things done that are nigh impossible with two kids in tow.
Last night I didn't get home until almost midnight. Interestingly, I'm beginning to wonder if this habit looks maybe on the outside like I don't want to spend time with my husband or I don't enjoy spending time with my kids. Those things could't be further from the truth. Sometimes I just need a moment to breathe. A moment where no sticky toddler hands ruin the shirt I just bought.
This period in our lives where my kids are so small and so much in need of my love, my attention, my help, and my supervison - it's finite. In a few years, they'll both be too busy running about to have time for a cuddle in mom's lap. What is it that they say? "The days are long but the years are short"? I couldn't agree more. Two of my friends confessed they live for naptime - and I feel the same way. I've turned timing my children's naps into an art form, because I need the break in my day, too.
Over the last week, I've been listening to an audiobook (I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara). No, that's inaccurate. I've been devouring it. It's worked out really well, since I've been doing a lot of driving back and forth from our old place to our new place. But when I'm at home with the kids, I can't zone out and escape into my little true crime world. I guess I've decided that I'll be doing that escaping after my husband gets home.
When I'm driving in the car by myself, I catch myself gasping for a moment, thinking I've forgotten one of my kids somewhere along my route. Even when they're not in my care, when someone else is looking after them, I feel the weight of maternal responsibility. Also maybe that's just my anxiety - but either way, the feeling is inescapable. Of course, I am responsible for them.
Taking that small break, that short respite, has really made a difference in my patience level with my son. Having just a bit more tolerance has made me a better mom overall, I think. I know I wouldn't have that reserve of patience for him if I didn't get a moment to myself. A few hours where my children are being cared for by someone I trust. For a few moments, I'm the only one that needs me to do anything. No one is touching me or clawing at my nipple with razor sharp fingernails.
I'm sure there are parents who will judge me for needing that break, and that's their prerogative. Personally I don't think it's wise to feed into Mommy Wars. I'll never begrudge anyone who needs to let their hair down every once in a while. Grab your Aldi quarter and walk really slowly down each of the aisles. Do it twice if you want. I won't tell.