my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

June 27, 2012

absence makes the heart grow fonder

i love my kids, i really do. they are my world. honestly, that statement is more true than i'd like, sometimes. in the eyes of many, i am a stay at home mom and nothing else. so without my children beside me, what does that make me?

at the moment, i'm not sure what it makes me. every summer, we pack my boys off to spend a few weeks with my in-laws. they live up town, a few hours away, and though we usually visit at least once a month throughout the year, it's never enough time for everybody to do all the things they want to do. and so, when school lets out, and when cub scout camp is done, they go and visit without my hubby and i. and this year, fish went too.

it's great for them, because without me there, they don't really have to follow my rules. though it's funny to hear them talk on the phone, because i can tell the certain routines we've established that they still try to follow, the ones that don't work in any place but home. but they get to stay up late and drink sugary drinks and watch all sorts of tv shows they're not allowed to watch at home. but what my boys love is that they get to go fishing and camping and ride their atvs, all the outdoor stuff they love to do that, unfortunately, we get too busy to do at home sometimes. so for them, these weeks spent away are a great vacation.

they're great for me, too. there are so many things that i put off doing because i just wasn't able to get it done with all the kids and their little grabby fingers here. things that i bought to do all the way back in december, projects i'm finally able to tackle. and there are still boxes i'm unpacking, which just goes so much faster when you don't have to stop for drinks or diaper changes or to break up fights. these weeks are my one time off i get each year, the only time i get more than 24 hours without my kids, where i can be home and do work.

it's nice for me. it's something i look forward to. it's something i desperately need some times. people throw around a lot of terms about parenting, attachment and helicopter, the french method and the tiger moms, discipline styles and punishment types, and it all makes my head spin sometimes. the thing is, i don't really feel i have a choice in the way that i parent, though maybe i do and i'm just lazy and not creative enough to see it. the truth is that i am home with my kids all the time, and if we go anywhere, we go there all together. so if they need something, i know. and if they have an issue, i am there to deal with it right away instead of them trying to work things out on their own. and as far as fish is concerned, i am here for her, always here for her, so whether it's 7pm or 3am, she just walks over and gets my attention to try and get what she wants.

and it's hard, and it's exhausting. and it's especially difficult to get others to understand what it's like. because unless i sit and pretend i don't see them, they just keep bugging me and yelling and screaming until they get my attention. or if i do ignore them, any of them, and they get the hint to go off and do their own thing, five minutes later it usually gets worse. conflict resolution is not a strong point for any of my kids, but then they've never had a chance to practice it, because they always have me. and i have talked to doctors and such, and they've said that sometimes, especially with fish, sometimes it's not so much that she wants or needs, but rather she likes to watch me jump.

that's why these weeks away have been hard on her, especially in the beginning. she wanted to come home, and was screaming and crying and throwing fits. and my dear mother-in-law said she was fine, that she would tell hubby and i when it was enough and we needed to come and get our little girl. because though everybody up there loves her, they won't carry her or hold her or cuddle her like i do. which i know, at this age, i don't need to do, but sometimes it's just easier to stop what i'm doing and put everything away to hold her than to listen to her screaming for ten minutes.

though some said they can't understand why i don't miss all the kids and want to go get them. and i do miss them. but sometimes i miss the ability to sit and watch a movie without having to pause it ten times. or i miss being able to get projects done that i've been putting off simply because i wouldn't be able to focus on them. sometimes i miss reading all the books i have, the ones with lots of words and no picutres. mostly i miss getting to take more than a five minute shower. and sleeping in. and not having to share whatever it is that i'm eating, and actually enjoy my food.

i love being a mom. but i also love doing activities that don't define me as such. and i miss all my kids, and i know they miss me, but i also know this is good for all of us. we all need distance to grow, and time by ourselves to be who we are as ourselves and not just as an extension of somebody else.

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