Today I broke up sibling fights, listened to my children stomp & whine while I contemplated how to best address that behavior (love them more, time out, loss of privilege, long talk..), I homeschooled my two oldest while they continued to pick at one another, worked on potty training my youngest, had a work call, fed the children, kept them alive, ran to the library, chased and shushed children the whole time, stopped by hobby lobby, forgot to eat lunch, came home at dinnertime, carried a kid while trying to cook dinner and served my husband literally cold meat at lettuce and called it a salad. I couldn’t even find the cherry tomatoes, which I later noticed right in front of my face.
I could list a million tiny things that added up to this chaos of a day, but honestly I’m just too tired to even write it out.
Don’t get me wrong. I love love love my children and I’m insanely happy with my life. My husband is my favorite man ever. I love my job. I love homeschooling. I am grateful and thankful and all the things. But sometimes I want to run away…. for just a few hours. I want to get in my car with no expectation of what time I’ll be returning and get a ginormous chai latte and go to Target and Home Goods and At Home and Soma to shop for freaking underwear BY MYSELF!! I mean I’m not shouting, but I am. I want to look at succulents and pick out pots to put them in and find just the right color combo and not chase children around who are ripping succulents and breaking things and taking the price tags off the shelves. Yep! You’re welcome, Hobby Lobby, that was us!
As I walk through motherhood and it’s joys and struggles, I often think of my mothers. I don’t have a relationships with them really. My biological mother or my step mother. They ran away…. and choose not to be in my life. As a child, then young adult, then mother I’ve gone through various emotions as I process all the new understandings of their actions.
They both have some amazing qualities of being spontaneous, raw, funny, determined, outspoken, non-conforming, unique ladies. I like to think they both imparted a piece of themselves into my personality. In another world, we’re best friends. They watch my kids and give me a break. They do crazy crafts with them, make jokes about my hippie parenting and healthy cooking. They help me do DIYs in my house, make me meals and watch my kids when I have a baby, and just show up. That’s not the world we’re currently living in and that’s ok.
If you know me in real life, you know I have a strong attachment to my children. Some might say a little too strong. I don’t like to leave them, especially when they’re young. I feel immense guilt. I believe I’m acting out of fear. Fear that they’ll somehow think that this is a world where they aren’t a priority to me. I worry that me taking time away from them means that I’m choosing my freedom over being their mother.
After almost 8 years of motherhood, I’m learning that for me to be a GOOD mother, I need a break. I NEED time where I’m not being asked 52 questions a minute and my name isn’t being called out every 3 seconds. With 3 kids, I constantly feel needed & pulled into 3 different directions. Our brains need to reset. We need to fill our cups.
Sometimes I’m a really bad mom. I let them eat waffles for lunch, I yell, I let them stay up past midnight, I don’t finish our homeschool for the day. My house is almost always a disaster. Sometimes I serve them puny dinners because I just can’t mentally get it together. But you know what? I show up. I am there. I am in their lives. I admit to my mistakes, apologize, listen to their side of the story. I don’t know it all and I’m far from being perfect, but I’m here to tell you that it’s ok.
Do your kids drive you insane? Yep, me too.
Can you not remember the last time you showered? Yep, me too.
Do you wonder if you’re somehow permanently damaging your children because you can’t get your ish together? Yep, me too.
Wanting to escape for a few hours doesn’t make you a bad mom. It means that you are momming your freaking heart out and you need a refuel. Chin up mama. You’re doing great. Take the break you need and jump right back in with arms open wide.