When I left for massage therapy class early on Saturday morning I felt something like a release of pressure. After a week spent almost entirely inside the house with two kids (half of that time with both of them sick), stepping out into the chilly, foggy morning on my own was like a coming up for a huge gulp of air.
I sometimes think being a parent is like being an elastic band - you're stretched and twisted to work efficiently, you agree, you resist, you go with it, you want to snap, all the time indecisive. I love this / I struggle with this. I hate being away / I need some time away. I want to be at home / I need to work. Etc.
I drove to class, listening to my medical terminology CD and squinting to see through the fog, and despite my eagerness to get there, felt a tiny pang of melancholy as I pictured the boys waving bye bye to me in their pajamas, probably wondering where the hell I was off to before they'd even had their breakfast.
Ah the joys and challenges of parenting, served in equal measures.
But then I sat in class, writing my test and listening to the lecture, and became lost in what I was doing, and the little pang dissipated without my noticing it.
Coming home on Saturday and Sunday night on such a high and so refreshed reminded me how important this is. Time for me, time away - if only for a little while. Coming back home I felt as though I'd gained something that I could use to be a better parent. I felt like I'd found another part of me again - like I was once again someone with other things going on - things I really enjoy.
I've feared the idea of going out to work and leaving the boys - if only for a few hours, or a few days each week. But I'm learning my fear was merely a consequence of having spent the past few years at home - of not being in the habit of leaving them to do something for myself.
Now I know it's right. I need to work. I need that for myself.
And anyway, as I discovered, they - they boys and J - did incredibly well without me. A little too well actually... (Harumph!)