Monday, February 15, 2010

Elastic band parent.

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!)
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11 comments:

Tammy said...

That is exactly how I feel!!! I think sometimes we feel too much pressure and that we're somehow a bad parent to need or want some time for ourselves.. but I think exactly what you felt is right.. we are more balanced and then I think we appreciate and make the time we have with our family even more special and better quality! So happy you are enjoying the class!!

Heather said...

It's important to take some time for yourself sometimes, you need to break away to come back more 'you' and enthusiastic about being with them again.

Mwa said...

There's no need to feel guilty at all. If you still spend enough time with them and they're well looked after, it's better for all of you if you need it.

James (SeattleDad) said...

You definitely need some time for yourself.

Gald you are getting it.

..... Carmen said...

I'm so glad you are enjoying this - both the schoolwork and the change of scenery/pace of being out of the house and doing something for YOU! :)

Loukia said...

This is amazing news! Yay for you. I feel the same way, I love going to work everyday, and coming home to my boys. Seeing them run into your arms, isn't that such a great feeling? Lovely post. I'm glad it's going so well for you.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Award for you at mine. x

Metropolitan Mum said...

I hear you. I am pondering about the exact same things at the moment. Glad to hear that you came to a decision and are happy with it!

Elaine A. said...

When I got out for Mom's night my husband always goes on when I get home about how easy the kids were, blah, blah, blah.

Although I have to say I don't worry too much about it while I'm out anymore...

So glad you're doing something wonderful for yourself!

If I Could Escape . . . said...

This is so true. Really pleased for you. It's so important to take time for your needs and wants -- makes you a better mum in the long run.

Capital Mom said...

It's hard to step away. Your day becomes so tied to theirs. It feels very strange. I think I need to do it more.