It is no surprise that most of our friends and acquaintances are parents. It wasn’t really planned that way, but that’s how life turned out. A few days ago, Hubby and I were catching up with a friend. We were talking about having our kids returned to school and needing space from them for everyone’s benefit. He said something that stuck with me, as it truly reflected my own feelings. He said, “I LOVE my kids, but I want to LIKE them as well”. To me, this made a lot of sense. As parents, no one would doubt how much we love our kids. There is very little doubt about how much we would do for our kids, and what they mean to us. I would step in front of a train for my children. But sometimes, gosh, they are not very likable.
It takes a lot to admit that there are times I need space from my kids. There is a lot of guilt and shame put on parents who think this – from society. Aren’t we supposed to love our kids unconditionally, aren’t we supposed to relish in every single moment and never want to be away from them? How could we ever fathom being apart?? When they were younger other moms would ask me about my thoughts on daycare. I would explain that I love my children, but I’m open to other people loving my children too.
Because the time I spend with them should be positive. As much as possible I want to be able to enjoy our interactions. And truth be told, there are times when my judgement is clouded because I am so frustrated.
Like many other parents, I have enough quips and one-liners to write a book. N, in particular, is full of them. He’s not saying them to be particularly sassy, but more in a matter-of-fact kind of way. He is our lawyer and will say whatever is on his mind – often times trying to argue his way out of things. For example, when I stated that I didn’t want to repeat myself again, he kindly pointed out that I “just did, so it’s too late”. Or when I told him I’m tired of asking him to do something he replied that perhaps I should “just go take a nap”. Looking back on those comments I can laugh because the truth is they are hilarious. However, at the moment they are definitely less than funny.
Hubby has told me on numerous occasions I need to loosen up. He says that I am wound very tight when it comes to the children and that I can come across as being very short with them. This is a constant struggle for me, as I want to be the easy-going, laissez-faire kind of parent… but if you have read any of my previous posts you know that could not be further from the truth. The truth is that I need a break sometimes. Self-reflection and self-awareness have taught me that can be in the form of hiding in the pantry and counting to 10.
I am lucky that the kids are old enough that they will be okay in those 10 seconds…. not like when they were toddlers and 10 seconds of silence meant mayhem was occurring in the other room.
As I go through this post, I reflect on what the purpose is – what it is that I am trying to convey. Sometimes I feel like these topics are glorified brain-dumps. A string of consciousness tied together by a thin line. But the irony is that is probably the most reflective of a mom-brain. Twenty-five different tabs open and running simultaneously… but I digress. The truth is, that I am hoping to shed light on a stigma that has plagued us for far too long. The idea that our children are always full of rainbows and sunshine and that we shall love them and want to be around them every waking minute is fraught with mistruths. We can be great parents AND need space from our kids sometimes. These ideas are not mutually exclusive, even if we are led to believe that they are. Thinking so doesn’t make us bad parents – it makes us human.
This is life. Love, Mom.