Alone at Home
When the Boys are Away...
Yesterday I found myself in a spot I hadn't been in for at least a year: childless. After 2 weeks of a baby still recovering from his wounds and not sleeping well, my husband decided to take my oldest son to see a movie. Great, leave me with the fussy baby all alone. I couldn't help but to think that, I felt bad for thinking that but I have been going on 3 hours of sleep a day since the surgery and I was exhausted and cranky and was pretty sure if I had to listen to anymore baby crying that I would go insane. My husband then informed me that he had already asked my mother-in-law to watch the baby while he went out to give me a "well deserved break". At first, I was dancing around, excited planning the nap-to-gaming ratio that I was going to accomplish while they were away. I should feel guilty for how excited I was, but I can honestly say I didn't.
That was until it was really sinking in that I wouldn't have the boys around. As I reminded my husband the strict instructions for the baby at least a 100 times, I realized that this was going to be a little more difficult than I had thought. I packed way too many snacks, diapers, and bottles. I know I did. I even stuffed the diaper bag with toys. I reminded my husband "don't forget his Build-a-Bear and his monkey blankie". I couldn't fit them in the diaper bag, but the baby needed them. I picked up my baby, and I held him tight. My husband said "it's time to go" and tried to steal my baby! I held tight saying "my baby", realizing that maybe this was more difficult for me than I had thought.
I dreamed of a quiet house, no crying babies or running feet of my 10-year-old sliding into the wall because he wanted to pretend that he could ice skate on the kitchen floor. That dream turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I was lost, completely lost. I was alone in the quiet. No amount of blaring music helped. Even the loud annoying barks of those "damn dogs" didn't comfort me. Surprisingly they didn't annoy me as much as usual, I enjoyed listening to the noise. I miss the noise and the chaos without the children around. I don't know what to do with myself when I don't have them.
I did the dishes. I contemplated laundry, which I decided I didn't have the energy or the will to do. I tried to play the 3DS and get some Animal Crossing in. No dice. I almost made it to my computer for some SimCity or WoW. Still no will. I have at least 30 books I wanted to start reading. Nope, too antsy. I ended up deciding to get ahead of my blog and hubs. (Here I am.) It shows the influence they have on me: my intended hub isn't what you're reading. You're reading about how I miss my family when they are gone.
I decided that there could be worse things I could write about. In fact, I was willing to bet that I wasn't the only one lost without my kids. I'm sure as parents we always have that moment where we long for the silence and regret it afterwards. I'm not saying we don't end up finding a way to occupy our time anyways and forgetting how anxious we are when we're separated from our loved ones. I'm simply pointing out that between allowing ourselves the enjoyment of peace and quiet, we struggle with the separation.
We need to learn to be okay with it, without the guilt. Sure, we want to be with them every second while they are children because they grow up so quick and leave us. We can't be, they need to be away from us as much as we need to be away from them sometimes. This is how they become individuals with their own identity. This is how we, the parents, learn to have our own identity separate of simply being "mom". Besides, they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That's absolutely true because I know I'll hug my boys so tightly when they get back because I missed them. But I can't say I won't set up a nice long bubble bath until then.
... The Moms Will Play
They always tell you that your children suffer from separation anxiety and how you can help your child deal with it. But what about your separation anxiety? I don't think that too many places fully address that, but fear not. I am going to give some tips to deal with it.
- You can be just as anxious as your child. Think you're anxious leaving your child? Imagine how they feel. If you're feeling a lot of anxiety, you're going to make it worse on your child. You need to take a deep breath and remember the rules of leaving your child. Make the goodbyes quick, don't let them linger. Show that you trust your babysitter, even if you have to lie to yourself to make it more believable. And let them know you love them.
- They will be okay. Say you leave them at their grandparents. Remember the most important thing: they raised you or your spouse so they couldn't have done that bad of a job, right? (I hope I didn't make that worse...) They raised children, they've been there and they've done that. Relax a little. Besides, what better babysitters are there than the grandparents? They love their grandchildren to pieces, want to spoil them rotten, and love every second they have with them.
- Leave the guilt with the kids. I feel guilty leaving my children, even if it's for a trip to the grocery store. It's normal to feel guilty leaving your kids, but don't. Feeling guilty makes things much worse on both of you. You need this time away as much as they do, even if it's for a few moments. They are safe with their caretakers, and enjoy yourself. (This is also key in the next tip.) Everyone needs a vacation, even if it's from the people they love the most.
- Don't neglect yourself. This is probably one of the most important of the tips. You need to go out with your friends every now and then. You need to go out on a date with your spouse. You need that time to be yourself, not "mom". You also need to fight the urge to talk about your kids every second when they aren't around. You know you love them, your friends know you love them, your husband knows you love them. You don't need to prove your love for them every second you're not with them, you need to enjoy yourself. So relax, enjoy your time out. This time away will benefit both you and your kids. A stress-free happy mother is a better mother. She won't yell at the children needlessly, and she can enjoy them more.
So Enjoy Your Time Away!
Remember: You can do this. Children for generations have managed to survive while parents enjoyed a night out here and there. Whether your going out to dinner, staying in for a movie, or just taking this time to catch up on your beauty sleep, you should let go of the guilt and anxiety and do this for everyone. It's easier said than done, but it's really for the best. So enjoy yourself Mom, you earned it for being the best mom in the world!