Our son is back to school, but our daughter gets to stay home another day. What gods of winter decided that she would get a bad cold the last few days of winter break???? Why couldn’t this have started during the first few days??? Will we all come down with it now???
I’m a somewhat reluctant stay-at-home mom and I was so looking forward to getting my personal space back. Maybe tomorrow I will be the Queen of my own domain, but with -35 windchill predicted…I may have both of them with me.
It has been a good break and Christmas/New Year. Lots of family time, out-of-town grandparents visiting (more on their way this coming weekend), and lazy mornings. But we are also still unpacking from our move, painting, and modifying/adding storage options (don’t know where the previous owners stored their laundry soap!).
I love my kids. Love my husband. Will always fondly remember time skating alone on the neighborhood pond with our son and baking cakes for Daddy with our daughter’s new Easy Bake Oven.
Yet, all the people and distractions and needs without “alone time” wear me down. I’m an introvert, and while I carved out some time here and there and took it slow many mornings, the roles of mom and wife and host were always there. It is as if I am constantly watching for flying pucks as I keep a preschooler entertained, and try to watch my son on the ice as their Dad coaches.
I realized just how depleted I am when I made a solo run to Target for cat litter – I felt so free and giddy. Yes, it was Target with all it’s well-placed marketing and overwhelming choices which makes my head spin and cart fill up quickly, but mostly it was that for a short time I had one job: buy cat litter.
I could focus on one thing without being distracted by anyone else. As it is, just typing the previous 250 words took over half an hour, as I had to put “Cinderella” on the TV, got a girl ice cream (yes, she did already have a healthy breakfast), and a few other things.
The Target trip wasn’t my ideal introvert reprieve, but it let off a little bit of the pressure.
As I write this I can hear the thoughts of those who work full-time smirk at this complaint. No, I don’t have to get up and go in to work like others, spend the entire day working hard, and then come home to projects around the house and helping with the kids. But it isn’t about where we work, what we do, or whatever demands are placed on us by others or ourselves.
It’s about temperament. It’s about self-care in the midst of whatever situation we find ourselves.
I’ve worked full-time and part-time, I’ve worked in corporate, government, and non-profit. I’ve worked with children, youth, adults and seniors, and even a decent helping of foreign dignitaries. I’ve had amazing bosses, incompetent bosses, and even an abusive boss. I’ve loved some jobs, struggled with some, and “lived through” others. And now my primary job is caring for, teaching, and coordinating resources for two individuals with constantly changing needs, including one with unique issues. I know from all of these situations that until we are actually doing the job as part of our regular life, can we know what it takes for us to remain physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. We are all different – and therefore even a stay-at-home parent can’t be judged by others for wanting her (or his) time back.
I am looking forward to getting things done with minimal interruptions and a timely manner, and running errands without managing one or two small bodies needing extra layers during these frigid months. I am looking forward to actually getting something done, including working on my long list of writing ideas I hope to get published, and accomplishing some tasks associated with my professional calling.
I just want to get stuff done. I just want to feel like I’ve accomplished something.
There have been days when my husband retreats to a private room in the public library to work undisturbed. Well, instead of retreating to the library, I wait until everyone leaves (or I drop them off somewhere else). So, perhaps tomorrow I will get my space back, be able to focus on one thing at a time without constant interruptions, and then when my husband and children are home, be able to more fully be there for them.
We all need to find the right balance, or in the midst of life, try to carve out opportunities to get our heads back on straight. For some, it is time with friends, for others it is the opportunity to be alone with ones own thoughts. However it is, I hope you find it for yourself. In the meantime…for all those introverted stay-at-home parents, I pray that all your loved ones get out of your house, at least for awhile.
Postscript 1/10/15: I want to thank my Crazy Aunty Peggy for her praise, understanding and editing. Don’t know if I got all the typos, but they are a definite sign that I was doing more than just typing and thinking the other day. Also, as predicted, our son had a day off of school, followed by trying to fill Thursday with as many errands as possible in the midst of a blizzard (almost 700 car accidents in our state that day), and in-laws arriving for the weekend. Maybe next week…