Busy Being a Mom, Even When I’m Not

I haven’t written in a while because my kids just went to their dad’s for spring break. That means I’ve spent the last week doing equal parts of all of the following:

wishing they wouldn’t go
wishing they’d hurry and leave
feeling guilty for looking forward to the break
feeling guilty for enjoying the break
enjoying the hell out of the break
worrying about the kids
planning to get lots of work done
planning to catch up with all my friends
planning to do wicked things
planning to be alone and rest
feeling overwhelmed by all these expectations
peeling crawfish tails

Peeling the crawfish tails takes the longest. All that other stuff flits through my head at a mile a minute.

Today I was very adult. I fertilized my lawn, attended an insurance seminar, and checked the sticker on my windshield to make sure it wasn’t time to change my oil yet. Most importantly, I refrained from spending any money at all. If you know me in real life, you understand what a feat of strength that was.

Today my boss needed me a lot. Whenever that happens, I take pity on him. I want to hold a cool, damp washcloth to his head. But I couldn’t, because I was very, very busy. I worked all day, and while I was working, people came by to chat and put more work on my desk. I felt like a machine. I got dehydrated.

I’m taking Friday off, but I wish I’d taken more days off. It’s never enough.

This whole spring break/mommy trauma thing is just practice. It’s only a week. In the summer, my kids go away for longer and it totally freaks me out.

I was going to tell you a lot of stuff about the way it feels, when you have kids and then they suddenly go away for a while. It feels scary and exhilarating at the same time, like I imagine it must feel when you’re running towards a cliff’s edge in a hang glider.

But then I decided not to talk about it that much, because people without kids can’t know, and people with kids don’t need me to tell them. So… yeah.

Today, on the long commute home (I could have stayed near work and done happy hour, but I wasn’t yet ready for that), I tried to remember how I used to feel before I had kids. It’s weird, but I never can remember. I don’t think I ever will again. It’s like having kids destroys a part of your brain, in a way. Or dumps out part of your memory core. Oh, well.

My kids said they wanted to eat crawfish. I’m fighting the urge to feel guilty that I ate crawfish without them. Silly. Instead, I’ll just take them to eat crawfish when they get back. Duh.

If you call me and I don’t answer the phone, it’s because I’m almost never alone. I’m practicing being alone right now. It’s not at all as scary as it used to be, because having kids made me stronger. But weaker, too. Both at the same time. It’s a paradox. It’s an enigma, wrapped up in a mystery, tied up in a mortgage, and yet, at the same time, even hamsters and cavemen can do it. It’s magic. It’s torture. It’s awesome.

So I’m taking a break now and reflecting on all that. And I’m doing all the other stuff, too. (See list, above.)

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Posted in parenting on 03/13/2007 01:59 am

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