Ever found your keys in the fridge? Yeah, me too.
Moms feel like our brains shrink when we have kids. We feel so spacey, and air-headed, and we put our canned goods in the freezer and the milk in the cupboard and we blame it on hormones and sleep deprivation.
But my kids slept great (I was really lucky) and I STILL felt like I had my head up my ass all the time.
I think the space-headed-ness is at least partly because, with your kids around, your brain is absolutely full. At least half your attention is on them. That’s why moms do insane things like burn ourselves on hot plates—we forget we just took it out of the oven. Or put coffee grounds in the oatmeal. We have way too much crap floating around in our heads.
Aside from the daily monotony of running a house, we are constantly unconsciously thinking, Where are they? Are they safe? Are they feeding napkins and plastic spoons into the toaster? Is the cat disappearing into the dyer? Are they about to descend upon you and demand food? Will you soon hear that call of “That’s MINE!” or “STOP hitting me with that!” or, from the bathroom, “MOM! Come look at this poop I made! Can you help me wipe?” *SIGH*
But recently, I entered a whole new phase of motherhood: as of September of this year, both my children are in school, full-time. (I homeschooled Faerie Child for 1st – 3rd grades, but we finally found the perfect school for her. La Diva started 1st grade this year, so SHE is gone for a full day.)
They are both away. For 6 hours a day. Every day. *SOB OF JOY* I know I’m not supposed to love it. I know I’m supposed to pine for their baby days, and feel sad that they’re growing up so fast. In fact, whenever I make a comment about her getting bigger, or being so responsible, 9-year-old Faerie Child asks me, “Are you so sad ‘cause we’re growing up so fast?” I’m honest with her. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I tell her, “I’m GLAD you’re growing up. It means I’m doing my job right.”
I loved having my kids around so much. I really did. I don’t feel judged when homeschooling moms say things like, “I homeschool because I choose to spend my time with my children. I actually like my children.” Well, come to think of it, they are probably judging me, I just don’t give a shit.
But—typically for me—suddenly, one day, I was just DONE. I was done having them around 24/7, with short, SHORT breaks when they were at activities. I was done with never having all the space in my brain just for myself.
When they are out of the house, and I know they are safe and well and cared for, it’s like all that room in my brain is suddenly MINE again. ALL MINE!!! Bwaaaa haaa haaa!
I started working–in a real office, not just with my laptop at my kitchen table–2 or 3 days a week. SCORE! The office is an hour away. BOOOO—is what I thought at first. Turns out, I LOVE it. That hour each way is really, truly ALL MINE. I cannot possibly multi-task on the road, so I get to be alone in my own head.. and not feel guilty for sitting on my ass
Also, I rediscovered something: I like myself. I think I’m pretty rad—when I’m not cooking mac and cheese AGAIN, directing housework traffic, overseeing chores, or losing it because of YET ANOTHER mess left behind for me to clean up. In those two hours on the road, I am just me—in all my car-dancing-to-loud-90s-music glory.
AND… I find when the kids are home, and I am home, I actually WANT to hang out with them. I can even put up with 22 minutes of Hannah Montana on Netflix just to hear them giggle maniacally. Because, after a break from them, that giggling no longer makes me gird my loins for the inevitable, “MOM! She hit me!” I relax and just enjoy the giggling.