Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Break from Motherhood

I spend more time alone with my children than I ever thought I would.
My husband travels for his job and when he is on a trip is gone for weeks at a time. Being the only adult in the house means 
I am always taking into account my husband’s thoughts on each and every thing I decide because even though he isn’t here most of the time, his feelings count and he deserves a say, a vote or at least a sideways glance at his opinion on most of these matters.

There are a few things I don’t do. Since I left my outside the home job almost two years ago, I don’t have to go to work to bring home a paycheck. I also don’t get any time to myself. I get no commute alone in the car to listen to the radio station of my choice. I get no lunch break. I get no bathroom breaks.

OK, that last one isn’t true. I do get bathroom breaks. I get to trip over toddlers as I potty-dance my way to the restroom where (if I’ve made it without peeing my own pants) all toilet related activities will be performed under the watchful eyes of my two year old and one year old.

Recently, my sweet two year old with the wavy hair, heart shaped face and twinkly brown eyes kicked the mirrored hallway closet door shattering it.
I dutifully made sure she was alright, then scolded her and put her in her room for a cool-down while I vacuumed up the broken mirror shards and applied packaging tape to hold the remaining pieces together so I could remove the door for disposal.

I packed up the kids in the car and headed out to the hardware store to buy a replacement, a wooden door without a mirror.

I navigated the store with the kids, enduring only one HUGE meltdown by the child who made the outing necessary (mean-mommy refused her “request” to run away walk in the hardware store instead of riding in the cart), several small squabbles when the six year old rubbed his fancy-footed freedom in the two year old's open wound of cart-lockdown like a fistful of kosher salt. We bought the new closet door and made our way home again.

The next day my kind and generous father came to help me replace the door.

Three days later, I was sitting on the living room floor repairing the front window screen (which had been helpfully pushed from its frame by the two & one year olds, of course), when the two year old walked on top of the screen at my feet.

“Get off the screen and go play with your toys in the family room,” I shouted, pulling her by her arm in the direction which she needed to go.

Straight lines not being a thing with which small children are familiar (see also: listening, not eating food off the floor, and staying in bed after being lovingly tucked in for the 58th time that night), she promptly ambled over to the hallway, flung open the NEW hallway closet door, gripped it tightly between her sticky hands, clung to it with her 31lb frame and ripped it from its track.

I stared at the dangling door, bent frame, and small child saying ever so quietly, without any hint of actual remorse, “oops! I sorry, mama!”.

I started shaking as I walked her to her room, placed her on her bed and walked away.

From behind her closed bedroom door, her screams of remorse landed on her sympathetic brother’s ears.  As our home’s designated peace envoy, he descended upon me ready to negotiate the prisoner’s release. He looked up at me with his how-now-brown-cow eyes, begging mercy on his sister’s behalf. I took him by the hand and walked him to his room and closed the door causing him to redirect his efforts to his own release.

The one year old sat happily in the family room strewing DVD cases around her at random, pausing now and then to chew a piece of paper and shove the ensuing spitball up her nose.
What could I do? All that was left was to speed dial my mom. Physically shaking, my voice breaking, I said, “what are you doing right now? I need to not be with my children right now. Can you come over, please?”

She was already on her way two minutes later when I called back to say never mind; that I had pulled myself together and she could go about her day.

I got out. I went to the hardware store to buy the parts to fix the door and to the grocery store. I wandered a book store. I stopped for a soda.

I came home and cried on my mother’s shoulder. She told me that it was going to be OK. That even moms who longed to be moms, moms who fought infertility to become moms, moms who love being moms need a break from being mom now and then.

After putting my minions to bed, tethered within the walls of our home again, I folded the laundry, finished the dishes, cleaned up the toys and swept the floor. Because I'm the mom.


  1. Oh my, so much of this post rings true over here as well. Well, not the part about mirror destruction, but hey, maybe it just hasn't happened yet. LOL! I can totally relate to the part about walking them to their room and just letting them calm down. I have found that is best for BOTH of us. We are dealing with a lot of whining over here and by mid-morning sometimes I feel like I am going to lose my mind. No quick fixes here either. But prayers for you and your sweeties. And just replace the pieces of paper with wood chips from the playground and Katharine and your youngest could be twins. :)

  2. Oh the whining! Yes, M, there is plenty of whining. Wish we lived closer, we could let them all whine together and us grown ups could talk accounting and saints!