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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Rubber Band

As I prepared to leave my teaching job to stay home with Abbey, eight months pregnant with Dylan, I was so certain that some of my mommy guilt would be alleviated.

I just knew that after spending so many waking moments with them, I would be comfortable, if not eager, to leave my children with Ryan, with my parents, with the mailman if necessary, to spend time with other adults, to enjoy dinners with my girlfriends, to have some alone time.
I was wrong.  As silly as it may seem, it’s more difficult for me to leave them now.
Ryan and I occasionally have date nights; we’ve even left the munchkins overnight with Grandma and Grandpa.  Regular runs keep my sanity and sugar junkie tendencies in check.  However, most of the time, the kids are sleeping during those outings.
During the day, I may close my eyes and think about how lovely it would be to sit alone at a little table, my laptop in front of me, my tattered writer’s notebook next to my (still warm) coffee.  I may close my eyes and think about how lovely it would be to close the bathroom door when I use the facilities.
Excited to have a few hours to myself a few times a year, I schedule my hair appointments and thumb through magazines looking for hair inspiration.
Monthly dinners with girlfriends are scheduled over e-mail, and I mentally evaluate my closest for something appropriate to wear.
Walking to my car, I feel light, literally, without snacks and straw cups crowding my purse, only myself to buckle safely into the car.
I turn the radio a little louder than I would with the kids in the car, not worrying about what comes out of the speakers.
Backing down the driveway, I feel it begin.  An uncomfortable feeling, housed somewhere between my heart and my stomach.  The lightness I feel suddenly seems too light, wrong, disorienting. 
It’s as though there’s a rubber band connecting me to Abbey and Dylan.  When we’re at home, I don’t feel it, but as we’re separated, it begins to stretch, and I feel as though part of me is missing.  That invisible band is what drives me to check my cell phone obsessively when I’m away from them, what made it impossible to stop the tears as our plane taxied on the runway on our way to Vegas.
I know, rationally, that part of raising our kids means developing independent little people.  Independent little people who do not bring their mommy with them to pre-school or their first school dances or their first fraternity party.
I need to work on stretching that rubber band.
Soon.  I’ll work on that soon.


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28 Comments:

  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:13 AM , Anonymous Amy said...

    It is such a hard thing to do!  It took me a LONG time to feel comfortable and not (as) guilty as I used to.  It really helps when you are leaving to do something that you really love to do.  At least that helped me :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:47 AM , Anonymous Oka_arbogasm said...

    I am six hundred miles away from my kids (left Friday.  The rubber band has been choking me the entire time.  But I still have a my own rubber band with my parents. One I have really about worn all the elasticity away on.  Yet, it was still strong enough to pull me here to my parents, both in need of me (my Mom suffered a cerebral hemorrhage last week and is still in ICU).

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    It took me a very long time to be okay with leaving my kids. I remember the first time, I was in a total panic. It's gotten easier... though there is always some feeling of wanting to be with them. 

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 9:28 AM , Anonymous Kir said...

    HI Sweets.
    So since I'm in this mode with most of what I'm posting, I'll say it here too. mostly because I know you won't hate me for it. John and I go out quite a bit, I mean I love spending time with the boys, taking them places (like NYC) and enjoying their company, but those nights I have dinner with my girlfriends or a chance to just "BE OUT" I take it...I don't run home, I want to know they are ok and I check, about once a night and then I let it go. This summer (just like last one) I am taking 5 days of my vacation to spend a day with each of my Girlfriends, where I'll take the boys to school and then come home LATER ...John will pick them up and feed them and I'll be in a pool or mall , giggling and probably talking about them. Even JOhn and I will take days off this summer to go to NYC alone or to the movies, my kids will be at school. (I love those days....no work, but no kids too...and that sounds so selfish doesn't it? )

    I feel the rubberband sometimes when we are pulling out of the parking lot of school but then I remember that daycare if GOOD FOR all three of us,...I guess a lot of my mommy guilt comes from not having that feeling "enough".

    you remind what's good about that feeling. And those pictures, PERFECTION xoxo

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous Auntcrazyhere said...

    Hi! I'm here from Shell's place. My kids are 18 (moved out recently) and 14 (starting high school) and I've always worked for dollars, outside the home. Mommy guilt is a vicious cycle and I think we moms are genetically wired to feel it. We make it worse on ourselves. You're little people are precious. The pictures here are adorable. I worked through the mommy guilt in my own ways, but the most important thing to learn is that as much as YOU need to be away from them to remember who you are, THEY need to be away from you to find out who they are. We are "connected" constantly via cell phones, ipads, facetime, facebook, twitter, etc, if your kids need you, someone will find you. So, go, stretch that rubber band, learn to enjoy being away from them, because the worst thing you can do to them is lose yourself and not allow them to learn to be who they are.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Missy | The Literal Mom said...

    It gets easier as they get older.  But I totally understand what you are talking about - the push and pull of needing your own time but wishing you didn't have to leave them to get it!  Visiting from PYHO today! 

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 10:26 AM , Anonymous sweetbutterbliss said...

    I totally understand! I hate leaving them and find it difficult to completely enjoy myself without them.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM , Anonymous Diana said...

    Jellybean is six months old and I still haven't left him for the night anywhere. The hubby and I haven't gone for a date. I HATE leaving him at day care and seeing his car seat empty literally pains me. I totally understand and don't know when I will feel like stretching my rubber band out.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 11:07 AM , Anonymous Elaine said...

    They are still so little so it's okay to want to be with them.  Of course it's okay to want to be with them ANYTIME but I can atest to the fact that it does get easier as they get older.  Such a sweet post... :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous SharleneT. said...

    Visiting from Things I Can't Say.  You're right. It's so hard to let them go and become independent, but you have to because your mommy helped you to do the same. You don't want them to become adults who can't function without you, believe me. (I have a friend whose 40+ children still live with her and their families because she wouldn't let them experience life on their own.) You'll do it and be just fine because teaching is in your nature. They don't really go -- they have their rubber bands, too! 

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I don't know if my mommy did the same :)  I still see her at least once a week LOL.  And I absolutely want them to be independent, self-sufficient people.  Starting tomorrow.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I'm sure there will be a time that all of us will welcome the time apart :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oooh, six months is so little and sweet.  Just cuddle him and enjoy him!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I am glad I'm not alone in this!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks for visiting!  There's a definite push and pull; I just thought I would have figured it out a little more by now!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I definitely don't want to raise co-dependent kids.  You are right about someone being able to find me if they need me.  I think back to my parents, who left the house just fine without the tether/constant connection of a cell phone.  We all survived just fine :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I think I'm ok until I'm actually gone.  Then I miss them :(  What a basket case I can be...

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh no!  I am sorry to hear about your mom and glad you are able to be there with her (and your dad) right now.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I guess it's a learning process, like so much of parenting.  I promise I won't be lurking around their dorm rooms (much, LOL).

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You always offer me such a positive sense of perspective!  I KNOW you're right.  I think (in a way) I found it a little easier when I worked, as strange as that sounds.  Then, I was leaving her with someone else five days a week, and she was thriving, so I knew she was ok apart from me.  Now I am just so used to it being the three of us going everywhere, it seems weird when it's not!

    I know I'm a goofball :)  And I do leave and do things without them, just not as MUCH as I expected, and it doesn't seem as EASY as I expected it to me. 

    How fun to spend some of your vacation time with your friends.  I am sure they appreciate that time with you more than you know :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM , Anonymous cam said...

    i think you've got plenty of time to stretch that rubberband. then again, i plan on holding on as long as my son will let me. i see nothing wrong with me being his date at his 1st frat party! ;)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM , Anonymous Brianna said...

    Not a mom, but I nanny for a little girl with a single dad and I totally get what moms are going through. It's hard work and it's non-stop. It's as if I have a kid of my own.

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I give nannies so, so much credit.  I think it's tough enough to have patience with my own children, and you (and other nannies) need to somehow summon that level of patience and care with other people's kids. 

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Some days I just wish it wasn't so tightly wound that I miss them when I leave the house to pick up pizza :)

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 11:41 PM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

    I love how she's looking at you in that picture!

    Also, i miss my babies when I'm gone - but it is SO good to have that time of way to regroup and re-energize!

     
  • At July 6, 2011 at 11:53 PM , Anonymous Paulette Watson said...

    Awww! It is hard to leave them sometimes but it is so necessary to help keep us balanced.

     
  • At July 7, 2011 at 10:28 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    By the end of today, I could have used a little balance :)  We had a fun day, but Dylan napped at the zoo, so he didn't take a nap at home.  What a long day :)

     
  • At July 7, 2011 at 10:28 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I am saving that picture for when she screams at me about how terrible I am when she's a teenager.  Because if she doesn't do that at least once or twice, I will consider myself an unsuccessful mother ;)

    I KNOW it's healthy for my own mental health and for our marriage to have time away from them; I'm working on it.  Really.

     

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