with and without them

On Saturday morning, I dangled a carrot in front of my oldest, who is four and a half (don’t forget the half!). “Hey, do you want to go grocery shopping, just you and me?” He started in a little skeptically, wondering what was in it for him. The promise of quality time wasn’t quite enough to convince him to change out of his PJs and head to the store first thing on his first “stay home day” of the weekend. Fair enough. Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm for the grocery store that I do.

I have never been the kind of mother to dump my kids and run. By that, I mean that I have never taken great joy in leaving my kids behind, whether it’s for daycare or preschool or with a babysitter or just with my husband. There are plenty of days that aren’t perfect, and plenty that I really need a break. But when it comes time for that break, there’s always part of me that feels a little bit lost when my kids aren’t around.

Reading that back, it sounds fake to me. Like, what kind of busy parent doesn’t love and anticipate those moments of free time? I do, of course. I know that by spending a few hours with friends at book club, taking an hour to grocery shop alone (which I did this weekend and it was awesome), and even working out of the home during the week, I’m allowing myself an opportunity to breathe. I’m able to be myself, do things that I love (yes, I weirdly love to grocery shop), and I do believe that I am ultimately a better mother for it.

The day I got pregnant with my oldest son, I became a mother and will forever be. My thoughts are never only my own; I always have two other people in mind at all times. So, when they’re not with me, it feels a little bit like something is missing, which I think is natural, but that’s not to say that that void is always a bad thing.

My mother in law posted a link on Facebook recently about the power of perspective. The concept is simple – see your life for what it really is, assess what you can and can’t change, set your ideals into motion and embrace it. It’s crazy how easy this is to say but how difficult it is to put into practice.

I need to learn to let go of the little things. I don’t buy organic, I do lose my patience, I sometimes forget to take snow pants to preschool (today). Sometimes I say yes when I should say no or say no when I should say yes. Plenty of days aren’t going to be perfect, but the fact remains that my world does revolve around them, I do miss them when they’re not with me, but even still, I benefit from my “me” time and so do they.

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