I’m at a weird stage with my kids. What stage isn’t weird, right?
They are 3 and 5. In sum total, I have four hours each week when they are both at school at the same time. My self of two years ago would hate my current self for saying, “It almost isn’t worth it.”, because sometimes it feels four hours aren’t that big of a deal. But that’s silly, of course it’s worth it.
Mommy feeds on time alone. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve only found myself cherishing privacy and alone time and being able to do wild things things like buy tampons without help. In general, my work goes more smoothly when there are less juice cups to fill.
These four hours of alone time have given me a taste of sanity. And it’s not just the time alone, to be honest. It’s that my son has now mostly started wiping his own bum and that my kids now do adorable things like hold hands and walk around the yard together while I watch from the window. It really is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
I am less needed, and I am sure this is part of the mothering gene I’m missing, but I’m in no way sad about this. Maybe someday I will be, but for now, there are still too many pee accidents to clean up and peanut butter sandwiches that need to be cut into five perfect strips.
I’m still largely too needed.
And the non-sweet moments with my kids are still too non-sweet. As my daughter fully realizes her three year old-ness, I’m fully realizing the meaning of “unnerved”. My nerves are shot, frayed, and shaking as her powerful tantrums often leave my heart racing. When I’m “on” as a mom, I’m so on, in such a way that leaves me totally wiped and pitifully crashing by 8pm.
So this is where the weird part comes in…
I have one foot on the ground of sanity, which gives rise to glorious things like being able to spread the laundry out over the entire living room floor without somebody kicking my neat piles. I said it was glorious.
The other foot is still in the muck and mire of all that is tough and exhausting, the genuine preciousness of their ages, and sticky blue lollipop hands.
The result is I’m left doing some sort of extreme stretching maneuver, and I was never really very flexible.
Without any official measurements or guidelines, I feel like I’m about halfway there. Halfway to being started on the road to a more sane existence of being able to complete thoughts in my own head and not jealously look at moms of older kids and think, “I don’t care if the teenage years are hell, I’ll bet they can reach the refridgerator door handle by themselves.” But I’m still pretty invested in where I’ve been for the past five years, spending a lot of time opening and closing that fridge door.
As for the four hours? It’s a cruel tease, and on days when it’s raining when I run in for drop-off and pick-up, I’m really not always sure it is actually so utterly fantastic. Though I do love sporting my pretty rain boots. And I’m honestly not sure we, as a family, are ready for more than four hours anyway, as much as I think I want it.
But I am sure I’m going to crank through all the moments I do have alone like it’s nobody’s business.
Halfway there–the blurred place we are exactly.
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