Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Motherhood & More: Finding time, energy to be available for demands on Mama's time*

Parenting is a hard gig, right? I mean, no one disputes that, or the fact that it’s draining and exhausting. But it’s also wonderful and life-changing and happiness-bringing and awesome, obviously.

Lately I’ve been having trouble feeling the awesome. What I mean by that is I am wishing greatly for more time to be me, not Mama. My sweet heathens are all loved and fed and clothed and happy, and I am being as good of a parent I can, but I don’t seem to relish it, you know?

I have hours to myself – I work at home while the kids are in school so rarely do I hear a noise other than my own thoughts and my fingers typing on the keyboard. And I like it – no, LOVE IT – that way. I am sort of an introverted extrovert in that I am very comfortable at home, quiet, doing my own thing. But I am also thrilled to be around other adults.

But the kids – they come with much more work than do grown-ups. They return home from school each day with demands for food and homework help and pent-up energy and whining from having to behave. I have to mentally prepare myself for a culture shock each weekday at 2:20, when the complete silence turns into complete chaos.

And then there was the holiday break and the endless snow days, and what I’m saying is that I’m really missing the quiet. I am having a hard time being a present, involved mama. I am spending too much time at my computer and not enough time playing horses or Barbies or Star Wars or monopoly.

I’ve begun tensing up when I see the children heading my way, because I know it means they will want something from me, or have a question for me that will only lead to more questions, and then even more questions because my son never stops talking. Like ever.

I feel myself resent the interruption, and then resenting the fact that I have that feeling. I resent the need to be alone, and yet desperately need to be alone. I am working daily, hourly on trying to be more in the moment and to actually enjoy those moments. 

I want to say ‘yes’ instead of ‘not now’ to my daughter when she asks me to play another game of monopoly or work another puzzle. I want to want to answer my son’s 178th ‘Did you know’ question on his latest obsession (Star Wars. Pirates. Minecraft. Weather. Rocks. Bugs. Animals.) 

I am trying. It is so very hard. But I figure if I force myself to get out of my head, to be present, to say yes even when I don’t feel like I can, soon it will be easier. I will not inwardly sigh when they come to me. My smile will be more enthusiastic. 

And they might just better remember all the times I was available to them instead of all the times I was too busy.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Jan. 27, 2016.

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