It’s been one of those seasons where off and on I kind of feel like I’m suffocating. Not to be overly dramatic, but…yeah, I’ll be little dramatic, motherhood can be killer, can’t it?
And sometimes when I feel like I’m very close to completely losing it, I’m just holding on by a string, doing the whole self-talk therapy (anyone else do this?) “Just breathe, it’s ok, it’s all ok, and the noise is ok, and the mess is ok, and just breathe…” (I’m thinking someone out there relates to this?) I just press through, praying, believing, and holding on until the overwhelming feelings pass.
Sometimes this feeling comes and goes for hours…Or days…And then I finally stop and realize, “Maybe…I could REALLY USE some ME time.” Time to step away, gain perspective, and really breathe. I mean, a little more time than the short drive down the hill to and from the grocery store, and yes, even more than a morning jog, or yoga. Even my date nights with Dave seem to have dwindled lately– consisting of a quick dinner, here on the North shore, and always coming home to four kids, STILL UP (Even if they’ve been in bed for an hour, they’ll still find their way up when we walk in the door,) and ya know…That whole mommy-burnout thing is no joke.
So today I wisely planned in advance, and asked Sandra to switch her hours–Instead of being around for the normal school day, I asked her to come “post-Levi nap” and stay into the evening. Dave was working an afternoon/evening shift, and I planned some time to myself. I was imagining a night out, perhaps a trip to the mall to wander around and stare. A long sit at Starbucks to catch up on my computer…Or even a quiet meal all by myself in a restaurant (when’s the last time you did THAT!?) I was really looking forward to time alone.
You see I’m setting myself up here, don’t you?
Somewhere right around lunch time, Dave jumped on the computer to check the surf report (uh-oh,) …and sure’nough: ”Hey Guys!! Great news! There is a SWEET swell on the SOUTH SHORE!” (Great news for whom?) (note to self: Clue Dave in on the desperate need for ME time a little earlier next time.)
This meant a new plan entirely: Dave kindly suggested (to be fair, I could have said no,) that he would take the two surfer boys into town for an afternoon surf, then I would MEET them in town, and maybe (“If you FEEL like it, you could…”) take them to skate downtown at Hickam Skate Hangar. ”You’ve got Sandra to stay home with the other two, so it should work out perfectly!”
Perfectly Wuh? Perfectly disappointing.
My hopes were dashed.
My me time gone.
And I don’t want to get all dramatic on you but (but too late already,) I really REALLY wanted some time to myself.
Sure, I could have said no.
But not really.
So I said yes, and with the most authentic smile I could engineer, I changed plans. Yes, I let Dave know I was disappointed, and I even let the boys know that this was NOT exactly how I wanted my day to go (Probably shouldn’t have, but I did. And of course I followed that with the fact that we’d make it the best day possible. And more big smile.)
My new me-time consisted of that one-hour drive downtown to meet them. (Hey, I’ll take what I can get.)
They were happy and grateful when I arrived, and immediately asked if indeed we could go to the skate park, (“while we’re so close!”) Earlier they had even planted all of their skate gear in my car so they were fully prepared. I sat in the car, trying to decide. It really didn’t matter now, my ME-time was gone.
And just about then Dave called from the ER, (his shift had just started,) and with a weak voice asked me to pray for a little boy (he thought about Levi’s age,) who the Emergency team was trying to revive. Dave didn’t know the story, but from what he saw, it wasn’t looking good. We hung up, and the boys and I prayed.
So you can guess, we headed to the skate park, and the boys were thrilled.
I sat there and watched, trying not to be frustrated. For a minute I pulled out my cell phone, thinking maybe I should catch up on some blogs and emails while they skated. And for a few minutes I did: Multi-tasking, I watched them skate, sneaking a peek down at my phone every chance I got.
Then I noticed as one of the boys caught me just as I jerked my gaze from my phone, back up at him…And I read his face. It said two words, loud and clear: ”THAT PHONE.”
Funny, I never would have thought those two words could make me feel so lousy.
Convicted, I put the phone deep into my purse. I couldn’t help but think: How would I feel when he pulled his biggest move yet, and I missed it because I was looking at my phone. Or worse, if one of them fell and got hurt, and I couldn’t tell anyone what happened because though I was a few short feet away…I was looking at my phone.
So with the phone deep in my purse, I sat down as comfortably as I could (which isn’t easy at a skate park,) and I watched. I didn’t have to fake watch, I really watched. I didn’t have to pretend that I saw a move. I saw every move. I was involved, actually watching, and cheering, and empathizing, and…I was THERE. PRESENT.
And it felt great.
So, is there a moral to this story? I don’t know. I still need me some alone time pretty badly. That’s for sure. I think we all do. I’ll try again to make plans and get out and do the things that I KNOW make me a better mom in the long run.
But until then, I’m gonna work on being ALL THERE, wherever I am. Putting that phone down–no AWAY–more often. Walking away from the computer, when I know it isn’t the right time.
I don’t want to miss the good, or the bad.
That baby who was in the ER (and died moments later, Dave told me later tonight,) has a momma out there who would drop every email and Facebook post, to get one more minute with her child.
SO should I.
Oh, and I did take a few photos of the boys on my iPhone (which they didn’t mind a bit!) And yes, we had a really great night.
Thanks for listening! Feel free to share in the comments if you just might relate to any bit of this. (Or just make it up to make me feel better. )
a grateful grommom.