Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another crucial thing I've forgotten

How difficult, and how necessary, it is to leave your child.
I don't mean on the doorstep of a church or for a week's vacation in Maui. Or to go to work, for that matter.
I'm talking about the simple thing of walking around the block, for example. Alone or with a dog, but without a child. On a regular basis.
You need a time period where you aren't listening for the baby to fuss, where someone else's arms must be sufficient, where you aren't holding a precious little hand so you can be alone with your thoughts. It's vital to your well-being and there will be a toll taken if you don't get it. Your patience will fray, your memory will diminish, your head will ache, your teeth will fall out. Okay, I'm kidding on that last one, but the rest are real. For me, anyway.

Just because it's necessary doesn't mean it's easy, though. I do remember the first time I left Madeleine to walk around the block. I kept thinking, "This is the farthest I've been from her" for the first half of the trip. I remember how torn I felt to be a Eucharistic Minister at Mass and leave her with Daddy for that five or ten minutes it took. I think we were thirty feet apart.
But now, with the fourth baby in the house, I know the signs of needing some time. I get short-tempered, unreasonably crabby with the kids.
I tell my beloved, "I need to go for a walk." He knows by how I grit my teeth and say it almost under my breath what's going on. He will say, "Go. Happy walking," or something to that effect. He loves his kids and wants their mother sound, healthy and patient with them.

Just put on your coat and check your watch. Promise yourself that you'll be back in ten minutes if that's all you think you can stand and just go. Walk at whatever pace you like; you're not going for distance but endurance. Maybe you'll be able to build up to twenty minutes, which even a nursing newborn can last without you.
Look around. Listen for the sounds you don't hear when you're shepherding another child or children and be grateful for the brief opportunity not to gush over the new rock this one has found, or helping another jump off that tree stump, or the calling the other one back. You'll be able to do all of those things next time. This walk is for you.
You'll be glad you did. If you're still not sure, think of the enthusiasm they'll greet you with when you return! Especially the one who's been trying in vain to entertain that new one for the duration of your trip.



At 1:07 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

Wow, what a difference in parenting. You are very attached to your children and that is a good thing.

I'm attached to but, I can leave as easy as pie also, without so much as a thought! LOL

Is it bad that I actually did go to Maui for a week, with my husband, when our firstborn was only 6 weeks old? I didn't miss him to tears either, though I did missed him. Mostly I slept, watched the whales and tried to gain some sanity.

My parenting mind goes to the side of "Time apart is a good thing. The children learn to calm themselves and some self reliance." There is another mothering school of thought that skews way to the other spectrum where they must be attached to mom at all times.

I think they are both valid parenting techniques. Kind of like Republicans and Democrats. It takes all kinds and we need them both. :-)

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Heather said...

About going to Maui, the way you tell it, you NEEDED to go that far away so you could let yourself sleep! That wasn't on a whim; that was medical leave.

And you're right about the differences in parenting being valid. I've learned a lot from you, and it hasn't been because you're a bad example. :)

We (you and I) do what works best for our family. Since we have different families, we do different things. :)

At 8:24 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

Oh you've got that right! LOL
I needed sleep in a big way. When I had sleep deprivation sickness I thought I was going mad. That's nothing to play around with. It just so happened that my parents had the tickets so we went.

Maui was just the ticket to my sanity I'll tell you that! :-) Anybody who has ever had sleep deprivation to the point of hallucinations will know what I mean. I slept all the way there and literally all the way home. No drugs...just hormone induced slumber.

On another note:
Man, I had a lot of typos in my last post! I even wrote to instead of too! That is such a pet peeve of mine...ick! Maybe I need sleep again. LOL

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Kasia said...

Reason #3,487 why I love reading blogs: I pick up very good tips for future motherhood.


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