Normally when I decide to write a how to post, I have a good idea of what I am talking about.
Today my title should probably have a question mark at the end, or a ‘PLEASE tell me,” at the beginning. Because I really want to know, how do I plan my summer with my children to balance their needs and wants with my needs and wants? In three and a half hours, my no longer a kindergartener will be home, excited to have her first official summer vacation away from school. I’m almost out of time to figure this out, and I still don’t know what we are going to do.
Lets be honest. I spend a lot of my time alone right now. We are a one car family and that car always goes to the person who has the most need for it on that day. Today that happens to be me, but most days, the farthest I will go from the house will be a mile and a half down the road on my morning run, something I absolutely do not need a car to do. I go to school online, and I write, two activities that keep me in front of the computer for more time than is probably healthy. Beyond all of this, I am introverted enough that I have honestly considered a life as a hermit after my children grow up. As long as I can have Netflix and download new books to my ipad, I’m not sure I would miss other humans that much.
I like the large blocks of time when my children are in school, because I can get my stuff done, mostly without interruption. Best of all, I can get things done without guilt. I don’t have to feel bad about the time I spent completing a chapter, or the episodes of The Daily Show I watched while putting away laundry. I can do things on my schedule, as long as I am done with certain things by 3:30 when the bus pulls up outside of my house.
I love my children, just as I am sure the rest of the stay at home or work at home parents do. I don’t judge the dread they feel as summer vacation starts because I feel it to. There is a loss of self coming here; my time is not going to be my own anymore and I’m not ready to give up everything I enjoyed while they were in school this last year.
But of course I have to, at least a little. Kids are demanding, wanting entertainment and nourishment on a regular basis. I mean, seriously. These kids expect me to feed them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. More than once. And they don’t stand for that whole, I feed the dog twice a day, that should be good enough for you also.
More than just food and beverages, they demand attention and love. They want the one thing that is hardest to dole out, time. Because I want to give them all my time, but I also want to keep it all for myself.
So, please. Tell me. How do I balance this? Am I allowed to tell them to leave me alone for a few hours everyday so I can still write? Can that time be separate from my homework time? Is there a quality activity I have to commit to in order to pay the guilt price? Please, tell me someone has figured it out, that they know the secret to being a good mother and a full and complete person as well. More than that, please say they will share their knowledge with me. How can I do it all? Will my attempts to do it all only push my kids away? Am I setting them up for hours of therapy where they discuss how their problems are all their mothers fault? Is good enough REALLY good enough?
The clock is ticking, counting down until my babies are home for the summer, and I can’t slow time down. I can’t make things easier, or find the magical answers. Now, all I can do is hope that I can be the mother they need for two months. Wish me luck people. I’m diving in, and hoping I learn to swim.