I’m sitting here counting the seconds until we leave to drop our kids off at my mother-in-law’s house for four glorious days. Days where not one will call me mom, or ask me to wipe their butts. Four days when I can eat dinner without having to get spoons (for eating steak nonetheless) or refilling milk cups. Three nights of no one waking me up from nightmares or having to change diapers.
That is, until we drop them off.
Then it will become four days of worrying if they are too much for my mother-in-law. While they kids are away, it will be four days of worrying about them getting hurt, having bad dreams or missing me. Four days of praying they are safe and healthy.
This trip is optional and also a good thing. The summer has been long and they need a change of scenery. My mother-in-law is more than capable and they love spending time with her. I have to work so it’s not like I would be spending my time doting on them. They’d just be with a sitter or their other grandma.
Not to mention it gives me a chance to clean their closets, do some laundry and just recharge for a few days. I’ve got a list of things to tackle. I’m sure I’ll do way too much, but I’ve also built in time for being lazy, doing crossword puzzles and watching the Olympics.
Side note: As I typed that last sentence, I felt so old. But in the interest of transparency, I left it.
By the first morning, I will miss their sleepy smiles. I will miss my oldest’s enthusiasm for the day. I will miss my middle’s creative outfit choices. I will miss my youngest’s chubby cheeks. I will miss their conversation, their help and their need for me. I will miss their need for, you know, meals. I will wish they were here to color with me, swim in our pool or jump on our trampoline with me. I will miss them when it’s time to feed the dogs–something they usually do. I will never miss their constant need for me to “watch this real quick.”
Those are the very things that require me to take a break from time-to-time. They are the very things that make me exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed. The very things that make me question my ability to be a good mom.
When they return, it will take me all of 10 minutes to feel exhausted again. I will immediately feel overwhelmed. But the feeling of missing them will linger for a few days. I’ll hold them closer, listen to their stories and feel a sense of security that they are sleeping just down the hall. Even if it does mean that I’ll probably be up at some point tonight to calm a racing mind, change a diaper or refill a water cup.