This morning I woke up and I was already done. My “patience bucket,” as we call it in our house was empty and I was running on fumes.
As I finally sat down to my now cold breakfast, after racing around getting my four kids their food first, my five year old started grunting like an animal, gesturing at the napkins in front of me.
I glared back at her, seething with frustration, and said, “mommy, may I have a napkin please? That is what I need to hear if you are going get a napkin.” She rolled her eyes and repeated the words with a twinge of angst in her voice. I passed her the napkin as I used every fibre in my body to hold back the explosion bubbling below the surface.
As I drove everyone around to school and daycare, thirty hectic minutes later, I could feel it coming… this all to familiar feeling of my mind breaking apart, my cheeks hot and knowing I had nothing left.
It wasn’t even 9:00 A.M. yet, and I was utterly depleted.
I requested quiet in the car and blamed me needing to concentrate on my driving, as I request all too often.
I just needed silence.
Lately I have been trying to find a new balance in my world. For a while now, while I run my own business from home, I have poured almost every penny into childcare. Recently after some very honest discussions with my husband, we decided to cut our two youngest kids’ daycare, (the ones who aren’t in school yet), in half.
So, here I am. Still working just as hard as ever, often during naps, but I am also momming hard too.
I have been making more of an effort to really enjoy my four kids more, involve them more, and focus on them more during the day. That has included reading more, playing more, cooking with them more and basically just participating in life with them more than I had when I was still in the trenches after having our twins. I am really enjoying it too.
But by about 5:00 P.M. each day I can feel a shift happen, and it’s not really fun anymore.
It’s work. Hard work.
Because my older kids are going to bed later and later, my evenings are including more reading, help with homework, or a game night. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is there too, and he is all about family (which includes me) all. the. time.
By the time the big kids are finally in bed, my husband and I eat dinner and binge watch which ever TV series we are into. Or at least he’s into and I am kind of into.
But here’s the thing… I have loaded a whole bunch of extra stuff on my plate lately, and haven’t protected any time for me.
I’d really like to get back to working out. Or maybe start reading again… you know, real books? I haven’t read a book in about seven years, which is pretty sad when I really think about it.
I’d love to have a bit of gravy work time. Just a bit of extra time that isn’t already dedicated to a deadline, where I can just work on something creatively, without pressure.
I’d love to have a hot bath. A long hot bath, where I can just lay there long enough to get wrinkly fingers and toes. Maybe, just maybe I could soak long enough that I’d have to add a bit more hot water… ohhhh while reading a book. Yes, a long hot bath while reading a book.
Sorry guys, I didn’t mean for this to turn into porn for moms. Back to the point.
As I finished my morning drop-offs, it finally dawned on me. I need to start clocking out from my mom job.
Stay with me.
I had a pretty amazing childhood. My parents are still happily married, and I too was one of four kids.
My mom mommed hard everyday too. But guess what? After my dad arrived home from work, and we had all finished dinner, she passed the torch to him.
My mom would spend every evening washing dishes in an empty kitchen, because she would request some quiet. Then head upstairs and have a long bath while reading yet another book. Well, this was her routine on the nights that she didn’t go out and pursue her dream as an opera singer.
She clocked out of her mom job in the evenings, and we all respected this fact. There was no guilt trip, no being made to feel bad, no mom shaming. It was the way it was and it worked for everybody.
While my mom was doing her thing, my dad would head to the basement with all of us, and we would wrestle, (picture a litter of puppies, only the puppies are children), play games, or go outside.
Even in the dead of winter.
After a couple of hours my dad would go take his own break, while we watched a bit of tv, or just entertained ourselves before reuniting with my mom, who would read us a book and put us to bed.
I have amazing memories of my evenings as a child. My mom was onto something.
As I pulled into our driveway and started to prepare myself to get as many deadlines done as I could before I picked up our twins in a couple of hours, I phoned my husband.
I explained to him how I felt, and that I needed to be off parenting duty more in the evening. I reassured him that we will still spend quality time together, but I needed this. He quickly agreed, I think because he had witnessed my breakfast death-stare.
Don’t get me wrong, there will still be cuddles, and books and bedtime routines, but I am off the hook in the evening. I have found that chunk of time each day for me that I so badly need.
People say that being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and I would have to agree. It’s very rewarding, but it is a lot of work, and it drains your mind, body and soul. We have to create more boundaries so that we don’t loose ourselves in it, or the joy about it.
I think my family is going to be just fine without me in the evenings.