Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Mothering the Empty House

If you ever, for some weird reason, need to immediately and completely piss me off, I'm going to tell you how: call yourself (or someone else) a "Full Time Mom" when what you mean is stay at home mom. And here's why: that implies that I am somehow not a mom when I'm at work. Like for eight whole hours a day, I take off motherhood like Mr. Rogers' jacket and become a completely different person with a completely different set of priorities.

This is not the case. I (and most everyone else) is always a mother. No matter where we are, what we are doing or what we are wearing - we are first and foremost mothers.

Which is one of the complicating factors to this week.

This week is the week my kids are gone.

Every year, the Ex takes the kids for an entire week. This means no mommy time at all. (For the record, I have one week similarly, so it's like fair and stuff.)

Now, first of all, I'm not going to sit here and pretend that this week is the worst week in the history of the universe. It's not. The house is quiet, no one wants to watch Disney Channel and things that I pick up stay picked up. I kinda hope to have the whole house (except the kids' rooms) clean by the end of the week.

That's nice.

Also, the late sleeping. I got up at 8 this morning. 8:00. I have to be at work at 8:30, but it's all good because I only have to dress myself.

But I'm also not going to sit here and pretend it's all blissful wandering around a spotless house and enjoying the quiet with a nice cup of tea. It's quiet. Really quiet.

And empty.

And quiet.

I don't really do quiet.

Plus, I find I have so very little to do on my own. I mean, sure, I have plenty to do. I have a craft list that's longer than my house, I have a whole house to clean, I could work some more on getting the fruit flies of death to move on to ANYWHERE ELSE. I rearranged my bedroom furniture on Monday, which is a project I've been putting off for literally months. I need to paint my front columns, sand my coffee table, clean out my basement and organize my out of season clothes. I should really put together an emergency preparedness kit and write a novel and take some kind of art class because I am terrible. I'd like to drink tea and crochet a bedspread and bake bread and learn to knit. And laundry... Holy crap, I should really be doing laundry.

But what I'm actually doing is cleaning off my DVR. (It's totally cleaning and should be counted as being productive.) Also reading. In bed.

And eating peanut butter for supper. Not even on a sandwich. Just peanut butter. 'Cause I can. That's why. Also, because it's so goooood.

And missing my kids. Mostly the last one.

I like sleeping alone in my bed and I like picking the TV show and I like eating what I want when I want. I like sleeping late and only having to run the dishwasher once the whole week. I do. But not enough to compensate for missing those faces. And those giggles. And those soft hands on my arms and my face while we cuddle up at story time. I love their voices and the amazing things they say and the feeling they give me of being tethered to the Earth. When they are around, I am needed, wanted, necessary and required.

It's a sense of responsibility, sure, but also of knowing where I belong.

Without them, I am filled with freedom, which is nice, but also a sort of free floating mania.

And no matter how free, they are still my tether. I am still their mother. I still worry and miss them and wonder what they are doing. I still turn to say something to Brynna in the car and find her seat empty. I still seek out Maren for cuddles and find her gone. I'm not sure that I ever truly missed anyone until I had kids.

And I miss them so much.

Please remind me of this next week when I am freaking out about the noise level and the toys and the fighting and cooking another stupid supper. I'll probably smack you, but do it anyway.


Becca said...

I drove past your house today - at least, I think I did - and I thought about stopping and saying hello but I just assumed you wouldn't be there. I wanted CJ to see tiny town.

Now I'm sorry we didn't stop. Worst case, I'd have knocked on the wrong door.

Jessi said...

I'm sorry I missed you. And Saturday, too. It was a crazy weekend!

Becca said...

I understand - it's been a crazy week! Too short. I can't believe we fly back tomorrow since it seems like we just got here.