Our children are almost always with us. Sure, there have been the occasional overnights when one isn't home and there are the handful of times Jamey and I have gone away for an anniversary or funeral... but never for five days. And never has it left me home alone in an empty house, except for our dog who seemed to enjoy being an only child despite missing his little people.
It's not often that I'm given this much free time. At first it scared me. What would I do with that much total me-time? This lead to another question. Who is this me that has all this free time anyway? What do I do without my kids?
There is a lot of talk (and think) about "losing" yourself to motherhood. It's something I know many women wrestle with. Our days often do not look like they did before children. No longer do some of us use those corporate (or otherwise) gifts to earn money and interact with the world in a direct way that makes us feel like outward contributors to society. I don't think that when women struggle with this they are saying they don't feel as if motherhood isn't a major, worthwhile contribution to society. It's just...different.
So what would the pre-child me do with five free days? I couldn't even figure that out because that person doesn't exist anymore. Thirteen years have come and gone. What was important to me then isn't important to me now. That woman has changed.
I don't mind that she's gone. I liked her an awful lot, for sure. She was all that I knew. But now I know the me-with-children. And I like her a lot, too. Oh, she's not perfect. She messes up every day. She yells at her kids sometimes. Some days she's on her computer too much. Sometimes she loses her patience and wishes she had more freedom.
But she's a mother now and all of those struggles come with the mothering territory. It's hard but it in no way makes the pre-child her any more important or valuable than the her she is now.
I realized in my discernment about how to spend my five days that I am a mother through and through for this season of my life. I enjoyed the previous season and I will enjoy the next. But for now, being a mother even when my children are away is the best me I can be. Anything else would be trying to be someone I'm not.
So what did I do for five days when my children spent time with their grandparents? I washed their clothes and sheets, made up their beds, got some school plans together, and stocked the fridge for their return. I checked things off my to-do/want-to-do list that normally draw me away from them (computer work, writing, taxes, visiting with a friend, shopping, quality time with Jamey) so that when they came home, I was be ready to mother (with children) again. Don't worry, though. I also indulged in watching a show in the middle of the day with snacks and managed to not cook a stitch of food (pulling food out of fridge and freezer is not officially cooking in my book).
If you don't find yourself at the same place I am with this whole mother-identity thing, that is okay. We all experience, manage and live out our mothering differently. And I can honestly say that there have been times, especially when my children were younger, that I wasn't at this place either.
At this point in time, I am a child of God, follower of Jesus, wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, foster parent, church-attender, home manager, and teacher.
But most of all, I am Mother.
And I am okay with that. Pin It