Friday, March 29, 2013

Quiet, Please.

George and Claire went out together for a few hours yesterday. I was alone in the house. I let the obligations go. I listened to the blood rushing through my head, the heat circulating through the pipes, my breath's rhythm.

Silence like this is novel. It's quiet when my baby is asleep. But not silent. The absence of sound becomes filled with my anticipation of her cough, a bad dream, or a movement of some kind.

A mother's connection to her child makes a sound, even when her child naps.

Yesterday, I had free time. Free time. Let the words roll over your tongue slowly. Imagine not being hurried, not being needed, not feeing like you're stealing a moment for yourself.

Yesterday, I didn't want George and Claire to come home. I wanted to run away. I didn't want to have any responsibilities.

mommy me time

I write often about the way our identity changes when we become a mom, the reshuffle of priorities, the parts of ourselves that get put aside, because of the all-encompassing nature of being a parent. I don't write about my hatred for how these changes make me feel sometimes, or how I want to quiet the voices in my head.

You see, it's just that I don't want to choose between me and my daughter. I don't want to see my daughter as a chore. I don't want to have limits. I don't want solitude to get pushed aside. I want there to be more time and less obligations. I want my husband to take her more. You see, before Claire, there was more time. It all makes me so mad, I could jump up and down and throw a tantrum the likes of which even my daughter couldn't muster.

But, then, I feel guilty.

"I called my daughter a chore! How can I want to run away from my family?" I start to panic a bit, making up doomsday scenarios in my head. "What if they went away forever? That would serve me right." Self-recrimination sets in about now. "I need to just suck it up! I need to just be grateful for the time I have. I don't even work and I only have one kid; I don't have nearly as much on my plate as some people. What am I complaining about? I need to stop complaining!"

There are many truths. other than the ones in my head. I know that my feelings will pass. I know that I could not do without my daughter and husband for that long. I like that they need me. I need them too.

I also know that I really do need more time for myself. And that I'm probably not going to get it.

Yes, so many truths. Ones that refuse to be reconciled.

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  1. I think we all have these moments as mothers every once in awhile (especially when my kids are extra scootchy and loud, lol!!). But seriously could so relate and even last Sunday, I ran errands by myself and it was quiet in the car and took my time and the long way home just because I could. So yes I get it totally!

  2. I can understand this all too well. Even though I work from home a few mornings per week, when my son is in preschool, during those hours, I'm usually scrambling to get everything done before I have to pick him up. On Wednesday morning, our cable, internet, and phone went out. For three hours. I had no idea what to do with myself. I had so much to do! It was truly QUIET. But then I curled up on the couch with a magazine and simply enjoyed the silence. Just priceless.

  3. I totally get this. I want to run away sometimes too. I, sadly, love the 20 minute drive to work when I am alone in the car screaming along to the radio. I would say singing, but in no world could that be accurate!

    I personally do not understand the mom's that don't want to run away. I don't think you really put Claire (or your husband) in the chore category. I think that sometimes you might get overwhelmed that their whole being is dependent on you. Moms have more stress than the President, I swear!
    I am glad you took the time to breathe.

  4. Gorgeous post and so true. When you get that slice of fresh air it just feels like such an incredible blessing and I cherish these rare times so much. But you're right too--I don't want to complain and we all know what our real blessings are, huh? Such crazy business trying to feel balanced in motherhood...

  5. Sometimes, just sometimes... I hate the responsibilities of motherhood. I can't say completely that I "hate being a mom", because I obviously love my kids and I love parts of this role. But I do often hate the responsibility of running a household for 5 people. Those moments of quiet, with nothing that HAS to be done, are so rare. Those moments of only having myself to care for don't exist... I miss them. Just not enough to ditch the whole gig. Every mother knows the feeling, whether they express it as eloquently as you or ever at all. Love your blog.

  6. I think unless we take care of ourselves and get what we need, we aren't well equipped to be our best for everyone else. I'm glad you had some silence and time. Running away is a fantasy we all have at one point, but it's just that. A five minute fantasy.

  7. So so true, the turmoil between wanting peace or just pieces of me back and then the horrid mama guilt/shame. I am so glad for God's grace and strength to keep me in the right perspective when I swing too far into one or the other. Loved this post. You cracked me up at the end, with, " Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten for a second why I was angry. Now I remember." lol This is a message more mamas need to hear so they can know they are not alone.

  8. I am so with you! I just recently left the working world after 18 years to be a SAHM. I can honestly say that my hubby has seriously only taken the kids maybe a half dozen times in the 16 years that we have been together. You are perfectly right to want some free time and most times we simply have to grab it when we can. New follower here from Stacey @

  9. Mm hmm, nodding my head affirmatively. I love my children like no other, but on the rare occasions dad has them, they all come back waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon.

    And after a second of that, I'm glad they're home. :)

  10. Don't be so hard on yourself--we all go through it. It's hard to keep your identity when suddenly everyone sees you only as a MOM. You seldom get time to yourself to do the things you once loved. You seriously have to grab the moments when they come and take faith in the fact that it won't be like this just seems like it! Hey, I have a new award for you--stop by my site and grab it! Congrats!

  11. Oh sweet girl ... we all go through it! You know that your daughter is not a chore, yet we feel like it because it is never ending.
    You need to take time for yourself. Those moments where we don't have to think about if our kid is ok are what keeps us sane.
    Your a mom ... no one is judging you! Live up those moments sweet girl!

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  12. What a truly wonderful post! When you get that away feeling even for a two minutes, it is quite special! We all need time away! Even going to Target by myself sans kids, is wonderful!

  13. "I don't have nearly as much on my plate as some people. What am I complaining about?"

    I've said this to myself dozens of times at different phases of life. I just think with motherhood we feel it more acutely. Perhaps because our generation has made motherhood into something even more intensely and terribly essential than it already is. I don't know. There's something there; I need to think about it.

    In the meantime - glad you had some alone time. I did today, too, and it is glorious.

  14. Why is it we feel selfish when we wish for something personal? Are we not important, too? Of course we are! We all must have our own time ... otherwise, go crazy! A little bit of sanity allows us to share at other times. If a person doesn't want time for themselves, they ARE crazy! Great job!

  15. I have this all the time, Rachel. Really. My kids are ALWAYS with me. Every moment of the day from 7 AM - 9:30 PM - non-stop. Seriously. The way my husband works. I homeschool. They are always with me.

    I had been going to the gym almost everyday, but because the baby was getting sick so much - I had to stop going.


    There went my "me" time.

    My husband doesn't care to come home early enough for me to go.

    I totally understand what you are saying. My husband will take the 2 olders some Saturday mornings. The baby will be with me. I pray for the baby to sleep - so I can hear the blood rushing through my head. What a glorious sound that would be, you know?

    Sometimes, we just need to hear the blood rushing through our own heads.

    Thanks for this Rachel! You are awesome!

  16. Hi Rachel

    You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about - we all feel like this! Babies (and children) are so absorbing that you can feel that you have lost yourself somewhere along the way.

    Happy Easter.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

  17. Amen. When my husband or my mom takes my son out, I also feel like I can finally breathe. I am so happy, and I am so worried. Of course my anxiety/narcissism makes it impossible for me to believe my child is completely safe without me. So I enjoy my peace and quiet while also pushing down that worry. It's not as hard as it sounds. What I like even better, is going to Panera, while a sitter is at my house and relaxing and writing my heart out!

  18. Although I don't have children, most of my friends do, and I can assure you that your conflicting feelings are completely normal! Of course you love her, but you still need your own time. Honestly, I suspect having time to yourself probably makes you a better mother.

    So take some time for yourself and do something...or nothing. Dealer's choice!

  19. Sometimes that silence that we crave just makes us go crazy with thinking too much! Just know that we've all been there, and we understand!

  20. I had a moment like this late night. I only had 30 minutes alone but it was enough to just renew me.

  21. Thanks for being so transparent! I don't have kids but I totally get what you are saying about needing "me" time. I have a needy husband, lol, and that can be overwhelming when I have so much to do.


  22. Ugh! I was feeling crappy all day today with feelings just like this. I was resentful that my hubby was laying late in bed and I was yet again doing the hard work. It was about my time for a lay in. I am just getting 'me' time now at the end of the day, it is so hard to get!

  23. I can relate so much to this. Motherhood is definitely a 24/7, always-on-call kind of career! We all need some time to be free for a while. :)

  24. I can relate to this post so well...but it does get better. I promise!

  25. I am so with you on this sister! I daydream almost DAILY that my Hubs will get up the courage to take our 3 little darlings out of the house one of these days for a couple hours so I can have that total silence in the house.

    You are so right about the "waiting for sounds" version of silence - it's just not relaxing. I can never nap when they nap anymore - the twins being 3yo now can get out of their rooms. I can't be that mom on the news who's kids burned the house down while she was asleep on the sofa - and yet, I soooo could be that mom.

    I have runaway fantasies all the time. You are not alone here!

  26. Oh how familiar this all sounds! I remember during my first year of being a mom, I was utterly overwhelmed with a feeling of amazement that I was feeling a little trapped. I think in the fantasy we all build up in our heads about what parenting is like, we never figure in the exhaustion, the constant demands on our time, the feelings of guilt/inadequacy/doubt, etc.

    But it gets easier as they grow and the overwhelm does subside - somewhat. Hang in there.

    And, yes, let the hubs take your daughter for walks every now and again so you can have some time to yourself, even if it's just to sit and breathe.


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