Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder By Mikki Flaherty

Updated: Apr 7

This is the of a Mom that had 13 hours of free time this week. A Mom that got to go shopping alone, fold laundry while watching a grown-up show, got to talk to her husband uninterrupted, and used the bathroom multiple times without anyone busting in on her. 🙌

This was a big week at our house. Both of my kids went to school for full days on their new hybrid schedule. Last week my son had the sniffles so he had to stay home, so this was the real official week that they both went.

After I dropped them off, I went out to my car and cried like a baby. At first, I thought it was because they're growing up so quickly and it's a big milestone for them and how much I was going to miss them. And that was probably part of it. But the main thing I felt was relief.

It's been over 7 years of staying home and taking care of my family, and I'm so thankful to have that option, but it's also hard. I have a great husband and family that will watch them and give me breaks when I really need it, but there's always that lingering guilt that follows me, or the worry if they're going to behave for them or if they're missing me or if my being away is an inconvenience to them. Even when it's my own husband staying home with them, I never feel totally free and relaxed. Mom guilt is a bitch.

After looking forward to this year for so long and then dealing with a pandemic, and remote learning, I was so excited last week for this day! Then the day was finally here and I had to keep one kid home and once again that bot of freedom slipped away. I was very careful to not get my hopes up this time in case one of them got a cold or any number of things that could pop up. So when I got to walk back out to the car alone, feeling confident about where they were, who they were with, that they were safe and being protected and having fun, all that tension just melted away.

I love my kids, but we need to normalize Moms needing a break from them once in a while. Being a parent, especially to young kids, is literally a 24 hour job. Even if your body gets to rest, your mind doesn't. We've talked about the Mother's Mental Load on our podcast and it's no joke- the amount of stuff we carry around in our heads is incredible. And exhausting.

My biggest hope for this new stage of life is that it makes me a better mother. I find myself spending most of my day in a flurry of multi-tasking that still doesn't manage to accomplish everything. I'm constantly distracted, trying to fit in chores or meals between breaking up fights or setting up activities. It's so hard for me to settle in and just focus 100% on being present with my kids. It wasn't always like that, but these days the struggle is real. So if I can have that mental break, get my adulting stuff done during the days they're at school, I can miss them and be excited to see them and spend some quality time just focusing on them. That's my hope anyways. A girl can dream, right?

So I'll be soaking up my alone time while I get it, and giving my brain a much needed break...until dinner time at least.



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