I came across this great article from the Offbeat Empire called Parental self-congratulation disguised as self-deprecation, and it made me think of the other side of the battle I’ve been waging with myself lately. For whatever reason — the lack of routine in the summertime, conference season for me and Tom, growth spurts, half-birthdays — the kids have been unusually needy lately, especially Amelia. It’s like we’re back in the baby/toddler phases when only Mommy’s good-night kiss/snuggle/band-aid/reading voice/opinion would do.
Just like when they were babies/toddlers — maybe more so — it’s exhausting. I am accustomed to having my own quiet time in the evening, and Amelia’s needs at night are eating away at that time. When I go out for an evening on my own, she walks me to my car and sobs in the drive away as I pull away. Even when it’s Tom’s turn to tuck them in, the kids beg for me to go in after him, and tuck them in again.
It’s exhausting, it gets claustrophobic, and I struggle with resentment. I have this sense that I ought to “carpe diem” the crap out of these days — they’re not getting any younger, and neither am I — but what with work, kids, marriage, and every dang thing else, it’s hard to find time that’s just for me! But even as I pull away, trying to make time and space for myself, the kids seem to cling harder. I doubt there’s a perfect solution, but I’m a bit gobsmacked by the fact that I’m still fighting for personal time/space with kids aged 3 and 6 — somehow I thought they’d be more independent by now. I keep telling myself to count my blessings, but candidly I’m much more inclined to start gnawing my own leg off.