When I found out that I was pregnant with Quinlan, I decided, in those few seconds staring at the positive pregnancy test, that I would be a stay-at-home-mom. I'm glad that it didn't work out that way because as I learned, that looked much better on paper and in my head.
That's been the case for so many parenting decisions I've made.
I've always been conflicted about what I think I should do and what I can really, truly physically and emotionally do as a parent, some lessons learned the very hard way, and others smartly given up before I even started.
And lately, I've come to the realization that in order for me to be a good mother to my children, I need to get away. As in physically leaving my house for a short period of time. No need for lounging at a poolside or sipping drinks in a fancy bar.
Though that helps.
In fact, I can be working long 10-hour days in Jersey City, like I did last week, and still come home completely refreshed and recharged as a parent. Mostly because during that time, I'm not parenting.
It's hard to explain this to my husband, whose "breaks" or parenting respites (to not piss anyone off, ahem) are already worked into his daily schedule. I get that it's work to him, not a break. There is no respite sitting in a small cockpit for 10 hours at a time. And I imagine I'd feel the same way if my job was more all-consuming of my time than parenting.
But in that time, he's not cooking, cleaning up, then cooking and cleaning up some more. Refereeing fights between sisters and debating the likelihood of rain with an anxious 5-year old. He is not the only adult in a home full of children, with no other adults around, with no place to hide and just catch a breath. That's what I do on a daily basis.
When I arrived home last week, I was excited to see my children. We played and talked. The daily goings on became almost novelties to me, even after only a few days away. Even the middle of the night visits didn't bother me.
I'm fortunate that my job affords me the opportunity to travel. And that my husband is able to ask for off days during those times, even though this means sacrifices for both of us other times during the month.
But I am learning that they're no longer a luxury for me. They're essential to my survival as a parent.
I'd love to know what you do to recharge and reboot. And feel free to share what you need to do for yourself in order to be a good parent to your kids.