Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? I think that it does. Especially when it comes to my children. When you miss people, you are all the more excited to spend quality time with them. I’ll be quite frank. As a stay-at-home Mom, I am the main point person for everything child-related and it gets overwhelming.
I don’t think that this responsibility is any less for a working Mom. Moms in general seem to just fall more readily into the caretaker role with kids. But while I’m keeping the family alive and afloat, my husband is out in the world. He’s commuting to the city, going to after-work functions, and traveling a fair amount for work as well. He can easily go days without seeing the kids even if he’s local, just based on his work schedule.
You know what that means to me? My husband has the luxury of missing his children. Yes, I said luxury. I’m not certain that he sees it as a luxury, but I do. Sure, he misses out on lots of everyday triumphs that I get to see. I’m there for them trying the high beam for the first time in gymnastics class, Kindergarten graduation, rocking out to the Bicycle song in music class, and more. And I treasure these little moments.
But you should see his face when he finally gets to hug the kids after a few days without seeing them. Like he really means it. Like he really missed them. Other than bedtime, when was the last time I hugged my kids like I really meant it? I love my children, I swear, there’s lots of affection in my house! I hug them often; but there are “everyday” hugs and then there are “I’ve really missed you” hugs. There’s a difference!
Last year was our 10 year wedding anniversary, and to celebrate the joyous occasion, we went away for 10 kid-free days. It was AMAZING. I’ll never forget the bizarre feeling of waving at my children in the window and driving southbound on the Merritt Parkway without them. It was an overwhelming mix of excitement, sadness, fear, and happiness. I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and commented, “You do this all the time….it’s weird for me.” That trip was wonderful for my soul, it felt SO GOOD to actively miss my children. I remember how excited we both were to get back home to see the kids.
While obviously that kind of trip cannot be achieved every year, it planted the idea in my bones. In order to be a better mother, I need to miss my children more often. In other words, I gotta get away. I have always managed one ladies weekend a year, but this year I think that I am due for some extra. Even just a night away in the city would serve me well. Missing the morning grind with kids would really be okay for me. I can guarantee that I would come home with a pep in my step and a more optimistic outlook on parenting.
I’m a good Mom. I love what I’m doing with my life. But everyone needs a little break from their regularly scheduled life. When you are the designated home base for everyone, it’s so easy to get caught up in the drama of life. You forget to appreciate the tiny people right in front of you…simply because they (or you) never go away!
The problem is that when you are home base, you can’t just get away for a few days like it’s no big deal. There are tiny people to shuttle around and groceries to gather and people who expect to be fed. It’s a lot to offload on someone else. You find yourself calling in favors to neighbors, flying in Grandma, and paying up for babysitters. But it’s so worth it when you walk in the door on Sunday night and they run to you like they really mean it. I think that, maybe, just maybe, it’s also good for the kids to miss Mom.