Here is my mom truth: at least once a week I want to run away. Like change my name, hop in the car, and drive off to Mexico run away. It usually happens on those days where all the stress mounts up until you just can’t stand to hear the word Mama one more time. Or the days where you’ve given all you have and have nothing left. The days where the infant is nursing hours on end and all of a sudden you look at the clock and realize you have to run to drop off the registration forms for camp, pick up the kids, come home, cook dinner, change diapers, nurse the baby yet again, break up a fight, attempt to potty train the middle child, calm a meltdown, and, “How is it not bed time yet??”
I’m being honest when I say it’s during these insane moments where I drift off into a daydream, escaping all the chaos of the messy house and loud kids. I’m sitting somewhere quiet, reading a book, sipping some wine, and the best part? No one – NO ONE – needs anything from me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I love my life. But in these moments, it’s so tempting to just want to leave it all and retreat to my imagination of silence and beaches and no kids.
My husband is amazing and on more than one occasion has taken the kids to see his parents for a long weekend. But with the addition of a newborn it will be a long while before I get a weekend like that again. The funny part about those weekends away is that they start on a huge high note. There is this feeling of complete freedom as you see the family ride off, knowing you have the whole house and a king-sized bed to yourself. I used those coveted weekends to read books and clean the house. There was no Disney Channel on the television and no one asking me for a snack or to wipe their butt. The first two or so hours were great. By sunset, though, things started to get quiet. Almost too quiet. I found myself calling my husband to see what the kids were doing and if they were asking about me. Did they behave on the car ride? Did they eat dinner? Did they go to bed ok?
I loved the weekends my husband gave me off, but I missed my kids. Yes, I missed the chaos. And the noise. And the mess of toys all over. My house was clean and quiet but something was missing. It was the heart and soul of it all … my kids and my husband. As much as I yearned and craved to get away from it all, when it came down to it, I wanted them around. Running away sounds great in the moment. Somedays it sounds like the only way to save my sanity. But given the chance for real freedom, I miss my beautiful mess more.
So amid my craziness that is witching hour – where the baby is crying in the baby carrier while I attempt to cook dinner for the other two while simultaneously breaking up fights and loading yet another episode of “Wonder Pets” – I can mentally retreat to my happy place. And then I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and carry on with the chaos.