I’m one of those mothers who baby wears, co-sleeps and attachment parents. I don’t use those labels as I think they sound a bit silly, but good chunks of those philosophies fit with what I do. As a friend of mine said, she didn’t find a parenting philosophy and then slavishly follow it, she did what she did and then realised that it partially matched with some philosophies out there. That sums up what I do too.
All this means that for the first few years of each child’s life, I have been their near constant companion.
Children get older and more independent
Children however grow up and get more independent and start loosening the apron strings. I know some people mourn their children’s independence, I relish it, I enjoy widening the circle of my arms to let them grow and explore at their own pace. I’m there for them, I’ll always be a hands on mother and emotionally close to my children, but I enjoy getting a bit of me the separate adult back again.
Seeing Mommy as a Person
Recently I’ve joined a community organisation, which involves being out and about on occasion, usually at night after my children are in bed (my husband asked that I please ensure they’re bathed and in bed before I go off to do anything).
My children are both very supportive, the older one gets really excited when I go off, particularly if first responder skills are needed and the younger one has found a plastic radio which she chatters into using my call sign. She gets a little sad if she knows I’ll be on patrol after she’s gone to bed though, but I explain that sometimes we have to do things to help others too and she settles happily again.
I remember so well those feelings of despair when my children were small. Where, as much as I loved spending an afternoon breastfeeding while I read a good book, sometimes I wanted to get out of that chair and just walk out of the house without having to ask my husband to care for the children (much like he did when he wanted to go to the shop or something). I still need to ask him to look after them and he can still go out without asking me to look after them, and it isn’t being away from them that gives me a break, it is doing something I enjoy.
What I hope my children will learn
I hope they will learn that it is good to be considerate and kind and take others’ needs into account, that it is a good thing to do something for your community, and that it is quite all right to be a parent and a person too. Really, I hope they learn the importance of balance. They see me go off to work where I work half day, we go on family walks and runs together, we do many fun activities together and they see me doing things I enjoy that don’t necessarily involve them. Dad has never stopped having to do what he enjoys, and I don’t regret for a minute the years spent intensely mothering my children and meeting their need for my presence, but I certainly am enjoying doing a little of what I want to do.
Do you take time out from your older children to follow your dreams?