Thursday, October 24, 2013
I've been off in the land of Charlie Brown (St. Paul) attending a conference for work (I blogged about the conference over on my other blog). It was a great week, with lots of professional networking, inspiring ideas and presentations, and time by myself in a hotel and eating out a lot. As much as I love being a mom and a cook and a radical homemaker/small scale homesteader (while also working full time), it's still a nice break to go stay somewhere and have others clean up after me and feed me.
But what did I do with my kids for this week? Well, this is one of those times that it's really good to have some other homeschooling mom friends. We paid a friend to watch the kids during the days that my husband worked, and I left them for the week with frozen meals and activity bags packed and with a lot of worries and lists and all the laundry done and instructions for when kids needed to be where ...
And my husband ignored a lot of it and did things his own way and some of my prep was useful and they didn't get any schoolwork done and took an impromptu weekend trip away with my in-laws to the beach in Oregon ... and they were just fine without me.
Don't get me wrong - they were still very happy when I got home and I still feel needed. My daughter said "thank goodness you're home because I need laundry washed!" and my son said "please make a salad for dinner because Daddy didn't feed me any vegetables all week!", but they also said they had fun and they obviously had some good bonding time with their dad, without me there to be the automatic first responder.
Absence may not make the heart grow fonder, but it really does give you some perspective and more appreciation for things often taken for granted. Taking time away from my family does them no harm, and gets increasingly easier as they get older.
So don't be afraid to take some time away from your kids. Your partner can handle it. Really, they can. We may want to be needed, but we should also let others go without us every now and then. It gives them a chance to unfurl their wings and discover what they are capable of, and it gives everyone a chance to see you as more than a reliable caretaker.