11 August 2008

Not Your Average, Everyday Mom

Today, as many of you read this, Bubba and Miss-Miss will be attending their first-ever day of school. Montessori pre-school to be exact. At 8:30 AM, I will drop them off. There won't be any gradual separation or walking them into the school while I quietly slip away as their attention is focused elsewhere. Their teachers will come out to help them out of the minivan and as the rear door slides closed, J-man and I will drive off. It seems this "cold-turkey separation" is easiest for the kids and the teachers.

And as I drive off? I may shed a couple of tears over their momentary trauma, but overall?

I will be so damned relieved.

I'm constantly reading mom blogs, and overhearing mom conversations, about mothers who are devastated that their children have started school. These moms cry because their little ones are all grown up and have started down the path of independence. As mom and child are separated the mothers feel a sense of loss and know that soon enough, their children will no longer depend on them. There's an over-all sense of sadness that their jobs as mothers are over and what will they do then?

Me? I'm looking forward to my kids' first day of school. I'm looking forward to that next step. I've always said to my children, I can't wait to see what kind of people you become. I can't wait to meet your friends, visit your colleges, check out your office, stay in your new apartment/house, and have lengthy discussions about your career choices or love lives! And this first day of school is that first step toward independence and their ever-elusive, ever-present futures.

And it's also the first step toward gaining some of my sanity, some of me, back. If the last three years have taught me anything it's that I'm so very ready to get me back; I'm not cut out for mom-hood 24/7. I watch those mothers who home-school their children for 12 years and I don't know how they do it. How they can immerse themselves so completely in the lives of their children? I know that if I were to do the same, I would lose myself, my identity. I fear that I would forget about those things that made me me before the kids came along. I already feel like I'm losing myself and becoming this ever-cross, ever-stressed, ever-grumpy, baggy-eyed thing that barely resembles the girl my husband fell in love with. Honestly? I don't think I would still love the me I've turned into if I were the Ty-man.

As I write this, thinking about driving away from my sweet children that I take for granted and their new future, I know I'll be stressed about Miss-Miss and Bubba crying, sitting in this strange place and wondering if I'll ever come back, if I've left them forever. But me crying that they're growing up? No, that I won't cry about. I can't cry about something that is meant to be, something that is positive, and something that gives my children their identities and freedoms, and restores my identity and freedom as well.

If only for three hours a day.


Dave2 said...

But you WILL remember to go pick them up again... won't you? :-)

HEATHER said...

I share so many of your feelings about losing yourself. I think that is why I blog and stay up so late.
I decided to homeschool my son due to the fact that he inherited my horrid stubborn streak. This stubborness resulted in a very bad school experience for me. So we are going to homeschool this year since he's five, who knows I may go crazy and not last the year and be begging my alma mater to take him mid-year.

Jenn said...

School is still a few years away for us - but I feel the same way - I love what you wrote about seeing what kind of people your kids become - we've talked about that a lot here, it feels like that's when your hard work as a parent pays off, when your kids are older, and have turned into really cool people!!

Enjoy your 3 hours!

Bucky said...

I can tell you now that my wife feels the same way. She can hardly wait to ship the kids off to school so she can get back into the work force.

MochaMamaX2 said...

All I have to say is try not to go hog wild with your new found three hours of freedom! :-) Seriously, for someone who isn't cut out for the 24/7 mommy thing, you seem to have done a great job of it for the last three years! I look forward to the stories you will have to tell as the kids' personalities come out! Douglas just transitioned to his Montessori preschool class, and I am entertained every day with the new discoveries. Enjoy - everything!!

Willie G said...

Good luck with that, and enjoy the time you have. My children are grown and on their own. My wife still struggles with them being out of her care. Mothers are hard-wired to their babies.

That One said...

As I write this, you've had one hour of child-free time.

As someone who doesn't have children I may not fully understand your situation but I DO fully understand the value of "me time" -- I covet those moments something fierce. I hope your tears were short-lived and that you are enjoying the time to yourself.

Donna said...

I've got really mixed feelings about this moment. Part of me is looking forward to the days when both my kids will be in school and I can get back to 'the way it was' (if that's even possible); then, I'm overwhelmed at the thoughts that I'm running out of time, moments, memory-makers with my son (and soon, my daughter) as an innocent child and that makes me sad. He's so free right now, and as much as he drives me to the brink of harry-carry, I like that he's such a wild, free kid.

RiverPoet said...

I was/am the same kind of mother as you. I've always been independent, and I never wanted to be like my mom who stayed home with us until we were completely grown and lost much of herself in the process. She was miserable, depressed, and suicidal most of the time. I knew that isn't who I wanted to be. Turns out I have a lot of her traits. I needed more "me" time, and I don't think it hurt the kids to have their "me" time either. It's natural. I think some moms just have trouble with boundaries (Where do I end? Where does my child begin?)

I applaud you for knowing yourself well enough to look forward to this new era. You will cry; I have no doubt. But it's normal to cry when you experience such a big change. All will be well.

Peace - D

Geekgrl64 said...

You will totally love Montessori. My son went through Montessori preschool and I am so glad I had him in that school.

Enjoy those three hours!

BTW - are you and Ty-man hitting Dragon Con this year?

Anonymous said...

I was pretty strong when I dropped Princess off at pre-school...but I did cry pulling away from kindergarten. This year, she starts 1st grade at a new school and BamBam starts pre-school. I'm not sure how I'll be yet. I've been uncharacteristically weepy lately, so it'll be a crap shoot.

It wasn't the separation thing for me. I LOVED that part. It was the sudden realization that they are growing up so fast and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Something about seeing her with her backpack and new school outfit...and she was so excited and non-clingy...she barely looked back.

Hope you all enjoyed the 3 hours :)

...and I'm very jealous about the Montesorri school...the closest to us is 45 minutes away.

Avitable said...

Only three hours?

I agree with you about moms who have no identity - those are actually the types of "mommybloggers" I can't stand because they have no personality beyond their children.

Expat No. 3699 said...

While they're at school, you get recess. Yeah for recess!

Violet the Verbose said...

Amen! Good luck to the kiddos and enjoy your "free time!" Have fun getting you back.

I feel the same way about losing myself in motherhood and needing the school time to find "me" again. Sweet Pea will be going back to her Montessori (love it, BTW - we do get to walk the kids in but leave them at the classroom door - only rarely do the parents get to visit the "inner sanctum") school on the 25th and is really excited about it. I'm looking forward to The Bug going there too, but we've probably got another two years before that happens... unless I feel she's ready next year.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

You guys started TODAY!!! Holy cow!! We don't start for another MONTH!! I can see you now, walking through your kitchen taking deep breaths and reveling in the silence. Welcome to the next great chapter! I am so happy for you, hon!

Molly's Mom said...

How did it go?

I can tell you that in the field I'm in, I see LOTS of kids who really should get out of the house and socialize with people other than family. Many of them end up doing very well with the separation - it's the mom/dad who has the worst time. I totally, completely, wholeheartedly endorse daycare and/or preschool for little ones...I think that's part of why my kiddo is so laid back. Hopefully someday, universal preschool will be a reality.

You deserve to have a few hours off, even if it's still with one bebe. Have fun!

Fran Houston said...

All hail free time! Now make sure J-man naps while they are away!

Claire said...

I love that post.
I've a 4 year old starting big school in three weeks... and I've been crying too but that's given me a whole new perspective on it.

Miss Britt said...

Heh. Yeah. I cried. I cry at everything.

And I still love, want, need my "me time".

But I'm a crier. ;-)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Dave2 - Yes. I'll remember. I promise!

Other Heather - If you start to go crazy, you always have us. :)

Jenn - Exactly! I can't wait to see who they become!

Bucky - Thank goodness there are more of us out there!

Denise - I may just paint the town red, hon! :) Thanks, hon! I MISS YOU!

Willie G - Yeah. I did cry a little. I couldn't help it. But it was a good cry. An "I'm excited for you" cry.

Tuli - I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Donna - And you know? That's awesome and he'll turn into a wild, free adult!

River Poet - Thanks, hon!

Geekgrl64 - I enjoyed it so much as a kid and I'm excited about my kids always having fond Montessori memories, too! And yep, I'll be at DragonCon at least one day. E-mail me!

MommyCosm - Yeah, that did get me. I pictured her as a tiny little premature baby in the NICU. It is SUCH a huge leap.

Avitable - I know! Three hours doesn't seem enough. :)

Employee No. 3699 - Recess rawks!

Violet the Verbose - My free time was well-spent!

NATUI - I KNOW! And they won't get out until the end of May. So here in GA, it's just two months for summer. Bummer.

Molly's Mom - It went good. Just a few tears of "Holy shit! We made it!" and they did great. It tires them out, though! Miss-Miss is ready for a nap as soon as she gets home.

Beth - Yeah. That's the biggee.

Claire - Thanks for stopping by, hon!

Britt - Crying is good. :)

Anonymous said...

Good on you for your honesty. I'm ready to get back to work after two days with a sick kid, can't imagine how you stay at home types keep it together. Enjoy your new found freedom!

Gypsy said...

I hope those 3 hours bring you much peace of mind. :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

A Free Man - Thanks, hon!

Gypsy - They do! They truly do!