Let me preface this by saying one very important thing: I love my kids. Like… LOVE my kids. Along with Colby, they are my entire world.
Yet, having said that, I’ve noticed time and time again that when Colby and I travel, I’m a different person.
And as soon as I step back into our home, with our kids, I slip right back into “mom mode” and it’s not always a good thing.
For example, we were gone for 3 nights this past weekend for Dad 2.0 Summit. A conference with, pretty much, all adults doing adult things, having adult conversations.
Once we got home, I was met at the door by our youngest, arms held out ready for a long-awaited hug.
This part I love. Having not worked out of the house in over 15 years, I would often be jealous of the attention Colby would get from the kids after a long day of work.
These kinds of greetings are my equivalent to that.
So, at least things start off well. But, they seem to go downhill quickly sometimes.
The girls have been doing this with us long enough to know that we often come home with swag. They, of course, want to know if we have anything for them.
Fair enough. We do try to pick them up things when we can; whether swag given at the events we attend or grabbing something at a store on our own.
This particular time, we did come home with a few products they might like, so we gave them the boxes to open.
After wheeling our luggage to our room, we sat down and watched them open the boxes. Joeli decided on a book about Martin Luther King, Jr. she found tucked inside one of the boxes.
As Colby and I sat talking with our other daughters, Joeli began rearranging furniture. When we suggested Colby move to sit near her on the couch, rather than moving furniture, she started crying.
We had been home less than 15 minutes, Y’all! 15 minutes and there were tears.
I could not understand why and was instantly thrown back into mom mode.
I explained to her that I couldn’t understand her need to cry, nor did it make sense for her to rearrange furniture when her dad could easily get up and move closer to her.
At that exact point, I felt the tension in my shoulders come back. The area between my brows flexed and my body begin to tense.
There it was.
My mom body, soul and mind.
Every bit of the relaxation feeling I had while away was gone.
Again, I love my kids. But, I’ve also come to realize how important self-care is.
I’m not the type to intentionally take a day to go to the spa or get a massage, those things are simply not my style.
Therefore, I use any time away to unwind a bit, kick my shoes off so to speak, and relax a little.
You know; no one to feed, no one else to bathe, no tattling, no sibling rivalry, no one to truly fret over.
If I feel like eating, I eat. If I need to go to the bathroom, I can go without making sure everyone else is fine without me. If I want to shower, I shower.
In fact, it’s so freeing that my anxiety takes a step back and I can relax. I FaceTime the kids a few times a day and text at other times.
Basically, I’m in constant communication with them, but I know someone else is with them, tending to them, taking care of their needs.
I know that I am free to do what I need to do and that my kids are fine.
I can be me. Staci. Not Mom.
At least not in the sense where that’s all I’m called all day.
Now, I can never fully stop being “Mom.” After all, to me, it’s perhaps my biggest accomplishment.
Colby and I have created these five incredible beings that give me life, bring me hope, and inspire me to truly live. They’ve taught me unconditional love and unwavering hope.
Alas, I need the time away every once in a while. I need to reset and refresh my mind… for me and for them.
Once the crying scene was over, Colby looked at me and asked if he needed to have a talk with me.
Nah, I got it. Just slipping back into mom mode.