Stepping Away

Kleenex, coughing fits, runny noses, ear infections, Amoxicillin, cough medicine, children’s Tylenol, and constant preaching. . . wash your hands, get a Kleenex, don’t wipe your nose on your shirt, please don’t put your face in Meadow’s face–we don’t want her to get sick. (This one never works–they are like magnets to Meadow).  What a week we had.

Chanelle didn’t leave the house all week except for the doctor.  I only left for a meeting.  We canceled our weekend plans to visit my Dad due to the rapid transfer of our germs among our household.  Our usually laid back and pleasant kids were suddenly fighting over toys they’ve had since infancy, whining incessantly, and incapable of entertaining themselves.  I was barely hanging on to my last nerve. 

This Momma needed a break.

I woke in the morning and raised one eye toward to window.  When I saw the light rays of sun peeking through the blinds I knew I needed to go.  I needed it like my lungs need air and my body needs nourishment.  I needed to step away.  I looked at Chad, do you mind if I leave for a bit? 

In minutes I was layered in sweater, coat, hat, gloves and with kisses thrown toward coughing little ones, I was out the door.  I drove to one of my favorite places and as I stepped out of the car I breathed deep the early morning air.  The morning sun was beautiful and in moments I knew that this is exactly what I needed.

I love being a Mom.  I really, really do.  In fact, I love it more than I ever thought I would.  I am so thankful for the gift I’ve been given to build into these three little lives.  For the gift of waking to their smiles, receiving their hugs, and kissing their boo-boos.  On most days, I am quite okay with wiping noses, changing my shirt that’s been thrown up on five times, and mediating disagreements.  Every now and then, though, I need to take a moment and remember that “Momma” is also Summer.

Some Mom’s can do it.  Some Mom’s can be engaged and “on” with their kids 24/7 and life is good.  I admire those ladies.  I, however, am not one of them.  I find myself getting short with them. I lose perspective.  Everything is catastrophic.  Small things become big things and big things become bigger things.  And truly, there really are no big things, only things I make big.

So, I take some time and I get away.  Alone.  The introvert in me gets the nourishment she needs.

I used to feel guilty about this.  Sad that I can’t be one of those Mom’s that can hack the job as it is.  Who can embrace every single moment and be the “good mom” all of the time.  The mom that can be up all night with sick kids and then go to work and the PTA meeting and then have coffee with a friend after that. I’ve learned that I just can’t do that.  I’ve learned that I’m a better Mom when I step away and allow my head to clear.  When I step away to feel the silence.  When I step away and acknowledged how I was made. . . one who needs solitude. 

I come away filled to the brim, happy, and excited to step back into my most important roles.

I think it’s all about balance.  Balancing their time, my time, his (Chad’s) time, and our time.  What I know is that there is no perfect balance.  There are seasons when the scales tip heavily in this direction or that one.  For one it might be tipped toward a career, while another might be passionately pursuing a hobby.  Maybe one is allotted the time to travel while another , like myself, is steeped knee deep in motherhood. 

One is not better than the other. One is not less while the other is more.  One is not good while the other is bad.  It just is what it is.  There are days when I long for the luxury of an uninterrupted night sleep.  When I try to remember what it felt like to have an uninterrupted conversation with Chad.  When I daydream about the days when I could go out for a run on a whim. . . when I could do anything on a whim.

Sometimes, I ache for those days and on those days I know. . . I need to step away.

That’s all it takes.  An hour.  An hour is all it takes.  Time to refocus, refuel, and to remind myself that there is absolutely nothing else I would rather be doing at this stage in my life.  Nothing at all.  What’s funny, though, is that while I’m away, I’m not really away at all.  In all reality, I take them with me.  In my mind I imagine their smiles, I hear their laughter in my head, and I’m anticipating hearing their excited cries of “Momma” when I return home.

Somehow, stepping away for just a bit helps me to find perspective again.  When my tank is on full, I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else.  Having a birthday party for stuffed animals sounds like the most delightful way to spend an afternoon and watching these little people grow right before my eyes feels like winning the most prestigious of awards.

I’m not trying to sugarcoat motherhood.  There are days that are so hard and exhausting and I wonder if I’m messing us all up.  But when I step away and look at our simple little life from afar I see how magnificent all of this is.

I realize that it’s okay that the scales are tipped a bit to one side right now, because that is exactly where they need to be.  Some things can sit on the back burner, because when the time is right. . . they will still be there.  But right now I’ve been blessed with the name Momma and holy cow I want to be present for it. 

And I will be present.  I will.  Even if that means that sometimes I need to step away and breathe so that I can see it all a bit more clearly.  By doing so it is so very clear to me. . . there is no other place I’d rather be. 

  • Anonymous - January 31, 2012 - 2:18 pm

    ahhh, such beautiful pics! Love the pics with Meadown wearing the scarf…adorable!!!!!!

    Glad you were able to get out and enjoy nature for a lil while! 🙂 I think every Mommy needs that every now and then, especially after a week spent at home taking care of sick kiddos.

    Love ya girly!

  • ally, zane, avery and nola - January 31, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    omG what awesome pictures.

    and words that ring true, loud and clear. breaks are essential.


  • Sassytimes - January 31, 2012 - 8:54 pm

    So beautiful and so true. You always seem to say exactly what I'm thinking/feeling, but waaaaaaay better. You have a gift. You do.

    …and it's nice to know someone else is just like me. I was starting to lose it today and luckily, my inlaws came to watch the kids for me so I could step away, alone, for an hour. The funny part is, when I'm away, I always think of the moment I get back home to see their little faces. It's my reminder that there isn't anything better out there. I'm not missing a thing. 😉

    LOVE the photo of you and the sun. Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Adopted Aunt - February 1, 2012 - 6:08 pm

    Love the pictures! And I am the same way!! Don't feel bad about it either. I needed my time and I still do. Do I mind being home alone? NO!!! You are a great mother!

    How did you take pic of the berries?

    give the kids hugs and kisses from me. Was in Wooster yest but the doc took to long or I would have called.

    Miss you all:)


  • Ky • - February 7, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    Summer, Summer, SUMMER…


    With each one, I kept thinking, "I'm going to comment about this one… not this one… not that one…"

    Summer, holy Toledo.



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