To Break or Not to Break...

The reason I feel like I never get a real break from my job is my fault. I put a lot of pressure and importance on myself. I have this idea that that my little corner of the world will stop spinning if I go. Or at the very least someone won't get fed or won't go to bed on time. The horror.
Irrational, I know. And I'm grown-up enough (barely) to admit it.

It's a frequent conversation with Ryan and I, this need for a "real break."

H- "I am so tired. I don't think I've ever been this tired before. I just feel like I never get a break. I mean a real break, where it's long enough and truly refreshing. I mean, when I go out with a friend it's practically after the kids are in bed anyway and then I feel like I should hurry because I want to make sure to get enough sleep......"

R- "Well, why don't you go during the day and," (I cut him off)

H- "Because then I feel guilty, like I'm leaving you here to be with the boys when you probably have work to do and I worry the whole time that you might want me home so I just think about coming home and it's not relaxing anyway. And it's too short."

R- "Okay...well...um....you could still go. I'm telling you to go so I don't mind...Why don't you go, like to a coffee shop or," (I cut him off)

H-"Did you just hear me, it won't work! And where would I go anyway, it's not like Target is fun for me anymore anyway!"

R- "Um...okay....um...."

H-"How come it seems like you don't really want me to go? You just say 'um' a lot and so I think maybe you're hesitant and that means you have other things on your mind to do and you don't want to stay home with the boys anyway. You need to be honest with me. I can't take more stress!"


Yup, there it is. In black and white. Or green and green or whatever... I can admit it, like I said. Maybe I'm just a bit more irrational than the average wife and mom. You can tell me that I'm not though, if you want to, cause then I'd feel better. Or don't. Whatever. Call me crazy if you'd like because I live with me so I already know.

I hope to get to a place where I'm a bit more healthy about this. Because it's also healthier for my family if I can go away here and there and come back refreshed. For now, I'm a bit silly about it.

My lovely sister-in-law was talking about taking her annual trip to Duluth soon and casually threw out a, "HEY, you wanna come?"

I froze. The words "yes...but..." came quickly rolling off my tongue. I couldn't commit. I looked at Ryan and saw the natural and validated lone father fears flash across his face. He's an excellent dad, but he feels a bit leery of doing things alone. And a lot of that is my fault since I'm always directing and correcting. (I'm mom. I know best.)

But I imagine a weekend in Duluth. Beautiful lakes, books to be read, good meals to devour, naps to be had, mornings with no alarm clock...bliss. Seems so simple. Just say YES. Then I remember the reason I feel afraid to take these invitations.

When Miles was just a few weeks old we went to my parents hometown for Sonshine, a music festival my mom dreamed up and began over twenty-five years ago. I was a wreck. I was adjusting to Miles, constantly feeding him to make sure I was doing it right and totally afraid of my new role as mom. We were standing with a group of old friends and I was clutching Miles to my chest afraid that it was too hot for him, thinking we should leave, or maybe I should go feed him again. After all it had been like an hour. My mom took him from my arms to go show him to someone who hadn't met him yet. And then I felt it for the first time. A physical pull. A straining in the center of who I am toward my baby as he moved farther from me. He only went about fifty yards from me (with my own mother), and yet I still felt like there was a cord between us, pulling me with him.

I have felt it ever since. With both of my boys. It's not as severe as the postpartum days. But it's always there. Surely this has something to do with the fact that they were once literally connected to me. But it's also the way they have a hold on my heart. To the extent that I want to be there to protect and direct every moment. Sure is a fine line. They need me to care. They need me to comfort. But they also need me to rest. They need me to enjoy them with a renewed sense of awe for them. They need me to take a break from my own impatience, worries and the incessant duties that can sometimes drive me to resentment. And I know I need it too.

Maybe I should go to Duluth. But I'm not making any promises quite yet.

5 clicked right here to comment:

joolee said...

You TOTALLY should go to Duluth! It's gorgeous this time of year and it sounds like you could really use a break. There's always next year, but next year we'll prolly be buried under army worms and fighting for our lives. So go.

And your mom invented Sonshine!!???

heather said...

I'm so confused about army worms.
yeah, my mom and Sonshine, they've a very long relationship. She envisioned the festival and connected with just the right people. The rest they say, is history...

Elle said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one like this... Jeff thinks I'm totally unhealthy and deranged. We've actually never had a sitter - I mean, aside from Grandma watching her for a couple of hours here and there. Two years (almost) and no sitter. But I've gotta say - I'm not embarrassed by that. In some ways I'm kind of proud of it. And I have a really hard time imagining going away from her for too long.

k & k said...

GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No brainer! Kids will live and you will "LIVE"!

Jules said...

I am the same way with my kids - and I have felt the same tug at my heart whenever I had to be away from my babies. It's like they are just an extension of you and to be away from each other feels wrong somehow.

I can honestly say that as they get older, it gets easier to be away. I followed my mother instincts and never left them when they were young. It was hard, but in the scheme of things, that time is so short.

But Duluth? Man, that is a beautiful place! ;)

(BTW -we love Sonshine!)

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