“Oops! I Just Need a Little Space….”

Fridays with Robynn – “Oops! I just need a little space…..”

Once when my Adelaide was 5, she brought her ‘daughter’ –her younger sister –to me and said,

  “Can you please look after my little girl for me?” I was quick to volunteer my services, “Sure, are you going out shopping?”

“No,” she replied, “I just need a little space!”

Of course five-year old ‘mothers’ learn that from somewhere!

Oops!

School started here in our town this week. And where most moms were sad that the long lazy days of summer are over, that their time with their young darlings would now be dictated by school schedules, that their babies were being taken away from them….I was not! I was excited, relieved even. I’m just not one of those moms.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love my children. They are full of energy and passion. Each one of them is a charged up personality. They are all three articulate, competitive and opinionated. Each of them are growing into their own strong sense of self.  I love them deeply, keenly.

But I also love my space. I love routine. I love predictable rhythms. I love the freedom to write in complete sentences, to think full thoughts. I love quiet.

I cannot do that with my children around me.

For years I felt guilty about these things. Why wasn’t I more maternal? Why wasn’t I more warm and fuzzy?

Several years ago I read a profoundly personal book, Spirituality and the Mother Zone:  Staying Centered, Finding God by Trudelle Thomas. Thomas looks at issues surrounding motherhood that others aren’t honest enough to uncover. She talks opening about the loss of control, the occasional rages, the guilt, the resentment, the horrible feeling of not knowing what to do. She explores the secret topics of motherhood. I’ve always been an honest person, but I had never given voice to the niggling thoughts and relentless emotions (including, on occasion, the deep anger). Thomas gave me freedom to be me and the mother that I was created to be.

I guess I’m the best mother God intended for my children. I’m the one He chose for Connor, Adelaide and Bronwynn.  As I parent from who I am, with honesty and with joy, my children get me! With all my foibles and faults, with my frenzies and failings….my children get me.

I’m not likely to ever be up for Mother Of The Year, but I’m the mother here: year in, year out. And my children know I love them.

And they know I love having them back in school.

Last week after Sunday school, Connor’s teacher came up to me. She said she had told the kids that mothers are sad too that summer is over and the kids are all going back to school. Connor piped up, “Not my mom…she’s excited!”

        Oops!

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18 thoughts on ““Oops! I Just Need a Little Space….”

  1. I think there are many more of us moms like this than Hallmark wants us to believe ;) Add me to the team that while loving my kid I never stopped doing things for me as well.

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  2. Another good book on the anger issue is “She’s Gonna Blow”. I can’t remember who wrote it, but it looked at motherhood and anger in an honest, funny way. God didn’t wait until we were fully sanctified before giving us children and knows that we struggle with anger, selfishness with our time and the physical and emotional need for a little space now and then. He gives us a lot more grace than we give ourselves.

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    1. Thanks TIffany. I’m going to track down the book you mentioned. I’m grateful for that grace you mentioned. God is kind!

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  3. So funny – I have been exactly like you, Marilyn, and all the others who have contributed to the discussion thus far :-) In fact, I recently wrote a back to school blog post that included the Staples commercial that features the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…” which, of course, I sing to my children EVERY year in August! I love them – but I also love seeing them thrive in their school environments. I love seeing my kids grow and learn how to find their way in a group of peers. I think it’s because I loved school so much that I truly enjoy watching my own children navigate the roads to their own successes in school – whether it is college, high school, middle school, or grade school.

    And I also enjoy my “me” time….

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  4. I think it’s perfectly normal to be glad when your kids go to school and then move out. My daughter was a motor mouth she never stopped talking and asking questions. She would start the second she woke up in the morning and didn’t shut up until she fell asleep. Then she too took to talking and walking in her sleep. Ah the joys of motherhood :) I was tempted to throw a party when she moved out. But before I could arrange it she wanted to move back in. Nope, sorry, no can do.

    My sister told me that recently at school her son’s class was asked what their parents wanted them to do when they finished high school. Teacher was probably expecting something like go to college, get a job, join the peace core, etc. Her son said “they want me to move out.” LOL smart kid.

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  5. Marilyn’s 89-year-old aunt says:”Amen, Janet”. I was just about to write a comment, but you DID it, especially “wondered if something was wrong with me”. My 4 (one now in heaven) were mild-natured (God knew I needed that), academically and musically inclined. Still a source of pride and joy to this lol (little old lady).

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  6. Oh, I relate completely. Back in my early adult years, I had totally imagined that I might have five kids and homeschool them all– I come from a homeschooling family of seven, after all. Honestly, I can hardly think of a more miserable scenario for everyone in my house! I only have one child, and people and new interactions make her world go round. Quiet, solitude and tidy surrounding make my life pleasant. It is always tough negotiating school vacations, balancing my needs with my daughter’s. We’re working on it, and we are both honest about what makes life good for us, and how that doesn’t always play out easily. I appreciate your candidness– sometimes I feel like I am just not made for parenthood, but I love the thought that, somehow, I am the right parent for my child.

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  7. Love this! Recently had a discussion with someone about this very thing….I never cried when my kids went off to kindergarten or went back to school at the end of the summer. Not even college…..sometimes I wondered if something was wrong with me! Did I love them less? This post says it so well.

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