The last three days I’ve felt a strange unsettling feeling inside. It may or may not have been the fact that I cried over the mess of crusty boys’ boxers in the hallway, painting materials sitting for the third day in a row on my kitchen table and being thirty minutes late for a meet-up at the pool that alerted me that something was out of whack.
Has there been an underlying feeling of sadness?
Yup, a bit of that.
Yes, kind of.
Dissatisfaction with, “what I do”?
Yes, that’s been sneaking in too.
But its source didn’t dawn on me until this morning. You see my wee lady will be heading off to Kindergarten in a few short days and I’m realizing that is having quite an effect on me.
I have two kids – the dynamic, fun, never-met-a-stranger in his life, 7-year-old Samuel. He keeps me on my toes; both in the art of negotiation as well as the facts he shares to which I reply “hmmm, interesting” before sneaking off somewhere such as the loo with my phone and asking Siri to weigh in on the matter. Forget “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” or “pregnancy brain”, I’m pretty sure I imparted a large chunk of my brain to each of my children when I squeezed them out of my 5ft 1 body… and somehow, I never reclaimed it…
Then there’s Sophia, 5 ½ and just about the cutest wee lady to walk the face of the earth. Seriously, I’m not biased. She is kind, wise, creative and oh so very thoughtful. She often writes a wee note or pops a painting into my handbag when she knows I’m heading out to work or on a date with her Daddy so that I “don’t feel sad” about not being with her. Admittedly, on the rare date Jason and I do manage to sneak in, we’re not reeeaaally pining for our kids. But, better that they’re oblivious to that fact right?
And that’s kind of it.
I will miss her.
Sophia is oh so very ready for more learning – socially and academically. It’s just that I don’t feel ready for the changes. I am going to be in charge of just me for a whole 6 hours, five days a week.
What am I going to do with all that time?!?
Gone will be the yells that send shudders of dread deep inside me of “Mmmmuuuummmm, come to the bathroom, you’re never going to believe what just happened with my poo…..!!!” or the awkward moments where my baby-obsessed wee lady exclaims loudly and excitedly to the rather sturdy man with the protruding belly “Oh you’re pregnant!!”
Could it be that I will even lament about the days when there was clapping and loud proclamations of a potty training toddler in a public toilet, “Well done Mummy, you did a pee pee AND a poo!!!”? Heck, I might even feel lonely on the toilet with no one asking me to mediate a fight, sit on my knee or read them a story!
Sophia is growing up and it’s so very beautiful. It’s just that it leaves me feeling at a bit of a loss … kind of empty inside.
We all read the articles and books that warned “Remember who you are! Don’t loose yourself in motherhood!” We swore that we would never be one of those mothers. We would remain the sexy wife, the on-the-ball employee, spontaneous and fun. We would never (ahem) leave the house only to have a kind stranger point out that our dress was inside out. We would never use talc in our hair because between fielding the sibling squabbles and trying to clean the spaghetti sauce splatters from the newly painted wall, a quick baby wipe “shower” and fresh slick of deodorant was all we had time for.
And yet here we are.
Our littles are traversing to new plains – whether that be pre-k, elementary school or even college, many of us are facing a level of empty-nest syndrome and stand at a cross roads.
Those articles of, “You are more than a mom” are well intended.
There’s merit to them.
But honestly, whenever a business trip comes up for work, my first thought is not, “Let me brief my team and set the ball in motion”. It is always “Crap, who is going to look after the kids for the two nights I need to be away?” When my husband suggests an impromptu date, I truly wish that 10 times out of 10 my response was “Let’s do it!” But if I’m honest, it’s a delayed and slow “yyyyeeeeessss” as I frantically decipher when I can reschedule that blood work so that I don’t have to pretend to be calm, comfortable and in control while my two poppets scramble over me to watch the blood being drawn.
I sometimes feel guilty for how motherhood has led to becoming an even more practical, less spontaneous version of me. That guilt helps me bring a bit of balance when I need it.
However, I’ve also learned to accept that it is a necessary and good part of my larger role in life; responsible for more people than just me.
So, back to my imminent level two empty nest syndrome (level one was pre-school).
I’m not sure… My best friend left a month ago for a new career opportunity in South Carolina. The timing sucks. Let’s face it, that move was always going to suck, but it stings just a little bit more with Kindergarten in mind.
What do we do ladies? I’m not altogether sure but as I sit here typing, I’m remembering some of the things I have missed in this most recent season of life. I have missed my morning pages. Pre-kids, I used to rise most mornings, make a cup of tea, read and journal before commencing my day. I used to chat to God, clear my head and set my goals for the day. I’m pretty sure my husband was one of the chief beneficiaries of that time given I’m a verbal contemplator and he’s an introvert with the typical minimal male need for long chats over tea. It’s time to bring back regular God-time.
I love the storytelling videos we create through our business, Awakened Films. I particularly love storytelling for non-profits. Listening to the challenges of other people’s lives reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It also helps me keep perspective on “my problems”. I’m going to begin to expand the non-profit leg of the business.
I’m going to try to get the mundane but necessary stuff of life such as dinner, grocery shopping and bill paying completed before my kids get home from school. To be honest, I am always a little tired and dare I say it, cranky come 3pm each day. Nothing to do with my kids and everything to do with the fact that I’ve been awake 8 hours and am flagging.
Nevertheless, there are things I can do to make that a more enjoyable time for us. It’s going to become an even more precious time and I’d like to be conscious of that and be able to be present for my kids, engaging with the dynamics of their day.
I’m probably going to listen to Hannah and Paul McClure’s “Faithful to the end” a few more times and burst out crying. But I’m going to embrace the change, dream a little wider, pray for a local replacement for my recently departed bestie… and trust God.
He knew this was coming.
He watched yesterday’s mini hissy fit and His first question wasn’t “Is her period due? Is this why she feels on edge and acting a tad neurotic?” He gets it. He gets me. He’s also got me. And He’s got you in His hands too.
Change is coming whether we like it or not, but I pray that we all find our new groove. And for the days where it’s not so glorious, there’s always tea and hopefully a wee bit of time with Jesus.