(Completely unrelated photo--but is one of my favorite Christmas pictures ever--Ellie, December 2006)
Lately I have been 'haunted' by a comment that a friend said to me years ago. Though HE was much older than me in years, wiser than me in a lot of ways, and had a two or three children of his own, HE was not a MOTHER. Bottom line, HE is not ME.
His 'advice' almost ten years ago, when I had only one child and one on the way??
"At the end of the day, parents should never say to their children that 'they need their personal time now'. Their personal time will come when the children leave home."
Ten years and a few more kids later...
I do exactly what he advised me NOT to do.
I tell my children I need personal time at the end of the day.
Though I help lay out their clothes for the next day, I ask personal questions about their day as I tuck them into bed, I tell them I love them, I help them say their personal prayers, I'll admit, I do often end the 'Good night routine' with
"Now don't interrupt my time unless
a. there is a fire
b. you are bleeding
c. you are dead
IT IS NOW MY TIME!!"
I'm trying to forget what this friend of Mike's ever said, but occasionally I find it creeping into my psyche more than I'd like.
Tonight was a prime example...
Today was one of those days that I ran, ran, ran. It kind of helped that Megan was (sorta) sick and stayed home from school and enabled me to run a bunch of errands kid-free. I squeezed in a lot more than I typically would in a day, and so by this evening I was left feeling physically and mentally more tired than usual. Add to it a school assembly, a difficult episode with a child, a toddler that leaves a path of destruction, a husband that was feeling discouraged about something, burnt homemade pizza, and a few serious stresses lingering in my heart and mind.
Then to end the day was baths, reading, and the bedtime routine without my very helpful husband.
I was tired, ornery, snappy, and had very little patience left. And I was just getting to the part about saying something along the lines of,
"I need my alone time. Hurry up with the bedtime routine."
I almost allowed those haunted words to enter my mind and fill it with needless feelings of guilt and questioning my selfishness. While thinking of this old friend, I picked up the knocked down towel rack, scooped up some wet towels and then stepped on one of the dominos strewn across my bathroom floor (yes, you read that right; currently a set of dominos are strewn across my bathroom floor!). Instead of allowing his words to haunt me with the usual feelings of needless guilt and questioning my selfishness, I closed the bathroom door slightly harder than usual and said out loud to the children, "I need my time, hurry faster."
And so I say to Jim wherever he is (we've since lost all contact with him),
"With all due respect, I am a MOTHER, you are not.
I could do a whole 'nother post on his other 'words of advice'--in fact I will soon. It has something about keeping a clean and orderly house....