Everyday my husband walks in through the door and my children run full speed, trying to cut corners which never works given that corners are made from walls and walls can hit you in the face if you run into them. They brush it off and keep on running, all the while yelling his name over and over with the level of excitement that makes me assume he must be made of ice cream covered in sprinkles and presents. Every day between 5:30 and 6:00pm, my husband is greeted with enthusiasm and joy. The kids run into his long arms and squeeze him with with all they have. They tell him they love him and they tell him they missed him.
I stand by watching this interaction feeling all of the emotions.
And by all of the emotions, I mean all of them. The good, bad and the ugly. Part of me fills with joy as I watch my husband with my kids. They love each other and it's so sweet. My kids are so lucky to have a dad who loves them so much. I beam as I watch my husband's love tank (I hate that phrase btw) filled by hugs from these tiny people.
But then there is another part of me that fills with jealousy and rage as I hold back a z-snap and a "no you didn't." Don't worry about me, kids. I only kept you alive all day long. I only spent my entire day ensuring you had a frickin' magical childhood experience.
I spend the day corralling them, correcting them and breaking up their fights. I keep them entertained with semi-creative activities so they don't have their brains melted by screens all day (which by the way they hate me for). I feed them, clean them, and respond to their whiny entitled requests all day long, all the while trying to teach them to speak with respect and kindness instead of whatever barbaric tone naturally comes out of their mouths.
While I love that I get to be a stay at home mom and spend every second of every day with people that I grew myself, I have to spend every second of every day with people I grew myself. By the end of the day my kids are actually sick of me. They are sick of me telling them to poop in the potty and put on pants. They are sick of me keeping them from doing fun things like sticking keys in electrical outlets and swallowing marbles. They are sick of me forcing them to wash their hands and eat vegetables. They have to spend their days with a monster like me, so when 5:30 rolls around and they hear the side door open, they can't help but race like a Kenyan in the Olympics to the door to greet their dad.
Do my kids even love me?
Yes, of course they do! They just never miss me. The saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is the real deal. Every single day, my husband heads to work and we get to think about him and all of the wonderful things he does for our family (which is all the things btw). And he sits at work, staring at pictures of us and thinks about how he'd rather be with us than having his eyes burned off by spreadsheets.
For my kids, I am alway there. They don't know life without me, which 99% is an amazing blessing. But then there is that 1% of the time, where the job of a SAHM is just downright thankless and I can get weary. I say weary, because "tired" doesn't even begin to cover the fatigue I feel as a mother. It goes beyond lack of sleep. After awhile, I begin to run out of emotional energy. This is when I need a break. This is when I need to flee. This is when I need to tell my husband that I'm peacing out, I'm going and I don't know when I will return. I'm not talking about days or weeks at time, but I'm talking about for several hours when the kids are awake. I'm talking about a planned girls weekend. Not only do I need the break, but my kids need the chance to miss me.
Do you feel weary and used? Your family loves you so much. They need you and appreciate all that you do for them. But for the love of all that is good, leave the house. Get a grandma or sitter, or your husband and leave the dang house. And, here is the other part, come home while the kids are still awake. Walk through that door and hear the pitter patter of a tiny stampede headed towards you and let yourself be knocked over from the momentum of excited hugs. You are loved so much, but sometimes you need to be missed in order to know just how much.