Breathing Room

It’s been a few weeks since I spent more than an hour or two away from my kids. My 16-month old has been teething, so he’s up every few hours and it seems like my four-year-old, nervous about school, wakes up on the alternate hours until I’m walking around like a grumpy zombie who hasn’t thought out a complete sentence in days.

Thankfully for my whole family, my older son started preschool this week and I began a new job, where I’m working two full days each week and sometimes a half day here or there in addition. You see, I wasn’t ever going to stay home with my children. I was going to go right back into my job, thank you very much. And then I actually had kids. I worked part-time until I had number two…and then I worked hardly at all, always from home. I’ve been really missing my part-time work!

Today was the first day back working out of the home for me.

I’ve been so immersed in my children, I didn’t take time to lay out my outfit, print out my paperwork, or even charge my electronics until after the kids were in bed last night. With little sleep and teething nurslings, I live hour to hour. So, I ran around like a sweaty person packing my stuff up and then remembering I needed to pack the kids’ stuff for the day. “Where are the cheese sticks? How are we out of cheese sticks?” I hissed to my husband, almost waking our sons.

woman in green nursing top

This is how I *imagine* I look for work.

But this morning, everything was ready and I dropped them off and then drove on to work. Alone. And I breathed such a sweet, rejuvenating breath! The first three hours of work, I just relished the adult alone time. I went to the bathroom alone. I ate lunch! Hot and from a food truck, with two hands. Heck, I ate dessert and didn’t share it.

And then I started to miss my babies. I stared at their pictures while I ate my lunch, with nobody to talk to–something that felt nice at first but then felt a little bit too quiet.

I looked at my outfit and realized I wouldn’t have needed to wear a nursing shirt or a nursing bra…I stopped pumping when my youngest turned a year old and since we’d be apart for over 6 hours, I could even bust out an underwire bra! Except I don’t have any right now. So even when I was out in the professional world, my mother-self was with me.

The truth is I’ve come to fully embody my role as my kids’ mom and every day I am thankful that I can spend so much time at home with them while they are young. The truth also is that I need some breathing room away from them, some time to eat my darn lunch with two hands and talk about some adult things, or I get cranky and short with them, until we wind up angry with each other. Without this part-time job, I don’t take this time away from the kiddos, and so we’re all glad that I’ve got a new gig!

One day into my new arrangement, I’m declaring it an important success. I can’t wait to scoop them up at 3pm and spend the afternoon dumping cars on the floor one at a time. And, by the time Thursday rolls around, I’ll be really excited to put on my shiny shoes and leave them with a loving caregiver for a few hours.

Do you ever get (or feel like you need!) some breathing room from your kids? Leave us a comment to share your experience.

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