Not forever. Not even for a whole weekend. But on Saturday, M and I will drop them off at my parents and not look back. We probably won't even call to check in on them more than once. And I won't feel guilty at all.
I adore the tiny humans, and I know that my jaded and sarcastic and free self will even miss them for the 27 hours or so I am away from them. But I need this time away. My husband needs this time away. We need the time together. And, when I think about it - I think the kids need us to go away, too.
I grew up knowing and spending periods of time with my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and other relatives. Summer visits, weekend trips, outings for afternoons, etc. I think it is part of why I have great relationships with these people, and also why I have always felt comfortable with older generations. My parents were smart enough and secure enough to know that while I spent a vast majority of my time with them and 100% of the time being parented by them, that I needed other people in my life to learn from, to love, to feel safe with. I'm grateful for that gift, and I want to share it with my kids too.
I admit, though, not all of my motives are pure and noble. I love that the kids will have a great day and sleepover with my parents, but I also love that I won't have to make anyone lunch, wipe noses, referee fights, negotiate naptime, fix dress-up outfits, push someone on the swings, make dinner, do bathtime, and get up at 2am if someone is teething or wakes up randomly. In short, this Mother's Day weekend, I'm taking a break from being a mom! It will be awesome to not be interrupted with stories about Rapunzel while I'm trying to have a discussion with my husband, and I am giddy at the thought of reconnecting with friends and not having to feed a toddler at the same time.
Being a parent is amazing - a wonderful gift. I love my kids and find them endlessly incredible and feel lucky to have them. But being a parent is also WORK. A lot of it. The bigger they get, the more they grow, the more fun AND work is involved. And I find that I am a better parent when I take a step back here and there, to be alone with M, to be with friends, to be by myself even.
I remember hearing women talk about how when they take time for themselves - to work out, to knit, to read, to take a walk, or for whatever interest or activity - that doing so made them a better mother, a better partner, friend, etc. And I used to scoff at that notion. Now I live it. Me taking an hour at the gym means that I have more energy for the kids, will have a healthy lifestyle that they can emulate, and that I'll live a long and healthy life with them.
Me going on a road trip with M this weekend to drink beers, tell stories of crazy 20-something happenings, and indulge in late-night Pizza House has its importance in my life as well. And is even good for the kids in the long-run. Because sometime next week when I am faced with a simultaneous toddler temper-tantrum and pre-school bathroom emergency, I'll be able to smile at the memory of a lost weekend as I cheerfully and lovingly navigate real life again.