Today the girls are at tutorial and I got to have lunch with two other lovely moms. We were having a meeting, but our conversation quickly turned to our kids and the way they tend to gravitate toward one parent.
In our case, that parent is me. I’m not saying they do not love us both equally. Every time Josh walks in the door they run to him and tell him they have missed him. But with me…it is something else. Something unquenchable.
It is what Sarah McLachlan and Calvin Klein would both call…
Sometimes I wonder if the Police were actually writing about small children:
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
Because this is what you think about when you forget to lock the bathroom door. You know the second you sit down is the second they will come looking for you, and the door will swing open and there they will be. Watching you.
Or 5 minutes before the alarm is supposed to go off. Or the middle of the night when you’ve just begun to dream. It’s that feeling like when you sense a spider on the wall or someone in the doorway. But they are much closer than the doorway. You are compelled to open your eyes, and there they are. Two inches from your face. Watching you.
Or how about this?
Since you’ve gone I been lost without a trace
I dream at night I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying baby, baby please
This is my kids when I leave for the grocery store. Or sometimes when I go check the mail. Or when I do actually remember to lock the bathroom door and I am in there for approximately 30 seconds.
And then there are the times I think I can escape to the shower. And except for the sound of warm water hitting the ceramic floor of the tub, all is quiet. I am alone. Or am I!?!?
Y’all, THEY ARE OBSESSED.
I know it is easy to assume that their obsession is the result of some sort of homeschooling co-dependency, and that we are all hole-up in the house all day reveling together in our floor length denim. But they were like this before we started homeschooling.
It’s also easy to assume (as it was for me) that if your kids are particularly attached (like mine) they just need a little more time with you. But I don’t know if that is true.
As I was writing this post, it was tempting to enter the mom-blog territory of artful emotional manipulation. I could very well end this article with some tearful plea to cherish every moment with your child, because someday she will stop being obsessed with you. Someday she will leave you. Someday (as I observed recently in the Nashville airport lobby) she will come home from college on Christmas break and you will weep (yes weep) all over her and she will just look at you and say, “Mom, WHY are you crying? I just saw you in September!”
No. No manipulation here, because right now you–me–all of us with little ones are in the throes of their obsessions and their unquenchable desires.
You give them cookies, but they want more. You give them screen time, but they want more. Since homeschooling, I now spend about 10 hours a day in direct contact with my children. But it is still not enough. They tell me I go to the coffee shop too much, they tell me I go out with my friends too many nights, they see me tying my shoe laces for the gym and they get that look in their eyes like dogs who hear the bathwater running and they PANIC. “Are you going to the Y?? You just went there yesterday, why do you have to go again!?”
“Because mommy is 4 inches of personal space away from losing her mind. That’s why.”
And homeschool or not, I bet a lot of you are too.
I am not trying to win the jerk-mom award of the year, because I really, really do think it is sweet. I know I’m the luckiest mama in the world to have the relentless love of these two.
I return their love with all that is in me. But I also give myself time and space. So I will not fault you for fantasizing about sleeping at a hotel for a week…by yourself. Or for locking the bathroom door when you don’t even have to go. My friends, this is the truth of all truths that I have learned about my sweet children: Their wants are insatiable. But of course, so is their love. Awwwww. *Tear* You can’t say I didn’t try.
And, of course, this too shall pass. Someday they will look at me, and be like:
And I will wish I had video footage of them clinging to my pant leg as I vacuum the rug.
So lock the bathroom door, take a deep breath, and while you are in there, eat some of their cookies. They don’t need them all.