I’m torn. Here I am, having my lovely evening all nice and quiet in my quiet empty house. I have eaten a dinner of junk food (a little ironic, given that my XX Factor post today was on the perils of fake food–but it wasn’t fake, just junk). And I am about to get some writing done, although clearly, given the hour, not as much as I had hoped or expected.
I am a little lonely.
I miss the pressure of having to seize the moment when the kids go to bed to work or read or eat the chocolate I do not want to share with them. I miss Rob sharing my chocolate and proposing a night cap. I also feel like somehow the whole afternoon and evening got away from me unfully realized.
I am always feeling this catch. I crave alone time, but I miss the people I love. I want to travel easily, without kids who need to go to sleep early and can’t sit through a four course meal, but on the rare occasions when I do, I usually wind up wishing I could share the things I see with them. I think I want to do some quiet shopping for myself, but I end up buying things for my family. And I scrimp, save and scramble for time alone to write: which I use to write about my life with them.
Is this all a side effect of being insufficiently present in the moment? Always wishing things were other than what they are? Or just part of being someone who lives very much in her head, and often relates better to people who aren’t exactly there, but are just a little removed? Will it clear up next year, when full time school for all four will loosen their grip on me somewhat? Or is it something I can make better now, by putting my thoughts into what is in front of me and not into the next moment?
I was talking to another working mother today at a reception (which stole some of my alone time, but is what prompted me to get the babysitter sleepover in the first place). She, too, has kids just out of school this week, and she mentioned the shock. I agreed.
“I’d forgotten I wouldn’t be able to get anything done,” I said.
“I would be so much better off,” she agreed, “if I didn’t even try.”
And that rang so true for me. I would be so much better off if, some of the time, maybe more of the time, I just accepted the limitations of the situation and didn’t try to make things different, or, more importantly, worry about whether I should be trying to make things different. If I embraced the days when the kids are home and it is going to be all about snacks and the sprinkler and there will be other days for writing a book or getting more freelance work or hopping when editors say hop. Or set aside two sacrosanct hours for working while they do other things instead of poking at it off and on all day.
I know that, but I can’t seem to do it. I always feel like I should be somewhere else doing something else. Even knowing I don’t want to be that way doesn’t seem to help me change.