Yes, I said it. You may be thinking it, but I said it. I know we see some of those oh so picture perfect bloggers posting about how blessed they are to be around their children 24/7, and how that makes them a better person, but I am going to say that the slight opposite of that is true for me.
I am willing to admit that I need time away from my son in order to be better capable to deal with him when we are together. I am honest enough to say that I cannot deal well psychologically when we are together 24/7; in fact, I lose all my marbles frequently when that happens. I am open enough to say that in order to parent him in as practical, and in as gentle a way as possible we need some time away from each other. Can you admit the same out loud, or even to yourself?
I am going to share with you my five reasons why being away from my son makes me a better person, and parent:
- Personality type: I am an introvert by nature, so I am hardwired to need alone time. I cannot function effectively if I am not allowed to regenerate. Having a moment, or a day to reset makes me even more open and capable of dealing with a 5-year-old’s endless chatter and neediness in a way that does not come off as being dismissive.
- Time away from each other means we have more interesting stories to tell: Yes! Crazy, right? Aside from the fact that I tinkered with the idea that I should homeschool him for a minute, then coming to my senses, I realized that him spending six hours in school gives us both time to have new experiences, and have new things to share with each other. What kind of stories would we share if we were a part of each other’s stories all day?
- Socialization: He gets to discover new things and new ways of interacting without a parent always hovering. Again, a great reason for schooling outside the home (from my perspective). I know there are homeschooling communities that bring the children together for socialization purposes, but there is always a need for parental supervision. You may say, ‘well, so what is wrong with parental supervision?’ I am saying that nothing is wrong with that, but I do believe that children learn, and are more open to experience new and (yes, risky) things when there isn’t a parent present. I want him to have that. I want him to make some bloody bad decisions that would teach him a thing or two about responsibility, owning up to your own decisions, and even leadership skills. (I am open to a good discussion about this, so please if you have another perspective, comment below and let’s have a chat).
- L is able to be open to new things while away from me: I seem to believe he is hardwired to deny trying new food items because I suggested it. However, I have been told or noticed (from afar) how eager he is when he is in the presence of other people to try new foods, and how much more willing he is to admit he likes it.
- Mental well-being: Being away from L gives me space and time to think, remember, and practice who I am as an individual before the title of ‘mother’ became most prominent. This one is purely for me. I have spoken about this in my ‘Do we have it all together’ post about mothers trying to have it all together and believing they are failing. I have had to remember that I am doing the best I can and taking a break from being ‘mommy’ allows me to do just that.
Not allowing yourself time to recharge is the bane of any parent’s existence. Many mothers specifically find ourselves constantly competing with the social media mommies who post pictures of themselves having a whale of a time with their kids, along with being able to get all the shit done during the day, AND have a sponsored post with the caption, ‘blessed’. That is a lot of pressure! I don’t see many social media dads posting about their perfect lives like that (if you know of any, send me some links so I can check out the male equivalent). Women online, however, don’t give themselves or others a break to just be themselves and be honest. We should do more of that; we should allow ourselves to be honest more; not just for ourselves, but for our children.