Earlier this week, our three year old princess went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a whole day and night. I was presented with 24 hours child-free and had visions of the multitude of things I would accomplish. I had a doctor’s appointment early in the day, a meeting for some volunteer work in the afternoon and date night with my dear husband at night. On my list I had included reviewing the Walgreen’s and Kroger flyer’s, matching up my coupons, making my lists and shopping at both of those stores. I also thought I would complete a few days worth of blogging, organize my to-do list for the blogs, do some research for future posts, and more! It didn’t stop there. Somehow I thought I would find the time to clean out the refrigerator, pack up the remainder of my Fiesta Ware for sale, post the ad on Craig’s List, do the dishes, wash the kitchen floor , pick up the house and maybe do a load of laundry. Last but not least, I intended to get my eyebrows waxed before someone takes my woman card away! Just a few things right?
As I write this, I realize how utterly ridiculous it is to think that I would accomplish all of that in 24 hours – especially if I intended to sleep at some point. I also didn’t account for anything going wrong – which it did. For some reason, I always think that the moment my child leaves the house, I develop super powers that will allow me to be three times as productive as when she is here. I think that there is a special time warp and that I will be like a highs-speed bullet train! Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some things that I can do faster when I am alone. Blogging is a bit easier when you are uninterrupted; it’s easier to write when you can string two thoughts together at one time. Other things such as the laundry or the floor can be easier to do when the house is empty, but it still takes a certain amount of time for the washer to run or for my to make my way across the floor. Why I think this is not so, I do not know.
I started to think about this because my dear girl will be starting preschool this year and I imagine I will have to be a little more realistic in my goals for the hours she spend in school. She will be there for 10 hours a week, but I will try to schedule in 30 hours worth of tasks. Again, why I think this will work, I do not know. I do know that I learned to maintain my home and my blogs with a child at home. We have our little routines and they work for us. It took me some time to adjust to motherhood and to being a SAHM. Now that she is starting preschool, it is almost as if I have to be reprogrammed for how to function without her. I heard it once in a movie and did not understand it until recently. In the Bridges of Madison County, Meryl Streep’s character Francesca explains it like this:
“You don’t understand, no-one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you’re expected to move again only you don’t remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. “
In one way that may seem sad and I imagine to some extent it is. No one tells you ahead of time that being a mother can consume the woman inside of the mom. Marriage changes your life, but becoming a mother transforms it in a way that cannot be described. I would not trade being a mother. The rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. Still, I do know that as she grows, we will gradually spend less time together and I will find myself on my own more often. There have been times I would have traded my right arm for the chance to pee in peace, but someday she will be spending hours in the bathroom showering and doing her hair – telling me to leave her alone. Each day she will become more independent so that someday she will stand on her own two feet. It will mean that we have done our job as parents and we will be proud. However, the woman inside of me will be forever transformed and will have to learn how to function without her. I know this because this post started about me, but in the end, is about her effect on me. She has changed me. Seeing the world through her eyes has made me a better person and I am grateful for that. There is no doubt that I will be the one crying on that first day of preschool and she, in all her 3-year old independence, will be ready to take on the world!