It’s a fine line between giving your kids time when they need it and needing time for yourself.
That’s the parenting juggle that is most difficult for me right now.
When they were babies I immersed myself in them. I gave them as much of myself as I possibly could, because that is what they needed… and if I am honest, that is what I needed to do.
So I did just that, I gave all of myself, and I was happy.
But as my children grew older, I discovered they needed less of me, and I found these little spaces… teeny tiny spaces at first, but spaces none the less. Spaces for myself.
Slowly I remembered what it was like to have time for myself. I realised how long it had been since I’d had that, and suddenly I had this overwhelming need not to be touched, not to be asked, not to be needed.
It felt so wrong in the beginning. It felt like I was asking for something I had no right to want, because I am a mother – my job is to be needed, to be called on, to be there. And all those feelings were tainted with a hefty serve of guilt… which I then felt guilty about feeling! How do let myself be tied in these knots?
But slowly the knots loosened as I remembered what it was like to be just a person.
Slowly I understood, accepted and even embraced the need for me to be me… a mother too, but also just myself, alone.
I’ve accepted the craving for silence and space, like an itch in an awkward spot that just won’t go away, but I am still trying to figure out the best way to scratch it.
How do I find time for myself when I barely have time for everyone and everything else?
Is it ok to put my needs ahead of my children’s on occasion? How do I let go of the guilt?
And what of the times when my children need me wholey and completely? How do I put off the itch and give them all of myself when they need me?
Perhaps it is just the stage of parenting I am in… with no more babies, and kids who are taking more and more steps out into the world on their own, but who still need a solid base to hold on to.
It seems so simple when I read that article… “find time for yourself, it’s healthy”. But then I read that blog post… “Just give them your time, they won’t want it forever.” And both of them make sense, both of them feel right…
And so I find myself walking that fine line again, between giving all of myself, and keeping a little back just for me.