I’m a stay-at-home mom who freelances in my spare time when the kids are in bed. My husband works all day and is finishing up his Bachelor’s at night. We’ve had a rough few years that we are still trying to emerge from and our lives feel really stretched a lot of the time. As I write, there are bills piled on the table waiting to be sorted and paid, two loads of laundry waiting to be folded strewn about on my living room couch and toys all over the floor. I work long, hard days, like every other mom I know, and I sleep too few hours before I get back up in the morning to do it all over again.
Sometimes I need to escape.
It would be nice to escape with my husband to some tropical island. Or escape with the family to Disney. Or escape through the pages of a really incredible novel. Or the story of my favorite television show. And sometimes I do (just not the vacation kind). But where I most often escape to, is my phone.
I text. I check email. I browse People. I tweet all the adoreable things my children say and all the not-so-adoreable things they do. Sometimes. And because it’s so small. Because it’s so lightweight. Because it fits so nicely in the palm of my hand. It’s easy to take it with me every where I go. For every moment of the day.
Sometimes if I let it, it becomes the most important thing. That escape into something other than the laundry, and the cleaning, and the bathing, and the dressing, and the cooking, and the fighting, and the everything that consumes me as a mom that never once crossed my mind before.
Here’s the thing. I know that I need a break sometimes. I know that no one would look down on me for wanting some time away, or needing to unplug a little from the realities that we’ve been living.
But sometimes I know that I’ve crossed a line. Sometimes my email is more important than Hulk’s smashing through the bad guys. Sometimes I’m not as present as I should be. As I could be. If I’d just put the phone down.
It’s really hard for me, because I feel like as a mom I’ve given up a ton of things that I really like to do. So I can be a mom that stays home. So that my husband can go to school. We have prioritized certain parts of our lives for future-forward thinking that requires the today-kind-of-sacrifice, and sometimes I feel like I’m entitled to the escape somehow. Like I deserve to try to be any number of places, than right here in my own home with the two beautiful boys God gave me.
My boys. They are as gorgeous and darling and wonderful as they are rambunctious and wild and selfish. Because they’re children. Who reflect my husband and I.
As much as I sometimes want to escape away from the cachaphony of motherhood, I also want to bottle it all up and remember every moment because I know that it will be gone too soon. I know there will be a day that the bills are neatly filed away, and the laundry will all be done, and there will be no more toys, because the boys will be grown and gone. Just thinking about that day makes my throat swell and my eyes water, because deep down inside what I want most is to be here with them. Present. Alive. Reigning in the most precious moments and keeping them close to my heart. I want to remember them. Their smiles. Their quirks. The way they play with their toys and sing to themselves, and hug each other too tight around the middle.
I want them to remember me laughing and engaging them. I want them to remember having fun with their momma. I want them to see me on the floor with them. Setting up the good guys to fight against the bad ones. Crawling into the tent to see what they’ve created. They won’t remember the bills or the laundry or a messy floor. But they will remember me, and if I looked up long enough to look them in the eye.
So as hard as it can be sometimes, I’m trying to put it down. I love the internet and social media and all the friends I’ve been able to make, and all the places I feel like I fit when I’m on. But I want my boys to know that I fit with them, and they with me, and that they are the most important.
It’s a dance for sure. Sometimes my work creeps into the daytime. Sometimes I really do need to take that call, or answer that text. And God help me if I want my children growing up believeing that the world revolves around them. But today I’m going to fight the urge to escape.
Forgive me if I am late in responding to that email or text or phone call. I’ve got important stuff to do.