Bored.

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I have two days to go. Only two. A governing body of professionals in our school district have decided that 14 whole days is required to celebrate Christmas. Actually, I don’t know who makes that call.  Someone who is mad at me, I presume.

Boredom hovers over our home. I wonder how it was possible to birth the thirstiest, and boredest, children on the planet. Maybe the two go hand in hand, the boreder they get, the thirstier they get. The fog is thick, making imaginative play, creative thinking or reading of any kind impossible.  I conclude that my children can no longer see the words on the page through the boredom.  The only thing left to do is sit as close to me as possible, and stare. Even the dog. She is bored. And staring.

My arsenal is bare. I have suggested all I know to keep us busy, thriving and going these past two weeks. Even TV is old news. Nothing left to do but sit, and stare, and hold on. The boredom creates a shaky, anxious feeling inside me. We can all feel it.

I remember reading an article somewhere that talked about boredom being good for kids. That it actually makes them smarter. I decide I love that article. That even though they are staring at me, and sighing loudly, they are actually turning into little geniuses. This thought moves me safely back to the illusion that I have it all together. Lying to myself about this gives me something to do.

Finding something to do. That, I know, is actually what is making me feel shaky. It’s me. Not the kids. I am bored. I feel uncomfortable in silence. Unsafe when stationary. So we go, and do, and push so I can pass the hours until bedtime. As if time wasn’t moving fast enough, I partner with it to move the day along quicker. My eight year old’s face is changing. The early years are falling off, he just looks..older. His life has flown by. Back to panic. Back to shaky. Moms know time is flying, and yet, it isn’t moving at all. I don’t understand this dance, and why it makes me feel like I can’t miss a second of their young lives. Even though I need to. Even though I have to.

There is a post-it note tucked away in my journal. “Courtney, you don’t have to be ever-present.” It was written after another tearful conversation with a friend. A male friend. Casually, he said “I think moms get present and ever-present mixed up. Being a present mother doesn’t mean being an ever-present mother.” The words dropped in my heart like an anchor. I go back to the post-it frequently, a written permission slip to myself to walk away and let boredom set in. Not only for my kids, but for myself, because THIS IS IT. I DON’T HAVE TO BE EVER-PRESENT.

This opportunity to be the mother of three young boys needs to be exactly what motherhood was that day. Each day different, but routinely familiar to the day before.  Each day asking for do-overs and high-fives. Each day feeling joy and sadness. Anticipation and boredom. Each day walking away from ever-present parenting, to ever-present awarness of what I need emotionally and physically, so I CAN BE a present parent. What WE need. Each day being what it is, nothing more or less.

I smile thinking of all the days I have had with the boys, and of the ones coming. They catalog themselves in my memory. The memories steady the shaky energy. I know that they are okay, and that I am okay, and that I am actually a really good mom. Even though I am bored today. Even though motherhood seems like busy work. So it will be. So it is. But I still have no idea what to do with the dog.

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When Your Wife Needs To Go….Let Her Go

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Husbands, Spouses, Daddies..this one is for you.

I’ve got a favor to ask, a petition, a battle cry, on behalf of the lady in your life. This is me, sitting with you, looking you in the eye and calmly getting to the point, because hallelujah I know you don’t want details, you want the big picture in one simple point.

So-here it is. If, and more commonly, WHEN, your wife or the one you love needs to go, then you gotta let her go.

Where you ask? It could be anywhere really. Target. The front seat of her car. Down the street. A coffee shop. A weekend getaway with the girls. It doesn’t matter, the location always has the same purpose…to GET OUT OF DODGE.

Now, this next stuff is important.  The above was getting to the point. The following is why the point is needed so hang in there with me. If that lady of yours is herding smallish people all day, or if she works and comes home to herd until the night, then when she looks at you and says “babe, I need a break”- then those are your cue words. You are now cued in to the oncoming of her crazy-she is letting you in-asking for help-this is your chance.

It is in this moment, this balance, that you have to encourage or at the very least agree that a break is needed. This is a vulnerable place. A testy place. If your face reads resentment, if your words fly off handles and walls, then she will retreat inward, or volcano outward, with you in the line of fire.

And this is why. Your wife, the one you loved or love, she changes. The woman that met you at the end of an aisle will change as you walk back down the aisle together. No longer single that woman, now a wife. A new role. A new skin. And so the change comes; homemaker, career chaser and holder, and maybe the one that rocks the insides, mother. All that change.

In all this you have probably thought your wife was loosing it. Emotional. Sensitive. Irrational. Cold. You were right. Sorry for that, because we can be nuts and you have to deal with it. Our crazy can run deep and true. But often it is found in all of the change and all of the new skins. So we try to remember who we were before, and try to wiggle and fit into who we are now, and try and shape who we want to become.

If your woman is a momma, well, all of this gets mixed up. Because momma can move itself to the top, and all of the other ‘hers’ will fall to the side. She will feel that. And so, will probably ask you for a break. Without the kids. Let her go without the kids. For the love, without the KIDS! (I just raised my voice at you, apologies)

Mommas need to know who they are without their children. This is healthy and good, because one day they will be women without their children. One day they will be women who no longer ask permission to be away from their kids, but ask permission to be with their kids. One day their house will shift quietly, the rooms will be empty and they will be holding their momma skin in their hands trying to understand how it fits again. How will they, we, know if we don’t see who we are away from them in the littlish years? How could we transition from someone always needing us to only you wanting us? How can all this stretching and changing not rattle even the most sane of mothers?

With your help, that’s how. See, I told you this was very important. With you letting us go…when we need to go.

This time-out, this place of solidarity, this weekend with her friends, this conference she has asked to go to or this trip home to see her family, it will allow her brain the opportunity to gather all of the ‘hers’, look at them, breathe, and regroup. It is a precious, holy even, time for her.

Careful, however, to use your “let” purely and honestly, not as leverage or a wager. This is not a one for one, this is a one for her. Back to the crazy feelings-she will know, feel, when guilt is tied to your “let”. If she takes your guilt with her, she won’t get down to the work, or the relaxing, that needs to be done.  Plus, she will be fighting the guilt she will take along anyway.

While she is away you will survive! Yes you will! And it may be hard. And you may (should) call your mother for help. Or a friend. And she will have slaved away before leaving to make it as easy as possible for you and yet still…it could be a disaster. Really your goal is to keep everyone alive. You can do this. All of this is ok…because you love her. Or you did at one time. And when she comes back, that is what she will feel. Loved. Unless, of course, you are dramatic about how bad it sucked. At this point, it is also beneficial to only give information that she needs. Having been away, she will surprise you with what she can handle. She will love you more.

So, that’s it. You really do matter. We know you work hard. We know you love the kids. Some days we even know, or remember, that you love us. You are appreciated. Still, when your woman has got to go….then let her go. Want her to go.

And ladies-if you get the opportunity…..no looking back! YOU GOTTA GO!

P.S. Single mommas..parents..I just respect you-mad respect.

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