“We’ll go on a date night.”
It’s a lie we tell ourselves over and over and over again. The truth is, when our parents are in town, we get a little selfish. We, too, want attention – to be taken care of.
When you are raising your children several hours from your closest blood relative, it feels like all the hard decisions are yours to make:
Who will care for my child while I work?
Can we really afford what our family needs?
And how will I make it through the day without a backup quarterback?
In my own mothering, I have reached the danger zone: I want to give up.
So what, then, replaces highly desired date nights?
I wash sippy cups. I scrub every visibly dirty household item touched by the kids. And, if I am feeling spry, I convince myself a run at 10 p.m. is a good idea. Folks, I’m lucky I haven’t killed myself from the half-asleep treadmill dance.
The days, it seems, are increasingly full, and there is a new decision waiting at every turn. And that sleep daze, I’m afraid to confess, has been taking over more of my daytime hours. How long can I blame jet lag anyway?
I remember when the mental weight of parenthood began to sink in. We had to fire our son’s first babysitter. Then, a year later, we changed his preschool class halfway through the year. And – just today – we elected to remove our little ones from their childcare center…on the first day of school.
I know what you’re thinking: first world problems. And, well, you’re probably right. My husband and I take on too much.
A new preschool.
But the truth is, we don’t know what we’re doing, and the only way is through. If we stay stagnant (listening to our deepest exhaustion), life won’t get better. We’d never leave the state or take on any difficult thing.
This is probably our greatest parenting fear: teaching our children to watch the world – passively.
But the fatigue won’t resolve without give, and I know rest is somewhere in the horizon. It must begin with me.
Tonight, I won’t do work. I’ll let the soiled accumulate. I’ll let the dishes pile.
And – somewhere in the ironic brokenness – I’ll find my groom, who has been beside me all along.