Now this is a post I drafted a couple of years ago while on holiday with my family, camping in De Veluwe, a beautifully wooded area of The Netherlands. One afternoon, I escaped and loved it. So here are my thoughts on why I don’t want to be with my kids all the time. Taking time away from my kids has been my saving grace, in recovering from burnout and to staving off care-giver burnout. It’s how I stay sane and happy.
I love my family but I don’t always want to be with them.
Once you’ve had kids, it seems to be that all your friends have kids.
It’s not that all the people you know also had kids. Nope. It’s that somehow, over time, you lose touch with the childless friends and start hanging out with other mums.
Which I love. They get me and I’m very happy that I have found my mama tribe.
Yet there seems to be this pervasive sense in the world that once you’ve had kids, all you’re supposed to want is to spend all your time with your kids.
Well bugger that. I don’t.
I love my kids. AND I love my time away from my kids too.
I want to spend time with my friends. Working. Doing the shopping on my own (oh the horrors of toddlers and shopping!)
I want to be by myself.
So we’ve been camping for a week and started to feel antsy, that I just want to get away. Everyday I watched the kids leave our camping spot to join the activity team or to play on the bouncy castle (yes, this is camping heaven for kids and parents) a voice inside my heart whispered
I want to go off and do something too
So I sent J to go and be with the kids and I went off on my bicycle made for one.
It was wonderful.
I could go in any direction I wanted.I could slow down and admire the sunlight through the trees of the forest I was cycling through. With no-one asking me what’s wrong. No racing to catch up with the rest of the family.
So I stopped. I admired the sunlight. Dappled, that’s the word. Gentle shadows. Glimpses into the deepness of the woods. So many shades of green.
The smooth new path. The bumpy, cracked concrete where the roots are pushing up.
Oh, the silence.
Soothing. I can breathe here. I feel unfettered. Loose. Flowing.
I love to be alone.
Kids, I don’t hate you, I don’t dislike you. I love you, more than you can imagine.
And I also love to be alone. A lot.
So just as you go and play, so will I play. In my way.