Well, okay, not partying exactly – more like relishing the silence, while sipping my coffee undisturbed. There’s no shouting, fighting or running around with guns, no dread as I sit down on the toilet seat without first checking for little boy splatters. Time constraints no longer exist – we eat when we’re hungry; we go out when we want to, without a strict protocol of hysteria mainly consisting of “clean your teeth”, “get your shoes on”, “hurry UP!” Ah, does it get much better than this?
Oh, hang on a second. Am I allowed to say that? Shouldn’t I cradle any feelings of glee about being child-free close to my chest? Isn’t it more appropriate for a mum without her kids to sit wailing in the corner, resigning herself to a loss of all joy until they tumble into her ever-loving arms once more? Well, that would depend on who you were talking to, I guess.
I have friends who smugly share that they never let their kids spend the night away from them, their self-righteous “I’m a better mum than you’ll ever be” attitude oozing from every pore. They need to be careful, because that Mother of the Year medal around their neck is going to choke them. Refusing to let your child stay with other people, while proudly proclaiming how you have personally put them to bed every day of their life, does not make you a better parent. In fact, not allowing your child the freedom and independence achieved from staying with close family that love them more than anything says more about you, than your child. There are some serious control issues going on there, no kidding.
My kids have gone to their grandparents for the weekend. It’s a rarity for it to be just me (and him indoors), and my mind bobbles back and forth between enjoying the blissful peace, and feeling that the house is just too quiet. When your kids are away, there’s an undeniable tangible emptiness that inexplicably differs from when the are just at school. It’s hard to explain. It’s a stillness, a haven of serenity; yet it also feels like a void, a desolate gaping hole that can’t be filled. One minute I experience a sensation akin to envy prodding at me, taunting the fact that it always used to be like this – getting up in the morning and having a leisurely coffee, wondering how to fill the day’s hours, and relishing the prospect of doing very little. And then in an instant, it’s gone, to be replaced with a rush of joy and gratitude at how wonderfully my life has changed for the better.
I used to have a hard time with guilt over being voluntarily separated from my children. When we moved back here last year my family travelled before me, and I spent seven long weeks away from them. To say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, is an understatement; it just about killed me. Was it my choice to be apart from them? Yes, it was. But sometimes we do things we just have to do, and it was a necessity to factor in when moving our whole lives to another country. People would comment “oh, I couldn’t do that”, unable to contain their incredulity at how a mum could leave their kids for so long. Ah, you know; it was nothing, a piece of cake, an absolute walk in the park – I flung them away from me without a backward glance. I don’t think. Being away from your children is like your arm being torn off, because essentially, not having your kids with you feels as though an integral part of who you are is suddenly missing.
Now, it’s much easier to let my children go, and feel no pangs. Realising that I am a HSP has helped me accept that it is okay to admit that I need time away from everyone to recharge my batteries. For example, I’ve just spent the whole summer with my kids, mostly alone, with ten full weeks of being with them 24/7. It actually happened to be one of the of the best summers I have ever had, but the intensity of having someone around you constantly, even if they are your own children, is pretty tough going on the psyche of a HSP. But in our society, we can’t admit that, not without criticism, anyway. One of my friends posted on Facebook that if people couldn’t enjoy the summer holidays, then they didn’t deserve to have kids. Obviously not a HSP then!
These days, I feel a lot less guilt when letting my kids spent time with their grandparents. And why should I feel guilt? I am not sending them off with axe-wielding psychopaths; they are with family who I trust with all my heart. They have fun, they play games, they eat sweets and they get some time to develop as little individuals away from the parents. How can it not be a win-win scenario?
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