Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Be brave, Mama...

Tonight was our first date night since Jax was born. Andy and I actually got to go out... without kids... at the same time. BYU hosted a dinner for new Grad students. Food, eh. Dessert, YUM!

I have been both looking forward to and dreading this night for two weeks now. Looking forward to it because it meant some quality time with the hubby... dreading it because quality time with the hubby meant leaving our kids with a babysitter. Well, I should clarify, we didn't leave them with some squeaky-voiced, Zac Efron-loving, Hannah Montana-watching teenage girl... we left them with Uncle Dusty, and as far as I know he doesn't watch Disney Channel in the afternoons. However, as much as I trust Dusty (and his friend Ashley, who I called in for back-up), I have a hard time leaving my kids. Andy might say I have a hard time relinquishing control. Maybe that's part of it, but for the most part, I just dread the idea of not being with them. I'm not some lunatic mom, although it sounds a little that way... let me explain.

When I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom, I promised myself that I would give my all to make sure my children are, healthy, happy, intelligent, energetic and all those other wonderful adjectives. But most of all, I want them to know with every fiber of their being that they are loved. Even when Ava is naughty and has to go to time-out, I always make sure to tell her that I love her, but I just didn't like the decision she made. Anyway, my kids are my life. From the moment I wake up... let me rephrase, from the moment one of them wakes me up (Jax with cute little shrieks and coos, Ava with a pat on my head or a Care Bear in my face) to the moment I go to bed (and sometimes in between) I am fully focused on my kids. Granted, during naptimes I work on signs, tutus, cleaning, cooking, etc. And of course, when Andy is home, he gets some attention too :)

Because my life is my kids, it's difficult for me to allow someone else to take care of them. Part of me feels guilty because they're my responsibility, part of me fears I'll miss something, and yes, a tiny part of me worries that Ava will watch a little too much TV or con her way to a sugary snack (there aren't many in our house), or that Jax will cry the whole time... I could go on and on. But won't for fear that anyone reading this will think I'm a little, well, crazy. Are some of my fears irrational? Totally! But they're real.

I know some people might think I'm an over-zealous mom. I know others who say we Mom-folk deserve a break. I'll admit, every once in a while I wouldn't mind going pee without someone in there with me giving me play-by-play, "Mommy, I heard your pee. It's tinkling," "Are you going to wipe now?," or reading a book without pictures, but I'll have time for all of that... in a few years. Right now, I just want to drink in every moment I can with my kids. I know it sounds trite, but I will never get back these times with Ava and Jax. That's the reason I knew I had to stay home with them. I want to be there for everything, or as close to everything as I can possibly get.

So, I have a hard time leaving them. I think it says something that I actually WANT to be with my children. I know plenty of moms who are counting down the minutes to bedtime as soon as their kids wake up, or anxiously looking at the calendar and rejoicing when August rolls around and school is back in session.

I'm not going to lie, I've had my days. I mean, there are afternoons when Ava is 2, going on 16. She can be whiny, dramatic and bossy (ask my parents what I was like when I was 2). I've had to seek refuge in the kitchen, or send her to her room for a "break." But after a few breaths, from both of us, we talk it out. I ask her to explain why she's feeling the way she is, how she can better solve her problem, how she should talk to Mommy. Then we hug-it-out... I add in a few sloppy smooches, Ava giggles and my sweet little girl emerges from the Drama Queen fog. I love those moments. I cherish those moments. I would take a thousand whiny afternoons for half as many of those moments.

I am so blessed to be a mom. Not just any mom, Ava and Jax's Mama! There's nothing greater! So, I have a hard time leaving them. I'll still do it. Because as much as I cherish each and every moment with the kiddos, I cherish those "couple times" with Andy. And as much as he and I love to go out together, holding hands without Ava saying, "No, Daddy! Please don't hold Mama's hand. She's my Mama. I want to hold her hand," talking uninterrupted (although we spend a lot of time talking about the kids), laughing and just being us... we love going home and the excited look on Ava's face when we open the door and she runs to us with big hugs, and tonight, Jax's big smile when he saw us. It's coming home that makes going out so wonderful! Oh, and the kids were fine :)

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