Tomorrow is one of the biggest and most important days in the history of my mothering.
I am leaving my children and heading off to New York City for two full nights sans kids.
It might sound strange to equate leaving my children with mothering them, but every mother crosses the separation threshold at one point or another, I just happened to be a late bloomer in this department.
The day my kids were born I expected to be like every other mom and do the things that other moms did.
I expected to bring my babies home from the hospital and put them in their cribs. I expected to let them “cry it out” while standing outside their door completely confident in their ability to soothe themselves. I did not expect that I’d be co-sleeping almost five years later.
It turned out that I was so fiercely protective of my infants that I couldn’t bear to put them in their cribs (cages?). The thought of them halfway down the hall was unbearable and a pain (yes, my pain) that I couldn’t (wouldn’t, shouldn’t) allow.
Crying it out? I read the literature and I tried it. It was a half-hearted attempt, but I did. A few moments of hearing the cries from my less than five pounders (who couldn’t tell me what they needed in any other way) was enough for me to make my own decision on the matter. I viewed it as wrong and still don’t like the philosophy.
As my children near their fifth birthday, the hope for a night of peaceful sleep that doesn’t include Grace’s pokey feet in the small of my back and a heat generating Sophie (gosh, she runs hot) seems like a dream somewhere far away in my future.
I am not complaining, because I actually do enjoy the closeness and the bonding that co-sleeping has given us. I have realized, though, that it is time to change the direction of things and give the girls the freedom to be okay without me in their bed. Whether or not it’s selfish to be giving myself the same freedom is another blog post entirely.
At every point in mothering there comes a time for really big decisions. It’s the reason mothering is such an important job as those decisions are the things that shape and mold children into the people they’ll become.
My girls are not thrilled about the prospect of a night without me (Oh God, two nights!).
It makes me rethink all of those decisions I made so early on.
But part of being a mother is admitting that we have done the best that we could. In fact, I think part of becoming a woman is admitting that our mothers did the best they could, too.
And I have, I think. I’ve done my absolute best.
Tomorrow we are ripping off the band-aid and by Friday when I return new skin will have formed from underneath the cut.
Healing and growth will have happened in spite of itself.
When I see my girls again it will be the beginning of a new chapter.
We’ll be big girls, we three, with a new formed strength to remind us that we can (and will) do whatever needs to be done.
Wish us luck!
The hub for all I do, marthawills.com documents life from a working mom's point of view. When not mothering, I manage the social media needs of small businesses through Wills Media Group, LLC, and write a weekly column for Raleigh's News & Observer online entitled, Are We There Yet? Most recently, my passion for health and wellness led me to become involved as a consultant for Beautycounter, a company that's making a difference by educating about toxins in products, spreading the word via the web.
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