Motherhood & the Summer of Deprogramming: Week 1

coffee-smartphone-desk-penIt’s been one week since both of my kids, aged 10 and 12, have been both away at sleep away camp, having the best summer of their lives.

Woohoo! Freedom!

“What are you going to do while they’re gone?” everyone asked.

“Make sure you do things for yourself,” they advised.

My husband and I made plans to dine out lots and catch up on all the movies we hadn’t seen in the last 12 or so years, because, you know, kids.

So far we’ve watched one movie, we are going to the cinema tonight and we’ve dined out once. I’ve also stayed home a lot, watched a lot of TV and spent way too much time on social media. I’ve cleaned out the kids bedrooms, organized their stuff.

But, oh, my head and my heart have been dancing a jig.

I’ve missed my kids terribly. There’s a physical and emotional vacuum in our house that’s usually filled with a whirlwind of energy, hormones, laughter, combat, mess and routine. Concern for their well-being – even though I know they are safe and happy – pre-occupies me. I scour every photo their camps post on Facebook for proof of life and evidence that they’re ok. The every day anticipation for a letter from camp is antagonizing.

Meanwhile, I’ve also had several revelations.

Revelation #1: I’m not sure how to manage my own time when my entire schedule is usually 100% predicated by my kids’ schedule and where they need to be on any given day. What time do I have to get up in the morning if it’s just me that has to get ready and get myself to work? And at what hour do I leave the office if I don’t have to pick someone up from somewhere?

Revelation #2: In the process of parenting, I have become boring. And bored. I discovered this as I struggled to figure out what to do, just for me, as everyone recommended. Sure I can get a mani, I can read a book, I can lounge on the couch or go for a walk. But what I’ve really realized is that, over the course of a decade of parenting, I have forgone all hobbies or special interests that don’t fall into the category of eating, watching TV, exercise, working and shopping. My mind is usually filled with all the “mental stuff” of parenting, especially the challenges of being a working parent.  

So what now?

Clearly, this second decade of parenting is a time for some much-required deprogramming. I’ve come to realize that I’ve spent a decade anticipating my kids’ every needs and being all-consumed with them. This process of sending them off to camp is the much-needed catalyst for not only their independence and maturation – but also mine.

I need some reprogramming. I need to figure out what the heck it is that I want to do for me. It could be as simple as being more social, finding a class, taking some trips. Writing more. Or pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and trying something different, challenging, even scary.

I’m not sure where to start – but I have two more weeks while the kids are gone to figure it out. And I’m kinda excited.

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