Freedom! Does that mean parenting is like a prison?

moodyThis weekend I went to the wedding of my Brother-in-law down in Lorne.  It was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been too (with the exception of mine, of course) and you could really see the intense love this couple had for each other.

We flew my mum down from Brisbane for the weekend so she could look after our kids while my husband and I went and it was the first night out together that we’d had in a long time – socialising that is.  We had had a few nights here and there where we had gone to dinner, but it had been ages since we had had a good night out with lots of other people, child free.

The afternoon of the wedding, because my husband was part of the bridal party and I was not, he was with the groom and his mates and I found myself having a relaxing afternoon with some friends that I knew who had come all the way from Kununurra, WA, none of which had any children.

It began to remind me, as I sat there enjoying a few drinks and the conversations that were flowing (complete with foxtel music, instead of Nickelodeon), how incredibly freeing it felt to just hang out and not have to get up and down to the demands of my kids.  Their lives seemed so easy and effortless and I found myself missing a little bit of my pre-child life, or at least regretting that I did not appreciate this ‘freedom’ when I had it.

The subject came around to talking about kids and I was explaining how, although it was an awesome and enjoyable experience, it was full on and it totally changed your life and things like what I was doing now felt like a mini-holiday.

Fast forward to after the wedding, and quite a few drinks later and I was at a pub with another group of girls, all of which had children between 0-5 and were enjoying their child-free night out too.  I remember saying to one of the girls there, “How free do you feel not having any kids with you tonight?  Isn’t it awesome!”

I was quite emphatic about it and as I woke up the next day, and as I sit here now typing, it occured to me just how emphatic I was.  I’m wondering, if I felt so free without my kids, does that mean I consider my life to be very restricting and prison-like when I’m with them?  Why do I feel so free when I’m away from my kids?

I mean is this the way that I view being a mother?  Sure there are lots of things you always have to do when you are a mum, but it’s really not that bad, is it?

I started to think about all the things that I love about being a mum, and of course, I would never ever want to live without them, so I just think that perhaps I need to start seriously becoming aware of how I see this role.

I can choose to see it as work, or I can choose to see it as enjoyable and look for the ‘hidden good in the bad’.

I guess I just surprised myself upon reflection that I still consider motherhood to be a lot of hard work over the enjoyment that I get from it too.  So my next job is to start teaching my mind to think about this in a different way.  Because after all, if that is where my attention is, this journey to being a happy mum is going to be a continually relentless job in itself.

I don’t want to feel like this job is hard and laborious.  In another 10 years when my boys are teenagers, I don’t want to look back at this time in my life and wish I hadn’t taken this precious time with them for granted.  It’s time I started to appreciate all the great stuff about being a mum, just a little bit more, because it’s not going to be forever that they are young and precious.  And its certainly not going to be forever that they are around me all the time and wanting my attention.  Rather than seeing this as hard work, I need to change this view to start seeing how lucky I am to be able to enjoy my kids at this age.

I need to change the way I think about my role as a mum.  In fact, even calling it a role makes it sound like a task; something I have to play.  Stuff it, I’m going to enjoy my kids while there young instead of missing a life I don’t have anymore and wishing that they would grow up and get ‘easier’.  If I change the way I think about it, then I will change what I think about, I’m sure.

What do you think?  Do you feel this sense of freedom when you are without your kids? Or do you feel pretty complete with or without them?  Let us know what your secret thinking about parenting is (and whether I may just be a normal mum thinking the same as other mums)?  I can’t wait for your feedback.

Have a great day
Jackie

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