A Mother’s Time Away

Toni with munch

There are a lot of assertions that we are expected to make to be in step with social norms. I am supposed to say, “I love my parents,” “I would die for my family,” and “Excuse me” if I fart. As the mother of a child, I am beholden to say, “I miss my child desperately when I am away because she is the joy of my life and the light of my loins.” But here’s the thing: I was gone for five days from the munch, and I’m sure I didn’t miss her at all.

For the first 15 months of munch’s life, I was with her every minute of every day. I’m sure every mother can relate. I documented those early years on my blog. There is a meticulous account of every detail of her life, including the consistency of her stool once food was introduced. Now that the munch is four years old, there is more autonomy for us both. We have our own lives, separate from each other. Munch goes to school, has a babysitter, spends time with family. Yet even though I do have physical freedom in my everyday life, what I do not have is mental freedom. I am always thinking about where she is, who is picking her up, what food she ate, does she have her raincoat, is there an extra pair of shoes in her bag, and are they the right shoes because my kid is neurotic and crazy?

So while I was on my five-day hiatus, I also came to not miss the tantrums, the yelling in my face when I don’t give her a third piece of chocolate, the shoe throwing, the stink eye, the refusal to wear warm clothes. Basically, anything that resembled toddler rage or a developing human, I didn’t miss.

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