Pulling out of the driveway, I took a deep breath and tried to swallow the anger. It wasn’t working. I could feel it shooting out of my fingertips, scorching the steering wheel. Why can I never get ten minutes to myself? Why does something always come up and get in the way? Why do my kids always need me RIGHT NOW as soon as I pick up a book? Why does someone in my family invariably NEED to talk to me as soon as I hit play on my podcast?
It had been quiet for 20 minutes before then. Everyone was happily ensconced in their own activities. No one needed a damn thing from me. And I had foolishly allowed this to lull me into a false sense of sanctuary. I thought it would be safe to sneak in a few minutes of doing something for myself. It should have been okay. But as always, five seconds into me reading the book, or listening to the podcast, or editing the photo, someone made a beeline for me. I’d dealt with whatever that person needed, sent them off, waited a moment or two, and then returned to my chosen activity. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”Hey mom….”. With a sigh, I’d put it down again, and faced my next distraction. Once that child was off again, I waited a little longer, just to be sure, and then cautiously picked up the book, carefully upped the warmth in the photo I was editing. This time I had a blessed five minutes of peace and quiet, until another distraction came along, with a request for a snack. By this point, my words were coming out through clenched teeth and a grin that looked more maniacal than friendly. But it was okay, because I had a plan. I would get this child his snack, and then I would go into my room and shut the door. That should do it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
I was so naiive.
A few minutes later found me lying on my bed, podcast next to me, eyes closed, and a blissful smile on my face. The speaker was just about to share the information I was most wanting to hear, the reason I was listening in the first place. Thank goodness I had gotten those distractions out of the way, all three kids had promised not to interrupt me again, and now I had created a little pocket of quiet. A contented sign escaped my lips, and I began to relax.
“Hey honey, what are you doing? Got a few minutes to talk?” The glare I shot my husband could have burned a hole through his head. Eyebrows raised, he asked me what was wrong. “I’m trying to listen to this podcast, and I keep getting interrupted. I came in here and SHUT THE DOOR so I could be alone.” I responded pointedly. “Oh, well I’ll leave you alone then.” As I was settling back down (again) I realized that my window of time had closed, and I needed to head to the store if we were going to have the ingredients we needed for supper tonight.
As I drove to the store, I wondered what it was that made every single person in my house seek me out every time I attempted to undertake an activity for myself. It was like I sent out a signal that notified them that I was about to do something that was not about one of them, and my attention should be immediately redirected back to them. Fears snaked through my brain, whispering questions I didn’t want to ask. Would it be this way forever? Would I have to wait until all of them were out of the house before I could be ME again? What if the signal was so strong it reached across the miles and through phone lines? Would my wellness as a mom always come second, or third, or fourth? Why was peace so hard to find?????
Hi there, I'm Amy. I'm so glad you're here. I'm a writer, photographer, mom, wife, and highly sensitive introvert, just trying my best to show up fully for myself, my family, and my life. It all gets a little crazy sometimes, and it helps to have a place to connect honestly about what's really going on. This is my place.