Is this a sign of aging? I am nearing in on my next birthday, and it is one that will take me a year further away from 21. Most days I still feel young, and some days I even look at my 2 kids and for a hair of a second I literally forget they are mine and laugh to myself that someone actually left their kids in my ca---wait. They are MINE. I'm a MOM. Holy shit. And it spirals from there until I am prematurely (like, WAY prematurely) worried about bunions and sending my kids to college.
And then lately there is this: I can't just sit and be anymore. TV doesn't hold my attention. Laying in the bathtub zoning out is only good for 12 minutes, tops. Watching my kids play outside is done while picking up toys and pulling weeds and cleaning off the patio and sweeping and trimming the trees. I can sit and read a book or take a nap like a baby, but gone are the days when I could sit and watch mindless TV all day without the dishes or organizing the toys calling.
What the hell? Who is this person?!?
I can only conclude this is a side effect of aging. I am becoming my mother-in-law, my great aunt, and my grandma all wrapped into one. Puttering is their specialty: flitting about the house moving this pile of papers here, then sorting them, then moving them there, then shoving them in a drawer. Baking cookies because it's something to do with their hands. Turning on the news and then not hearing a single thing said the whole broadcast. Rearranging closets.
And honestly? It's a necessary evil because it turns out the diameter of the mess your kids can make grows proprotionately with their age and size (x:y). As soon as you pick up the 492 Mega Blocks they left scattered all over the kitchen and rearrange the toy shelves to make the perfect space for them, you turn just in time to catch them dressing the dog in the clothes you just hung, a pile of socks and shirts and underwear and towels exploded around your bewildered mutt. If I didn't putter around every night and straighten little stacks and pick up the same pile of books eleventybillion times a week, that same bewildered dog would be buried under a pile of toys and clothes and my husband's dirty socks by week's end. Thank god it drives me nuts to come home to a messy house, because that rush of throwing laundry out in a pile and shoving toys into bins and wiping counters is sometimes the only 'cleaning' that happens in a given mon---er, week. A week.
Where it gets to me, though, is my struggle to be still with my kids. I can craft and play and cuddle and chase and recruit them to help me with things around the house which they think are fun and I think need to get done. But I will confess I often have to be dragged away from the book I am reading while watching TV and mixing cookie dough that has to go in the fridge I am in the midst of cleaning. And I hate it. I want to be that mom who comes home, sets down the day when she sets down her bag, and immerses herself fully in her kids. And for the most part I am that mom, but then my eye wanders to a pile of dirty socks behind the recliner and next thing you know I am hauling armloads of freshly laundered whites up the stairs while my husband is sitting on the floor wrestling with our 2 kids.
And despite how that sounds, I actually think my husband is the better parent in that scenario.
And possibly the hardest is this: the battle between my love for time spent with my kids and my desire to have the day be done and be able to go do whatever it is I perceive needs to be done. It was typified for me tonight as I tried to soothe Rohan to sleep. When he gets into bed, he wants me to sit by him until he falls asleep which usually happens blissfully quickly. I kneel by the bed and lay down my head and pretend to sleep to get him to sleep, and all the sudden I'm feeling like I understand all about the struggles of meditation as my entire body is screaming "Let's go downstairs we have things to do!" My mind and my body are fighting a battle and then his little hand sleepily finds my arm and he absently holds on and my heart wins and I stay until his breaths are deep and even.