This morning, it occurred to me that I did not wash the VBS shirts last night.
The only clean one is Hannah's, since she didn't go yesterday.
I was berating myself, "How could this slip your mind? You've always had the kids come straight home and change shirts before eating lunch so that you could have them clean and dry by morning!"
And then it hit me. VBS used to mean a 3 hour break for me. Of course I was calm, cool, and collected and could think of things like laundry as I picked up the kids and listened to them all tell me about their day at the same time. I'd just been ALONE.
There's something very important about time alone for a mom. When trying to explain it to Paul, who is a fire captain, I said, "When I'm home with the kids, I'm on call 24/7. Just like when you're at work, you know that no matter what you're doing, at any given moment, you may need to spring into action." For me, it's that constant awareness that I may need to break up a fight, clean up vomit, answer a question, change a diaper, wipe a nose, apply a band aid, listen to a story, or otherwise spring into action. It's not the same with dads as it is with moms. When a dad and a mom are both home, the underlying feeling is that the mom has everything under control, as it relates to the children. Sure, the dad can pitch in and help as needed, but it's the mom kids go to by default.
The Tuesday after we got home, I took Sam to his 7:30 a.m. football practice. When you've been up since 3, that's not early. On the way home, I realized that I was ALONE. For the first time since June 13, there was no one who might need me for something. It was heavenly. And I realized I needed that to refill my batteries. So later that day, I managed to get out to Toys Fer Us (Zach called it that when he was little) all by myself. Ahhh, the crying child on aisle 6 isn't mine. I need to be deliberate about getting away, even just for a little bit, to breathe freely, without the hyper vigilance of knowing that half a dozen or more people are counting on me to be their everything at any given moment.
An almost as good option is getting out with just one or two kids. Bri and I went to drop poop samples off and mail a package last week. I took just Hannah and Katie to Shriners yesterday. And now I'm off to a new doctor's office with just Luke. It gives me a chance to focus on just one or two people, and listen to them and interact more deliberately with them.
And my deep and meaningful lesson of the day from me is: the effort of VBS is a whole lot more worthwhile when ALL your kids go.