The seven year itch

April 30th, 2012

No, not that one. But the Small Boy isn’t so small anymore, he’s seven and a half, and at four and a half the Boychen could drop the diminutive -chen any day now, and I’ve been a stay at home mom for all that time. I’ll be honest, there are days when it itches. Not a little I’m-tired-of-having-to-tell-you-three-times-to-put-on-your-shoes itch – though there is that; the repeating myself, it gets old – but a big I’ve-got-this-really-exciting-thing-I-want-to-do-and-not-enough-time-to-do-it itch. The kind of itch that makes me impatient with my children and not always the best mother. The balance, after seven and a half years, has tilted pretty far off in one direction; there’s always a boy at home because remember the Swiss school hours? Oh, the Swiss school hours.

I’m hoping that it goes without saying that I love my boys. But at this point, I could use a little breathing room. In fairness, R has proposed getting a nanny or au pair – we would have the space – but my whole problem is that the way my personality is constructed I need time alone, oh just alone in my house, and the thought of having another person in the house – well, I suspect it would introduce as much stress as it would relieve. (I’m keeping the idea in my back pocket, though…) Mostly, I’m holding out on any decisions like that until the fall, after the Boychen has been in Kindergarten for a while and I can see how much having those four mornings all to myself help. My thinking is, they will help a lot. Four mornings a week, that’s an embarrassment of riches around here, people.

Here’s the other thing that’s made the past month or so seem hard, made the past month seem like the boys are always on top of me: there’s no hockey. In spite of my complaining about the schedule, in spite of having to set an alarm for 5:35 on a Sunday morning to make it to a tournament, turns out I really miss the hockey. I miss the way it gave me a few hours to be something other than Mama, I miss the way it forced me to make friends with the other parents, I miss the way watching the Small Boy perfect his imitation of David Jobin’s defensive moves makes me smile (the boy has a good head for defense, I tell you). Crazy and all-consuming as it can be in the peak of the winter, I miss it.

It all comes down to balance, doesn’t it? Feeding all the different parts of you. Constantly checking in on your own life to see what is there and what is missing and what is hungry and what is flabby. Assessing, calibrating. I’m out of balance right now, but August is just around the corner.

3 Responses to “The seven year itch”

  1. Gretchen on April 30, 2012 6:00 pm

    Rethink the au pair…

    We were also concerned about the “she’s always there” aspect of the au pair relationship. But the reality for us has been — nope, she’s not. She and the children go places all the time — the park, walks, weekly German class and so on. I also need a lot of alone time (introvert) and I finally am getting enough alone time to keep my temperament steady and even.

    And in her off time? She usually joins us for most meals, but other than that she goes out with other au pairs or on her own. It’s a nice amount of time for both sides. We aren’t stumbling over each other, but we still get friendly conversation and we know what is happening in her life and vice versa.

    We got a German au pair to keep up the children’s language skills, but you could get a English-speaking au pair to reinforce their second language. Or even an American au pair to give them a sense of their dual nationality.

  2. Jennifer on May 4, 2012 11:24 am

    Gretchen, you’re probably right that there would be a lot of outings and such – but I think given the boys’ ages the time for a full-on au pair probably passed me by – in August they’ll both be at school 4 mornings and one afternoon a week and SB an additional morning and afternoon on top of that. Throw in all the time varied and sundry children are at hockey and he’d (because with these two I’d lean towards a young man who likes hockey, football and wrestling!) be the least worked au pair ever.

    But a “my girl Friday” I could get on board with.

  3. on May 4, 2012 5:13 pm

    Mine are older (15 1/2 and 19 1/2), but I know exactly what you’re referring to. Whatever it takes, get your time alone. It will do wonders for everyone (especially you). Good luck

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