When I had my babies, I didn’t really mind staying home all the time. My “free” time was spent caring for them. I loved watching them day in and day out, but as they grew to be toddlers and the newness of having an infant had worn off, I found that I really did want to do things outside of our home…………. without the babies.
At a family gathering my sister Olivia and I watched our kiddos play and lamented the need for a break. She explained our situation as being “The Black Hole of Parenthood.” We would not see the light of a social life until our kids were older and the pull of constantly supervising them grew weaker. Eventually, there would be time for having dinner with friends or dates with hubby, and we would break away from the forces of the black hole. My thoughts were that most black holes crush whatever enters them (I didn’t really want to be crushed) and (even though I wanted a break) I didn’t really want my kids to be big enough to not need me.
I recently experienced a moment of realization with regard to the black hole and its waning strength. To celebrate his 8th birthday, my son had a few of his classmates over. They played outside, in his room, and in the basement. They raided the pantry for multiple snacks and ate a ton of pizza for supper. They played dodge ball and kickball and built a fort. They watched NBA games, and (finally at 1:30 a.m.) they crashed on the living room floor. I wasn’t really needed except when they wanted a flashlight or to serve the food. The force of the black hole wasn’t too strong. It was kind of nice.
While I still struggle with the fact that my kids are getting older, and sometimes I do wish for a bit more freedom, I revel in the fact that the black hole did not, in fact, crush me; it made the bonds between my children and me stronger. My kids are comfortable sharing our home with friends and know that I am here for them when they need me, but they are also independent enough now that I can take those needed breaks from time to time.
To all of you who do not feel the strong forces of parenthood’s black hole, don’t leave your friends with small children behind. Those friends need your support to keep from feeling crushed.
To those of you who are enjoying and suffering from the black hole’s dark side, keep smiling. Keep loving your babies. Have faith that you will make it out alive (and so will they). Make memories with these times and let the closeness help your sweet babies develop into secure and happy individuals. Don’t be afraid to ask for a break when you need it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a way to stay strong.
For those of us whose black holes are losing their pull, keep loving the times you do share with your kids. I challenge you to find ways to keep your bonds strong and create memories that last.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Sometimes the love we have for our kids can feel crushing at times, but that love is not nearly as scary as the panic we feel when our gravitational pull is too weak to get them home at a decent hour. (I am not looking forward to that revolution in our existence.)