Stop hanging around me, Mom!
My daughter is asserting her independence as a tween and telling me I spend too much time with her. It's a little surprising since I have been used to ten years of my little opihi, but I realize she is nearly 11, and this is normal.
I'm sad, and I'm happy.
I have engineered my life around her, including finding work schedules I think will be best for motherhood. When I had a full time job, I did suffer from the ever-present guilt of not being there enough.
Olivia has just started saying this in the last few months. Now that I work weekend nights, I've lost a lot of time that we used to hang out.
For the first few weeks there was an adjustment. She missed me and requested more Mom time (or Mom-only time) on other days of the week.
Perhaps my new job and her emotional development came at the same time, because I recently asked her if it's OK with her that I'm not home for much of the weekend. "Do you miss me?" I phrased it.
"No," she responded.
"Are you sure? Do I spend enough time with you?" I repeated, just to be sure.
"Yes. Too much time," she answered. "You're always around. I wish you would leave me alone a little more."
I was shocked, since our weekday afternoons and evenings aren't quality time. It's managing homework, sports, and dinner. It was weekends where we did the fun stuff.
"Can I try being a latchkey kid?" she wanted to know.
"Um, you did the one day when I got called in and Daddy was out of town. You were super bored," I reminded. (I left her with the next-door neighbor, but Olivia opted to go home and call Vicki if she needed help. It was daytime.)
"Yeah, but I want to try it more regularly," she insisted.
<sound of my heart fracturing>
So... I trained myself over the last decade to be ever-present for her, and now that she is growing up, I'm the one who has to get used to being left alone.
The unexpected moments of parenting! When you finally get some freedom and you're like, "I no longer know what to do with this!"