Because the truth of the matter is this, my “people” are near in distance, but far off in presence. They always offer to help, (key word: offer), but I take their words like a grain of salt each time. Their absence is hurtful, and they are becoming unreliable in my eyes.
When the offer to help rolls in, sentences are usually started with a maybe. “Maybe I can take the kids this weekend if I don’t have anything else I have to do.”
(If you’re a mother, you already know what “maybe” typically means.)
By now, those words go in one ear and out the other with an “okay, we will see when the day comes” type of attitude attached to the end of it.
I don’t mean to be snarky, hateful, or resentful to the people I love, but there’s only so many times someone can offer help and not follow through before I don’t believe it anymore.
I don’t want to get my hopes up. I know that may sound bonkers — getting my hopes up over some alone time away from my own kids — but it’s true. I have work I need to do at home, and when my village gives me idle promises, and I rearrange my day’s work to compromise for those promises only for me — and my kids — to be met with disappointment, their words start to hold little value.
I’ve heard it all:
My head hurts.
I forgot.. I have to do this, this and this.
I’m SO sorry, but… [fill in whatever bullshit you want here].
I can’t because of… (wait for it)…. MY DOGS.
The. Damn. Dogs. Now, I’m an animal lover with my own dogs myself, but come on, I’m not an idiot. Just say you changed your mind and be the asshole you are being instead of attempting to be a nice asshole with some bull-crap excuse coupled with it.
I get it, this is what I signed up for when becoming a mom. Being accessible to my kids’ every need, want and desire 24/7. I’m thoroughly aware, and I wouldn’t trade all of this mom-exhaustion for the entire world plus some.
But my supposed-to-be village’s absence stings. And it’s not just affecting me, it’s affecting my kids too.
We are big fans of FaceTime around here, probably because that’s the only way they’d regularly see their family. But it’s incredibly disappointing when family tells the kids that they will spontaneously pick them up while talking on FaceTime, only for them to change their mind last minute for one of the many excuses listed above. Or, sometimes, there’s no excuse at all. No phone call, no text, only absence.
It sucks that they can’t be upfront with the help they are and aren’t willing give. And it sucks even more that I have to explain their fall-outs to my children standing beside the door with their coats and shoes on, already anticipating the family day they were promised.
I’m left with not only my own distrust in them, but my kids’ too. And in their flaky attempts to help lighten my load, they oftentimes add to it further with their empty words.
I’m not saying they are all bad, but it’s difficult to understand why nobody will help me in the ways I’d be willing to do for them. It’s infuriating, actually. Because in the many attempts my family has made to promise me some help, I’ve had one kid-free night away from them. ONE.
I’ll take what I can get, but I’d like to point out that this alone time began one hour before their scheduled bed-time, and I picked them up the following morning one hour after their scheduled awake time. To put it candid, that “break” wasn’t really a break at all.
And it’s not even just about me and my lack of alone time that upsets me — I can deal with that. But I hate that my family is missing out on these extraordinary little people while they are still little. Because, to me, they are the greatest, most caring and smartest little people. And while I know in my heart that my extended family still values their worth, they don’t seem to bask in it the same way I do. And they don’t seem to cherish it the way my extended family cherished me when I was younger either.
My heart feels sad because of that, but maybe an empty, unreliable, and extended village is just what me and the rest of my big family needs… whether we expected to be dealt this hand or not. Maybe we realize that, even without the outside world’s help, we still have it all with the ones who are gathered around the table together daily.
No more, no less, just us.