It happens all the time. At church. At preschool drop-off. At library story time. On the phone. I get to chatting with someone, anyone.
Two seconds into the conversation, my eyes dart around the room to find my boys. Two minutes into it, and I’m excusing myself to dash after my one-year-old, who is crawling toward an electric socket.
Four minutes later and my preschooler is demanding a snack, and I’m explaining to him how he needs to say, “Excuse me” when Mommy’s talking to someone, because it’s very rude to interrupt. While I’m clearly neglecting the person I’ve started talking to. By the time we start chatting again, I completely forget what we were talking about.
I started crying while we were hanging out with a few other couples last week, because my kids lost it and my husband ended up taking them home. I remember telling my friends I just wanted to be all there in my time with them, and it was so hard to do that.
Moms, I know you feel me on this. Getting through a conversation as a mother is virtually impossible, while your kid is awake anyway. It seems like Dads can get away with it just fine. (Yes, you’re detecting a hint of sarcasm there.) But your reflexes are kicked into high gear as a mom, and there’s no turning off those senses to focus on anything else.
But you know what I’m trying to stop doing? Put disclaimers on myself. Including in my motherhood. Which includes saying sorry over and over for interrupted conversations, and getting frustrated when they end sooner than I’d like. And you should, too, Mama. You don’t need to apologize for a teaching moment, or for protecting your child from a bad decision they don’t see coming. You can take your tired kids home.
It’s hard to keep up relationships, much less conversations, as a mom, especially one with small kids. Let me encourage you with this: other people understand more than you know. Your kids need so much at this moment in time, and you are doing the best you can. Have so much grace with yourself at this time.
Know that conversations can always be finished at another time. The people who care about you and who understand will be ready when you get back.