Whether you're coming back from a vacation or a stay in the hospital, transitioning back to life with kids can be hard.
The initial greetings are exciting, usually big hugs and wanting to catch you up with everything you've missed. Some of them are emotional, claiming they were worried you were never coming back and they break down in tears giving you terrible mom guilt, even if your reasons for being away were the latter. Others are a bit more indifferent, giving quick hugs and then quickly back to whatever it is they were doing or watching on TV.
For me the next thing, after greetings and stories, is running through the To Do List in your mind.
Even with the best help, things will need to pick up at a certain pace. One may try to look past everything that needs to be done to get you back to your standard level of disorganization. You will fight the urge to do things right away, citing you are just back and want to ease back into life. But the urge will start to take over. You will walk by the full hamper a few times and each time it will whisper "anytime you're ready."
Ugh! Back off laundry!
The mess on the tables and floors, which may not even be that messy - it may just not be how you left it - will start to annoy you until you give in to normal mom mode.
Kids transition surprisingly well and seem to pick right back up where they left off, regardless of how you feel. They will ask you for things they are more than capable of getting themselves, just like they do every day. They will still wake you up at the usual too-early time and ask you what's for dinner.
As I personally experience all of this and walk the kids through their own to-do lists and responsibilities, my oldest reminds me she has a class party and that I signed up to bring something. Immediately I die a little inside, thinking about how good it feels to be in a robe and slippers and how I felt really committed to doing nothing today. I get up and help the others look for missing items and usher them out the door for school. On her way out, my oldest says, "Oh and don't forget the veggie tray!"
Sure, sure. I wanted to go to the grocery store today anyway!
Looks like I'll be taking an instrument that's been left behind as well as the veggie tray.
Oh well, I guess that's us back into the swing of things.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.