I grabbed my wallet, took a brief second to listen to make sure baby girl was still sleeping as well as toddler boy.  The older two were playing outside and hubby was about to start bbqing.  The grocery store is only half a mile from our front porch so on the pretense that I need to go pick up a few items for this week’s menu, I kissed my husband goodbye and started off on a brisk walk.

I needed this time. I felt guilty.  I knew the older two would have loved to come with me but I needed silence. I needed to not hear;
“Mommy, what are we going to have for dinner?”
“Mommy, what is your favorite color?”
“Mommy, Emma doesn’t like me!”
“Mommy, Stephen won’t share…”

But as I walked the “Motherhood” distraction turned off, I turned on the homemaker mental list;
-Make Menu
-Write Grandma
-Finish Laundry
-Start laundy
-Call dentist
-mop floors (they really need it, Challice! yes, that mental notation is always present and irritating.)

So even this “breather” or “escape” as everyone wants to title it, never really is.  The job status never gets off duty.   We just go on “break” and I even laugh at that.  Is it really that relaxing to go to a store, surrounded by people, surrounded by different products, on a strict budget, obnoxious music, and the ever present realization that you have no kids with you and everyone you run into reminds you of this? Not for me.  If I didn’t feel guilty in the first place about running to the grocery store, and by run, I mean briskly walking so that you aren’t gone longer than 30 minutes-then I do now by the constant remarks about “getting out without the kids.”  It now becomes a question in my mind of, “should I have left them?”  So now, I am trying to finish up my 5 minute errand in 30 seconds.

I pass by some beautiful flowers.  My favorite, pansies.  I would love some pansies in the garden bed.  When do I have time to plant my flowers right now? It’s hard enough just trying to get some tomatoes planted! Did I mention too that there is a basket of laundry waiting to be folded from 2 days ago!  Then of course, my mind immediately goes to the mental to-do list that started my journey to the store in the first place.
-Fold laundry
-Make Ketchup before 12# of tomatoes goes bad.

The temptation to go back through the garden center halts me and I find another check out lane.  I wait for the proverbial question from a familiar checker.  We are a small town, everyone knows everyone.  Yep, there is comes, I can see the scouring eye
“Made it out without the kids huh?”
*cues drama music*
I start hyperventilation in my mind… “Get home.  How could you leave them? Are you not a good mom?” And all my focus is to get home as soon as possible.  Not to be the overbearing mom that cannot leave her kids alone for a minute but so that the kids don’t think their mom wants to see them or others think that I want to be away from my family.

The walk back is full of prayers and rambling thoughts and additions to that never ending to-do list.  I can start thinking rationally again once I am way from hundreds of eyeballs that I know never even noticed me (It’s called being an introvert).  I will have a calmer patient attitude when I get home.  My kids will be glad to see me and that makes me happy.   The laundry will still be there waiting as well as the long to do list.

I turn on my street and me feet begin to pick up past.  All hearts come home.  I come in the gate and four happy children are there to greet me.  The two babes woke up and were fine.  My daughter rushes up to hug me and tell me that the toddler boy has dumped out all the recently planted tomatoes.  One more thing I don’t have time to do.  Toddler boy proudly comes up with his old man walk and goofy grin and says
“Mommy, eat?”

This is my home and this is my life.  I did make it out without the kids but more importantly, I am home with the kids.  We all need a second to remember why we took on the “call to motherhood”.  Mine second just happened to be a little over 17 minutes walking time.