Once you have kids, they never go away. Physically they might leave you for a moment - or even a weekend if you're especially lucky (or two weeks if you are neglectful) - but emotionally, they are with you every second of the day and night for life.
Just writing that down makes me feel a bit itchy.
I honestly don't think I have truly relaxed since my children were born. Maybe even before that - pregnancy being especially full of things to worry about. It's why I have a particular aversion to the media bleating on at me about "me time" and "taking care of yourself first so you can be the best mother you can be" and all that malarky. Because that malarky just seems to trivialise the immense burden that parenting actually is. A hot bath and a fresh pedi is just not going to even lick the surface of how pent up parenting makes us.
Or maybe that's just me.
Whenever I am away from my children, I'm emotionally pent up because I'm wondering how they are going. What are they up to? Are people being kind to them? Are they being kind to people? Are they being polite? Do they have their feet on the walls? (I wrote that because just at that very moment I glanced over at Maxi reading his book beside me with his feet sliding all over the wall and I said, "For the 100th 1000th time, Maxi, don't put your feet on the walls!" so I kinda know that when he's not with me, he probably has his feet on somebody else's walls... dear god). And I constantly wonder: Who do they go to when they want to dobb on each other when I'm not there? Who do they call out "look at me, look at me" too? Who?
Whenever I am with my children, I'm physically pent up because I have to be ever-alert to things like feet on walls. My children call out 'mum, muuuuum' about 100,000 times a day and I can't sit down for a single minute without someone needing me to get back up again. I can get up and down and up and down 1000s of times in a day and I can do it all while simultaneously tuning out whinging, whining and bickering. I am surprised that Mumming isn't an Olympic sport. I am right in the middle of my training for that one. If only they slept a bit better I think I might have that sensation of "ah, day's done" once they get into bed. But so far, no go on that regard, although we are definitely getting there.
See, damned if you are with them, damned if you are without them. It never goes away.
Do you ever really, truly relax?