What Does It Mean When I Don’t Miss My Kids?

A common question I heard asked among the attendees at BlogHer ’10 was: “So, do you miss your kids?”

I felt like a troll each time I answered, “No, not really.”

If pressed about it (which I wasn’t), I might have offered “Well, we did just spend four weeks on the road together,” or “I spend every day with them, it’s good to have a little time away.”  But the truth is, even without the road trip or the 24/7 stay-at-home gig, I have a feeling I still would not have missed them.

Don’t get me wrong – there were definitely moments in New York City when I thought to myself, “This would have been fun for them to see” or “I would have liked to share this memory with them,” but there was no sense of longing, no sense of having missed a moment for lack of having them with me.

This week my three daughters are at a girls’ church youth camp.  It’s just the two boys and I at home.  I am enjoying this time, the change in dynamics in my household.  Every so often I remember to wish my girls well, send hopes that they are having fun.  But I can’t qualify it as missing them.  I will be happy to see them when they return, that’s true.  But my heart remains intact while they are gone.

What’s ironic is that I’ve had more moments of missing them when we’re in the same zip code.  I miss them when there is emotional distance or a hurdle we can’t seem to navigate.  I miss them when they hold things back and fold up within themselves.  But when all we’re separated by is distance?  That I can handle.

What about you?  Do you miss your kids when you are away from them (or them from you)?  Are you having a difficult time watching them embark on this new school year?  I’m curious to hear how other mothers feel and negotiate these times in life.

  • Heather Mills Orr

    Like you, I often think “Brooklyn would love this or I can just picture Ayden doing this.” But, other than that, I do not miss them. I try to soak up and enjoy every minute away from them so I can be refreshed and ready to be a good mom again. We all need some alone time, right? And mothers get it so rarely. Face it, even when you are away from your kids, they are constantly in your thoughts. Are they eating enough? Are they sleeping ok? Is the house a wreck… Yeah, those thoughts are why it’s impossible to miss my kids. My husband does. I think it’s different for dads because they are not plagued with the mundane worries 24/7 and can just simply miss their children’s company.

  • I think the anxiety about thinking you are going to miss your kids before a trip is worse than actually being away from them. Goodbyes are the worst for me but then I tend to be so busy that I don’t have time to miss my kids when I’m away from them. It is nice having some time to focus on your own needs sometimes too.

  • That’s an interesting thought, Heather – the idea that our kids are so much a part of every breath we take, it’s like we’re not away from them even if we are. I would love to know what it’s like to just miss their company (as you put it), but you’re right – we moms have such a different experience with them than dads. 🙂

  • Maybe that’s part of it, too – the busy-ness that consumes me when I’m away. There always seems to be something right there to replace the thoughts of the kids – something I need to focus on or fulfill or whatever. Maybe that’s why there’s never an empty place.

  • Jennelsonlane

    I LOVE this post! I felt a little guilty in NYC because I wasn’t on Skype every day with my family or calling every ten minutes to check in. Truth be told, I think it’s healthy for us to have time away from one another. I am an only child and I learned so much about the world in the time I wasn’t with my family. I also know it was important for my parents to have time to themselves, just as it’s important for my husband and me to reconnect through our little lunch dates. Dean goes to mother’s day out at the church 3 days a week and it’s great! I have time to work and clean the house, he gets some social time, learns some good lessons, does a craft then comes home. It workds really well for us. BlogHer was for ME. I needed it desperately and I returned home rejuvenated and energized, ready to be an even better mom to my little guy.