It is now the end of the second week of the summer school holidays for my two children and me. It usually takes the first week for us to work out how we all fit together after so many weeks of the rhythm of the school year, and it's often a relatively confusing process for each of us as we attempt to spend all-day, every-day together after having almost daily breaks from each other.
For me it's an interesting experience in both how i feel about myself, my role as a mother, my identity and by extension of all of that, how I feel about my children and how much there is to learn about each of these things. I realise that the "me" I slowly rebuild during the school term (in amongst study and work) is based upon lots of much needed and coveted time to myself - time 'being Sarah' I call it. The switch into full-time mother-mode is bittersweet: painful in that it requires what feels like a great deal of "letting go" of the adult, singular me; joyful in that I realise how lucky I am.
Letting go of those parts of me that exist without my children around is difficult because work consciously to hang onto them under the weight of the "mother-lode" as I call it. Balance, in anyone's life, exists where there is a variety of components and an absence of extremes (or at least if extremes exist they are balanced out between themselves). My balance is thrown out by a lack of time to process, analyse, think, ruminate, breathe, read, write, stop, express. When my children are around I feel that I have less time for these things - which means that prolonged periods without a break from them can lead me to feeling out of balance.
Yet all the while I am conscious of how amazing it is: that I have children - in an age when the ability to procreate is no longer a "given" for all; that my learning is right there in the moments with them: that I have become more of the person I want to be just by being a Mother and being required by the role to step-up-to-the-plate, take responsibility for my life and choices and decisions; and that my work (which I am also very fortunate to absolutely love every minute of) allows me this time with them.
So here I am, every school holidays, being reminded of the need for balance in life: in my case in the form of time to myself where I am mostly alone or with only one other person, and time with my children - time that is as vitally important for my development and growth as it is for theirs.