I’ve thought long and hard about this. It’s taken a lot of time and planning. I’ve had to organize and coordinate with others so I’d have a place to stay, but it’s official: in a week, I’m leaving my husband and kids.
I love them with my whole heart and I always want what’s best for them–that’s why I know I need to do this. It just can’t wait any longer. The time is right. I have to go.
Being a wife and mother have been the most important and defining roles for me the last eighteen and fifteen years. They haven’t been my only identities though. There’s so much more to Jennifer Hicks than just Wife and Mother: I’m also a sister, daughter, friend, teacher, and writer. I spend so much time taking care of other people, sometimes I need to stop and take care of me. That’s why I have to leave.
Some people think I’m being selfish and that I should always put my husband’s and kids’ needs before mine. That I should be Wife and Mother before everything else every single day. I disagree. I just can’t. I HAVE to give myself permission to be me … I have to just be Jen sometimes. Not Wife. Not Mom. Not someone who worries about what anyone needs but herself. And, so, I’m leaving.
I’ve already discussed it with them; they understand why I need to go. We’ve made arrangements and talked about what life will be like when I’m gone, about what they’ll need to do to pick up where I left off. It’ll be different, but everyone will be just fine. Actually, it will be good for all of us.
I’m leaving my husband and kids
so that I can spend time with friends in Seattle. I’ll be gone for nearly a week. Just me. Recharging the Jen battery. Only worrying about myself and what I want to do. Just being a Friend. And it will be fantastic.
My husband and kids will go to work and school. They’ll come home, make dinner, do the dishes and their homework. They’ll spend their evenings like they typically do, but for just a few days, they’ll do it all without me. And they’ll be fine.
They’ll be a bit more independent, and so will I. In order for them to have the opportunity to grow and learn, and for me to have the opportunity to rejuvenate myself, I need to leave them for a few days.
I’m leaving for the same reason I send my husband out the door every Spring with a kiss and a smile wishing him a weekend of fun with the guys. And why it makes me happy when he has the opportunity to go on a golf outing. For the same reason I try to make sure he gets to have time in his comfy chair each weekend morning with a book and his coffee by himself. Because those things restore his energy which means that he has more to give in every role he plays, especially as Husband and Father.
I’m leaving for the same reason I drive my kids to friends’ houses to play, hang out, or stay the night. It’s why I take them to tennis and track practices, matches, and meets. For the same reason I arrange for them to have friends go with us to the amusement park or pool. For the same reason I like to say “yes” when they ask to try a new sport or hobby. Because those activities help them connect with others and learn about themselves so that as they grow up, they’ll understand that being well-rounded is an important part of enjoying life and that we don’t have to be just one kind of person. We can have many interests and roles that fill different parts of our being. And I want them to know that they’re more than just Son and Daughter … and some day when they’re married (and maybe have kids), I want them to know that they’re not just Husband or Wife.
I want my husband and kids to be everything they want to be. I want my kids to know that adding a new role in life doesn’t mean that you have to give up a different part of you. I don’t want them to feel like they should give up on any part of their life that is meaningful to them. I want them to live fully–always.
The best way I can help them understand that is to show them. When we feel fulfilled and happy in all aspects of our lives, the positive energy is far-reaching.
So, in an effort to make everyone happy, I’m leaving my husband and kids to take care of Jen the Friend … because I want to come back to them as the best Wife and Mother I can be.
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