I am not a homebody. My perfect day would never be at home. I get bored and restless easily. I am almost always eager to get out, to do something. I want to be in the world. I like watching people; maybe not talking to them so much, but eavesdropping on them, definitely. I like eating food that other people cook. I like being in beautiful spaces that I am not responsible for keeping. I love weather — any weather, all weather! I love cracked sidewalks and street art and shop windows. I love mountains and lakes and big, green fields.
I am in love with the world and I want to see as much of it as possible.
I was lucky when my oldest child came along with his own tiny pair of wandering feet. Even as a little guy, he was happier exploring away from home and we would spend the majority of our days together finding adventure. He would tag along to outdoor concerts, festivals, restaurants and events. He would explore new cities, ride buses and stay up late without much fuss. I was grateful that Liam seemed genuinely miserable at home, just like me! We were a good fit and I definitely took advantage of it.
But for whatever reason, not one of my other children inherited my wandering gene.
All three of my littlest guys seem to thrive on the rhythms of home. I always know when life has gotten too busy because both my five- and four-year-olds are repeatedly melting down faster than popsicles on the 4th of July. After a few slow days at home, tight little shoulders relax and easy-going grins return. They are happiest at home, lounging around in their underpants most likely. And that is okay. They deserve to have that need met, even if it sometimes clashes with my own.
But can I admit that it has been an adjustment?
I often feel that my oldest son is an outside representation of how I am feeling on the inside when we spend stretches of days at home. His restlessness is physical. He dances, spins, kicks, jumps off the furniture, pounds his fists, talks non-stop. I often have to send him to jump on his trampoline or to run outside before he drives us all bananas. If we have no plans for the day, he becomes obsessed with escaping into video games or a Netflix binge session, asking over and over again if we can go somewhere or have someone over to play. He gets panicked at the thought of being bored.
Truthfully, I can empathize.
I often have that same feeling of dread when I come to the end of my to-do list. At first, I feel relief. I sit down with a book or a new show to watch, but it isn’t long before I start to wonder about the meaning of it all. Why am I sitting here when I have never been to Europe or learned to knit or gone canoeing? What am I even doing with my life? I channel so much of my anxiety into busyness and when the busyness is taken away, the anxiety often comes rushing back.
So, Liam and I have both had to learn to embrace home just a little bit more. It isn’t always easy, but, we are learning. We are finding joy in the little things like Saturday morning cartoons and breakfast casserole, gardening and crafts. I am drinking more herbal tea. I am planning home improvement projects that actually get accomplished. I am remembering to start the dishwasher every night before I go to bed.