Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Alone Time: Clarification and Comments

I certainly did not intend to create any blog warfare with my "Alone Time" post.

Maybe what I was trying to say was unclear. Really I just intended for readers to go "haha" or "how cute" or something equally bland and amused, not start a theme of evaluating my qualifications and performance as a mother. (That being said... Ben, Andrea, and Cathy - I love you all, and thanks for sticking up for me!)

Basically, I thought it was cute that Bryn was made so happy by her "alone time." And I had a bit of a "duh" moment when I realized that Bryn was fully aware that she needed time away, yet I had not realized up until that point that this was my problem as well. I was expecting comments more along the lines of, "You have a smart kid" or "Stop blogging and take a break!"

And upon review, I'm wondering if "alone time" is even what I really meant to say; I think that "down time" might cover it better. Meaning, I can be completely alone in the house and still feel the need to clean, do laundry, and attack miscellaenous chores, none of which are restful activities or lead to that "rejuvenated" feeling. But it is fully possible for me to not technically be alone and still get this "recharge"..... for example, if Bryn is happy looking at books or coloring by herself, and Shay is amusing herself on her play mat, I can then take 20 minutes to myself to read, listen to music, recharge, etc.

I did not intend to imply that my children are ruining my life. What I meant was something along the lines of, "Gosh, we are really in a busy season of our lives right now. Won't it be nice when things calm down a little?"

Let's face it: it's hard to be around other people all the time. I know I felt this a few times in college and in the workplace. So while Bryn loves having Bekah and Levi here as playmates every day, it does take its toll on us. They are not members of our family, so they are not always in tune with our schedule, our rules, and our habits. So while Bryn is happy to build a block tower and then clean up after herself, Bekah and Levi prefer to dump out all the toys they can find, then dig through the stack until they find one to fight over.... er, play with. :) While Bryn knows that she is expected to stay quietly in her room during naptime, whether she sleeps or not, Bekah likes to wander and look for some action. Things like this are a departure from our normal routine, thus causing us all to be a bit more worn down and on edge than usual. When left to our own devices, I often take the girls to the library, the Children's Museum, the zoo, the park, but with Bekah and Levi here too, we tend to stick close to home. This leads to some cabin fever in all of us.

When you combine these daily abberations with the fact that I run out the door to tutor almost every night as soon as Ben gets home, leaving him alone to watch the girls for the evening, you can understand why we're feeling stretched thin right now. But I'm only babysitting for less than two more weeks, and the tutoring will only go for the remainder of the school year, and my online test grading has less than two weeks left as well. So really I'm just in "busy season" for my "work" right now, resulting in a certain amount of stress. What I was going for with my previous post was something along the lines of, "Just a few more weeks until things calm down--thank goodness!"

I realize (or at least hope) that many of you got this from the original post and just didn't get around to commenting, or were scared off by the flurry of angry comments left before yours. I just felt the need to clarify.


A special note to "Anonymous":

I don't know who you are, and I don't think I really want to. I am hoping that you are some kind of random blog stalker, someone that I don't actually know but has somehow happened across my site and for some reason feels justified in commenting on my life. However, I am also aware of the far greater possibility that you are someone I know, perhaps even someone that I consider myself close to. The thought of that upsets me, because based on your comment, clearly you don't truly know or understand me at all.

Whether we know each other in real life or not, allow me to provide a brief introduction to myself and what makes me tick:

Hi. My name is Amy. My husband and my children are the most loved, most amazing, most perfect, most desired, and most important things in my life. I would not trade my sweet girls for anything, and most certainly not for a lifetime of "alone time." I know that the day will come far too soon when they are over at friends' houses, off at summer camps, gone every day at school, etc, that I will yearn for this "together time." There will be more than enough "alone time" in the future, and I wouldn't trade right now for anything.

For as long as I can remember, children have been the desire of my heart. I have always worked with kids, in daycares, in summer camp programs, as a teacher. But more than anything, I have always wanted my own. I have always understood that whatever other personal endeavors I may take on, that I am called to care for, love, and raise children. This includes Bryn, Shay, and any future children we produce, and God willing, adopted children someday. Even when I was in elementary school, I dreamed of the day that I would have my own family.

When I was in the third grade, I opened my first savings account. From that point on, I put half of all the money I received into that savings account. This included birthday gifts, paychecks, graduation presents, any money that came into my possession. From the third grade through my college graduation, I only made two withdrawals from that account: the first was to partially fund a trip to Spain that I took with a group from my high school, and the second was to put towards my study abroad experience in Ireland. Aside from those special events, I continued to save. I didn't use those funds for gas money, for nights out with friends, for gifts, for anything. And that whole time, from my ninth birthday on, if anyone asked what I was going to do with that money, what I was saving for, I had a ready answer: my kids. I have desired a family for my entire life, and even at that young age, I was starting to prepare for them.

In high school, as I have mentioned before, I had an incredibly close group of friends, the "Clan." They always joked that I was the "mommy" of the group. I was the one that people came to with their problems, and I was the one who planned our outings. I took care of my friends. I identifed with the role of "mommy;" for years afterwards, my email and screen name were "clanmommy."

I started dating Ben during my senior year of college. I knew that he was The One when he not only tolerated, but got excited about my dream of having a huge family someday. My dream became our dream. We got married, and I was pregnant with Bryn less than a year later. We were starting to build our family, our dream.

The hardest times of my entire life occurred between the births of Bryn and Shay. We dreamed of expanding our family after Bryn, but I miscarried twice. Never have I experienced anything so heartbreaking, so horrible, as loving a child, praying for it, and then losing it. No one who has not been through this experience can possibly relate. I was able to sustain my pregnancy with Shay because I went to a fertility specialist on the same day I learned of my pregnancy and I was subsequently treated with medications and had my hormone levels monitored closely throughout the first trimester. As Ben and I continue to dream of expanding our family, I am painfully aware of the reality that further miscarriages are a very real possibility for me.

Over the past year or so, there have been several "Anonymous" comments left on my blog, offering various remarks as to how we should not expand our family any further. It is clear that there is at least one person out there, perhaps more than one, who seem to feel strongly that there should be no more children for the MeyPfans, and seem to think that their comments are acceptable or effective. I would hope that if this person (or people) knows me at all, they would understand how incredibly rude, inappropriate, hurtful these comments are. These comments were certainly not written by either me or my husband, which means that the commentary is way out of line, as my husband and I are the only ones who have the privilege of deciding how many children we will raise and when is the right time to expand our family. I have not asked for this unknown person's opinion or criticism, and would appreciate if it was not shared in the future.

Anonymous, I get your point. I hope you get mine.


Anonymous said...

Amy, I just want you to know that I love you and Ben and, of course Bryn and Shay. You are wonderful people and the crazy poster is just that - crazy. Try not to worry about it. You are a wonderful mother. I hope that I can be half as good as you are.

Love you - Suellen

Anonymous said...

Awww I'm sorry that silly blogger upset you. If it makes you feel any better, I will kick them in the shin if I ever meet them. ;) Otherwise, if you see a comment by them, just delete it and think about how sad their life must be that they feel the need to judge everyone else (and anonymously, none-the-less).


Kathy said...

I just read all of the alone time posting - ridiculous! I think that anonoymous poster must be someone who doesn't know you, because anyone who knows you and Ben wouldn't say what they said.

Cathy said...


Krysten said...

Ah - the wonders of stupid people never stop amazing me. As you well know, Amy, I have been judged by some pretty stupid people in my life and having lived through the experience, I can tell you this: it may take time and repeatedly being told so by the many people who know you to truly accept this, but you are a wonderful person, a great mother, a fantastic friend, and the world is a much better place with you in it and stupid people just keeping to themselves. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I think you said that very well. And I definitely remember you wanting kids forever (good memories). - Ashley :)

Melissa said...

Isn't it infuriating that when you are a female and you reach a certain age, suddenly everybody thinks your reproductive success (or lack thereof) is their business? Its also so ironic that I feel like I spend my whole life dealing with people who stupidly urge me the opposite, as though I am some kind of freak show for being a 28-year old woman pursuing a PhD instead of kids. Its impossible to make everybody happy! I guess people are just never satisfied with things that aren't their business... whether you choose to have kids or not! Oh well. Let's just hope that the anonymous poster didn't really mean for the comment to come out that way... you know, sometimes emails or text comments have a way of coming out more harsh or maybe even with a different meaning than the sender had intended. My favorite was when the head of my department was sending an email, realized just a bit too late that it contained something it shouldn't and then could be heard screaming "Unsend! Unsend!!" from his office. Needless to say, he had a lot of explaining to do. Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent, but for me it serves as a reminder that it is very easy to get into trouble on the internet.

At any rate, go forth and prosper!

Big Sis said...

Amy, Try to forget what what that anonymous person said. We all know how great you are! You are loved by so many people. Those who know you and love you know how truly wonderful you are. You are a great mom. You are my mommy role model. Besides being a great mom, you are also a great friend. You have always been there for me, and I know you always will be. I am so thankful that you are my little sis. I am also so thankful that you gave me the courage to escape from my former live and helped me to see that I deserved so much more. I would not be where I am today without you and your stength and support. I love you little sis!

Anonymous said...

i heart alone time!!!! my dream vacation would be a night in a hotel room ALONE with a good book and a glass of wine. the best thing we can do for our daughters and sons is to be an EXAMPLE ... we are not mommy-slaves, but daughters of Christ first and foremost. That means "getting away" (just as Christ did) to meet with our Father for refreshment. Sometimes that comes in the form of reading the Word, but often that comes in the form of just quieting ourselves and being available! For some, that could mean letting Him speak to you through others ... girldate! or it could be alone time ... just you and a bottle of hot pink nailpolish and letting your thoughts wander to all the "good and noble and lovely" things you've been given. WHATEVER it is that you do to carve out that "amy" time ... will be the thing that gives your kids the heads-up that we are not THEIR servants, but HIS servant. MAJOR PROPS to you Amy! I can't think of a better mothering example than encouraging moms to (and letting yourself) have that time! Love, Caroline