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Thursday, April 25, 2013

"I want Mom."

Yesterday was a Wednesday, and Bow enjoyed his time with Lawrence. During my day off, I spend most of the day running errands, so it's not really the case that I do "my work" on my time away from Bow. Most of my writing, editing, publishing, advertising and other related tasks are done during the twelve hours a day when I am with Bow. But yesterday, before I got in the car and drove away to the post office, the bank and the grocery store, I looked outside and saw a beautiful landscape through the window of my front door.

It was bright out, but the sky threatened a storm with its dark clouds. Bow became agitated when I went outside to take the picture. Lawrence later reported to me that Bow seemed agitated to see me outside. He gestured to Lawrence that he wanted to say something, and Lawrence thought he would ask for a toy or a snack.  But Bow only spelled: "I want Mom."

Lawrence told Bow that I was busy "working." But actually, I would not describe what I was doing as working. It was more like taking a break.

It wasn't until the afternoon, after I got back from running all my errands that Lawrence told me about this. I was touched that Bow had said he wanted me. "That's so sweet!"

"Have you been spending more time with him?" Lawrence asked, because it was unusual for Bow to ask for me during his playtime with Lawrence.

When Lawrence comes over, Bow has his undivided attention, whereas during the twelve hours each other day besides Wednesday that I spend with Bow, Bow does not have my undivided attention, because I do, in fact, work on other things in Bow's presence.In the Mommy War context, the distinction between undivided attention on a child for short periods and multitasking with your child all day long is known as quality versus quantity time. I used to weigh in on the quality time end of the spectrum, but more recently I have realized how important the time is we spend with our children when they are not the center of attention. (I wrote about this in "Our Mothers' Backs".)

"No," I said. "Not more time. The same amount of time. But this morning we argued. Maybe Bow was feeling bad about that."

As an adolescent, Bow sometimes needs time away from me. Sometimes he turns his back on me. Sometimes he asks me to leave. But like every other adolescent, Bow kind of wants his mom, even as he tries to push her away.

This morning we went out into the outer pen. Bow was nice, but eventually he turned his back on me, letting me know that my company was not required. But then when I went in, he seemed to regret it a little.

Growing up is hard to do!


  1. Bow is very thoughtful, and you are both lucky o have each other. I think the view outside your house would make a nice painting. I love the outline of those trees.

    1. Thanks, Julia. We are both very lucky, I think. The longer I live here the more I appreciate the view, which is like a painting in progress, always changing and never the same from moment to moment.