I have a strong tendency to hijack comments and leave really long responses in people's comment boxes. In an attempt to avoid the hijacking, I'm going to post what I almost shared in response to this post from Fiauna.
Once a few years ago when Spiderman was under 2 and the Hulk was just a newborn, I was asked a question that caught me off guard.
It was in a Sunday School class where we were discussing the Old Testament. The Hulk had been fussy and so I was standing in the back of the gym, shushing him and trying really hard to pay attention to the lesson.
The teacher had just read Isaiah 49:15, which reads, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."
And probably because I was standing at the back and drawing attention to myself, the teacher (who at the time was without children) said, "Sister aMayzing, isn't this the case? When you have to leave your children, doesn't it make you just a little bit sad?"
I was completely caught off guard and didn't have the presence of mind to lie, so I told the truth.
"Actually, sometimes I leave the house specifically to get away from my children. I wouldn't say it makes me 'sad,' but I don't exactly 'forget' them either..."
(At this point, I realized that I wasn't giving the response the teacher wanted and frantically searched for a way to tie what I was saying into what she wanted me to say.)
...But even if I've just been gone for a couple of hours, I come home and realize that I actually have missed them."
I think the teacher was a bit surprised at my less-than-perfect response, but I had more than one woman in the ward tell me afterward that they appreciated my comment. No problem! Anytime you need validation that you're not the only imperfect mother out there, you know where to find me!
My answer still applies. Sometimes I still leave the house (when Superman's home!) for the specific purpose of taking time off from my boys. But every time I come home, I find that I have missed them! It always seems like they've grown. I realize that they lived entire hours of their life that I wasn't a part of -- that I don't know all the details of. And it makes me kind of sad and little regretful for leaving.
But only a little regretful. I recognize my need for time away from my home and children -- whether it's time grocery shopping in peace or building relationships with other women. I need that time to stay in touch with me.
I don't 'forget' my children, but I don't want to 'forget' who I am, either.