Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Honest Mom

A post I made on Facebook yesterday made a frequent reader & old blog friend say something about how I'm an "honest mom". Her thinking was that I was admitting to sometimes being a little tired of doing the mom thing all the time and wishing for time just to myself. And that was right-- I do sometimes miss those old days of "single marrieds" status. Andrew & I were married 13 or so years before we had kids, so that was a lot of time to have no one to account to but ourselves. It was fun! We flew off to London & Paris, to Alaska, to Hawaii and various less exotic places at the drop of a hat. We could stay out late and sleep in, have Sunday brunch with lots of champagne and then go back to bed for the rest of the day. Lather, rinse, repeat. A family member, years ago, complaining that we hadn't had kids yet was reprimanded by another family member who said "Leave them alone; they still like each other." And that was--and still is, most of the time ;)-- true.

Nowadays it's pretty different. A lot of parents, I guess, miss the wild days more than I do. I don't really need to go out to bars or be on my own very often. I had plenty of wild days, and will again one day when they're older. Date night sounds like fun, but twins tend to scare off the basic babysitter. You have a hard time getting the teen from down the street interested, and when they do think they can handle it, they see me chasing after them (Sean in particular) and are suddenly "busy that night." As much as it feels like a cop out to say, he is a special needs kid for now, and therefore even a challenge for me sometimes. So a lot of the time, I don't even bother trying to find someone.

And part, a huge part, of this is I really, really like hanging out with my kids. I don't need lots of downtime from them, usually. I am fine with other parents who want to get a sitter & hang out. Perhaps if we lived in San Antonio where we have a large network of friends I'd be more up for the hassles and challenges of finding night childcare more often. When I'm putting them down to sleep and they nuzzle into the crook of my arms, Sean on the left and Maia on the right, and sigh sleepily with their little heads resting on my chest there's just very little that can compete with that. A nice martini and a date night without kids is awesome-- but this is ultimately a better feeling and doesn't leave a hangover.

When I'm feeling particularly crabby about the lack of socializing, I think of all the parents of friends I have had in my life. Most of them did not hang out and go out all the time. They had developed a habit of staying in-- watching movies, reading, chilling. I think staying in with your kids is probably more a norm than not. And I used to say that wouldn't be me-- I'd drag them wherever and still do stuff. But it takes a long time to get over the stares and crabbiness people shoot your way when your kid makes noise in a favorite hangout or give you a 'tude cause you brought them to the movies or whatever. And my kids are a little noisier than your average 4 year old. Sean has this shriek he does when he's excited that makes people turn their heads and glare at us. Andrew says I'm too sensitive to it but I remember being the person who wondered why that parent couldn't control their kid-- now I know-- sometimes it's just impossible to explain to the kids why they need to be good here, so you just keep them home.

Anyway, I'm thinking about this today because Andrew really wants to try, later today, dragging them to the gym with us. There are facilities there for parents w/ kids, and I sort of want to do it-- I really need the workout-- and I am dreading how hard I think it's going to be chasing after my hoodlums. We'll give it a shot, I think, but your guess is as good as mine how it's going to go.

So wish me luck. Another commenter to my post said "one word: Nanny." And boy do I wish I had someone here like my friend Patty who used to call herself my nanny. Life was infinitely easier with someone who considered herself as responsible for my kids as Andrew & I do. Maybe if I win the lotto. I guess I ought to buy a ticket.... but that won't help at the gym in an hour.


slyboots2 said...

Good luck at the gym! Hope it goes well. We went to a concert in a park last night, and one of the things we enjoyed the most was watching the little kids dance. There were two little girls in particular who were adorable. Those kinds of settings just seem letter perfect for kids- and there was a lovely little special needs girl spinning herself silly in one part of the dance park- she just kept spinning and spinning and falling down, and laughing. The music was loud enough to keep their screaming and playing illegible and unheard. It was lovely. Wish you guys had been there with us!

kim wells said...

That reminds me I need to post this video of them dancing when we were in San Antonio last month. Concerts like that we can do. No one minds the noise & my kids LOVE it. Maia kind of dances like ELaine from Seinfeld, if you remember that episode, but it's okay. She loves it!! The video is priceless. I could not help laughing the whole time and it was good laughing. And Sean loves music & dance-- it's one place his communications delay does not impede him at all.

The gym went fine until we had to go. They didn't have the right kind of shoes (Sean won't wear anything but his Cars Crocs) and the head-desk-monkey in charge wouldn't let us stay on the track (cause you know, it's so dangerous to walk in crocs....) And Maia had one of her nuclear meltdowns. I still haven't completely recovered from it, exactly, but I'm the grown up so I will.

But we won't be going back there very soon, to be honest.

Ugh. :)

Anonymous said...

RE: little girls dancing; check out my FB page.

I love doing "kid stuff" w/G. It sure as hell beats the real world: bars and parties and staying out late included. Nowadays whenever I hear some younger colleagues complain about the lack of sleep from staying out late/partying, I laugh and extend no mercy.

We live in an apt. and so when G goes to bed, we basically shut down everything; there is no room for us to "go downstairs and put on a movie" or continue w/our lives really...we become shut-ins in our bedroom and watch Netflix or Hulu. But it's good like that; I wouldn't have it any other way. There's a sense of comfort in that.

G is good about going out; always was, always behaved herself, never had a meltdown, EVER, so I know I am extremely lucky. I mean EXTREMELY LUCKY. Her "terrible twos" were nothing; she was unbelievable, and continues to be...and still I don't drag her around w/me; I cater to her needs, to her interests. Makes for a nice, smooth night.

Wish I was there w/Sly and you guys; or rather, wish all of you were w/us watching Dan Zanes---he does great tunes from the great American Songbook which, somehow, appeal to kids (think Dylan, Seeger, etc.).