Saturday, November 14, 2015
Here’s the plus about being a six foot tall Amazon with a resting bitch face that looks like I’m ready to throw down….no one critiques my parenting skills in public! I am sure that many denizens of the grocery store shuffle quickly to their cars thinking “Damn, I’m glad that she’s not MY mom,” but I never actually have to deal with the advice of random strangers. I breast fed three babies in public with nary a side eye, shit, I used to bring my Boppy Pillow with us to the bar for more comfortable nursing. I have carried screaming children over my shoulder through crowded store aisles, I even had to extract my naked son from a swimming pool locker room after he REFUSED to get out of the shower after half an hour. Has any well meaning mother-of-the-year ever stopped in to tell me that if I just made sure he got more fiber in his diet then his behavior would improve? No. Has any grandmother ever stepped in to tell me that that’s not how they did it in their day? No. So, you know, I have to buy my clothes from the “Modern Giantess” catalog, but at least no one has interfered with the way I’ve decided to raise my kids...until now.
I will not go into detail because it would take too fucking long but let me just assure you that Mondays are not the day that you want to get in my way. Pretty much every single second of Monday is specifically scheduled from 7:24am which is the last possible minute that can wake up my kids and still get them to school on time, until 7:24pm when I unload them from the Van, tired and already in their pajamas after their swim class. There is something happening during every single minute of the day and if the schedule deviates even slightly then the whole thing ends up in utter catastrophe. I am not an organized person. I don’t think three steps ahead, I like to live in the moment and take things as they come, so let’s just say that at best Monday and I have an uneasy truce.
There are 37 minutes of “waiting” on Monday afternoons, that I hold onto like a precious gem of sanity in the swirling seas of scheduled obligation. After I drop eldest off for his tutoring appointment I can take the younger kids to a playground down the street and they (wait for it, because it’s fucking amazing...) ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES FOR AN ENTIRE HALF HOUR. I know, I know…it’s the stuff of dreams. Those nights when you are holding a fussy, hungry newborn in the wee small hours of the morning, you close your eyes and see a halo of golden light through which you can watch your children playing BY THEMSELVES on the playground while you fondly watch from a distance and gradually rebuild your fragile mental health.
I defend these 37 minutes with every tactic at my disposal. I pull up to the park, open the side panel door on the van and (not literally, but literally if that’s what is required) boot them out of the vehicle. Then I sit by myself in the driver’s seat of the van for 37 minutes, listening to the radio, checking my email, calling my mother, knitting, or any one of a million other trivial things that have been robbed from me on this day of many obligations. So you can imagine my annoyance when I became aware of a presence on the other side of the window, a presence which resolved itself into the face of a sweet and well intentioned woman of not-quite-elderly vintage. The presence tapped on my driver’s side window, clearly indicating that I should lower it because she had wisdom to impart to me. The window reluctantly lowered.
“Go! Go and play with your children on the swings,” she twittered at me. And then she walked along the road accompanied by her well-walked dog and her husband who muttered “Was she just sitting in the car texting?!” in a tone that clearly indicated that I was out of my ever loving mind to miss this prime bonding experience with my precious children and their fleeting childhood.
So let me clear things up for you. I have no idea what I was doing, husband-person, I might have been texting, I could have been checking my email, or returning a phone call that I can’t return while surrounded by extremely loud children. I might have been refining uranium, curing cancer, solving the world’s problems in a three way facebook message string between me, Obama and the Pope. I might have been looking up porn, or announcing my candidacy for president of the universe.
What I wasn’t doing was playing with my children on the playground. I don’t actually like playgrounds. I’m sure that there is a lightning bolt charging up extra hot and just waiting for the right minute to strike me dead for saying so but playgrounds suck for grown ups. And swings? Swings are a fucking racket man. Agree to one underdog and your life is basically over. You have become a slave to the swing set. They will NEVER LET YOU GO. Observe my children playing on the swings. They are laughing, they are pushing each other, they are experimenting with different swing positions for maximum vomit induction…they are having a blast. You know what would happen if I went out there? Both of them would assume the “push me” position and demand in loud, ungrateful and irritating voices that I push them FOR ETERNITY, and we would ALL be having way less fun.
I NEED those quiet minutes in between appointments, work, errands, school, lessons, and myriad other obligations. Those are the minutes where I can recharge my reserves of patience and understanding so that when youngest is standing on her mitten in the morning, while simultaneously telling me that she can’t find her mitten and that she looked EVERYWHERE for it!!! I can say “Sweety, darling, you are standing on it,” instead of “ohferfucksakeareyoukiddingmerightnowyouirritatinglittletwerp!” They also need those minutes to play without me being there to be the focus of every problem and desire. They can lean on me to direct their game, all of which dissolve instantly into “show mommy and get approval!” or they can figure out something that appeals to their weird little kid brains and they can play “hippopotamus princess rescues the dragon.”
I could have explained this to you, sweet older lady, dog and husband, but you ran away before hearing my opinion. You probably thought you already knew what I would say. You probably thought that I would say “Fuck off and die you interfering old busy body! This is none of your damn business.” And you would have been TOTALLY CORRECT.