Wednesday, July 31, 2013

hurry up and wait

a couple different friends recently shared a link to a really thoughtful blog post titled "the day i stopped saying 'hurry up'" by 'hands free mama'. i liked it a lot. it's such a nice message. it's exactly the type of parent i always thought and hoped i would be - one who could slow down, go with the flow, and appreciate the small wonders of the world as seen through my children's eyes. (upon what empirical evidence i based these hopes i do not know, as i am probably one of the biggest stress balls you will ever meet.) but anyway. that is who i wanted to be. who i still want to be. someone who allows her children to just BE. to be children. to take their sweet time. to stop and smell the roses. to wonder over sno-cones and ladybugs and seashells. i want to foster independence and awe. i don't want to be a grump and a nag and i certainly don't want to rush a single precious moment of their childhood (okay, in the interest of full disclosure, i would not actually mind rushing the moments where there is screaming, crying, biting, and/or fighting.)

i've more been mindful of this message since i read the post. but then i started thinking, "wait a minute..." now, admittedly, this is probably just some weird effed up manifestation of my working mom guilt, and i mean no offense to the author of the post because it really is a poignant and inspiring piece, but, WTF, man? listen, as i said, most times, i would love to be this kind of parent. and on the weekends we are definitely closer to this ideal. "sure, baby. take 29 minutes to pick a shirt and another 43 to put the damn thing on. we ain't got no place to be. by the time you dress yourself we just might have time for dinner!" but, unfortunately, in my world, "sidewalk strolling" and "rose smelling" don't pay the bills. 5 days a week i actually do have somewhere to be - work. and "sorry boss, but i had to detour for sno-cones" (though one of the better excuses i could think of) ain't gonna cut it. i already feel like i am one sick-kid-day away from unemployment, and i'm not about to be the one to test my employer's feelings on the "free spirit" approach to parenting.

what about nighttime? oh i'm so glad you asked. well. if we operated on toddler time, they wouldn't be in bed until the sun came up. this has nothing to do with both of us working. or maybe it does. because i don't get home until 5 or 6 and therefore i can't start the bedtime routine at 3pm, which is what i would need to do if i wanted my children to go to sleep, ever, on their own time. maybe this lady's kids are just more creative or intelligent or refined than mine, but my kid isn't lolligagging at bedtime as the result of some deep metaphysical metamorphosis. he just doesn't want to go to bed. we're not having enlightening dinner conversation, lamenting the juxtaposition of world famine and childhood obesity. instead i am using every single tactic i learned in my law school negotiations course to get him to eat three more fecking peas. he's not taking an hour to disrobe because he wants to ponder the complex history of cotton. he's not quoting david foster wallace "this is water, this is water" in the bathtub. we're not strengthening our familial bonds, unless you subscribe to the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" mentality. if he had his druthers, he would just watch little einsteins on endless loop for 3 hours and eventually pass out on the couch. (who says he didn't inherit anything from his daddy? (i kid, i kid. i don't even let my grown man-child do that ;)) oh also, it doesn't even have to be new episodes. it can be the same exact one about dragon kites again. and again. and again.)

look. i'm not talking about those perfect summer-evening games of "baseball" (aka throwing bats and balls and oneself repeatedly onto the ground and cheering), or sweet moments sharing your favorite childhood books with your babies as they drift off into angelic sleep. i am talking about the 60-to-180 minute period between starting dinner and donning PJs that can only be characterized as a complex and ever-evolving battle of wills, fought on uncertain and dangerous terrain against two highly skilled guerrilla ninja babies. sometimes i'm outnumbered, sometimes it's one-on-one, but they always, always put forth a gallant effort that leaves their enemies in physical and mental ruin at the end of nearly each and every day. Sun Tzu would be proud. every once in a while i am able to rise above, like my latent mom-of-the-year spirit is a fly on the wall, and appreciate that even the shitty moments are moments that i'll never have with my littles again. even savor them. but most nights it's all i can do to make it to the finish line, and i want to be at peace with that.

as with anything - everything - i guess, it's all about finding balance. between what we want and what we have. between sanity and perfection. between sleep and effing pinterest. WHY PINTEREST? WHY?! WHY MUST I MAKE A DECOUPAGE GLITTER GIFT BOX AT 1 O'CLOCK IN THE GODFORSAKEN MORNING??? for my husband, no less, who does not even know, and could not possibly care less, what that is?!

well. at least there are a couple of good things about the internet. it can show you that (1) you're not alone (exhibit A - "Go the F**k to Sleep", exhibit B, Scary Mommy et al.), and (2) there's somebody sucking way worse at life than you are.

now THIS i would stop for

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