Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Off Your Parenting Game
Something magical happened recently. My four oldest kids went to their grandparents at the Jersey shore, leaving me with just my 3 year old son, Cash. Just one little three year old. Talk about cake.
If you’ve ever found yourself temporarily with less kids or no kids at all, you’re familiar with this feeling. You suddenly can imagine how much you’ll get done. You’ll work. You’ll organize. You’ll paint the house. My gosh, you’ll probably bring together world leaders to negotiate some kind of peace treaty. You’ve got that much time on your hands.
But let me tell you how much you’ll get done. Nothing. Or just short of nothing. Certainly not that peace treaty I mentioned.
I started off the week with incredibly high aspirations.
But I knew something was up on Tuesday morning when it was 10 minutes before Cash was supposed to arrive at camp and he was sitting in a diaper, eating crackers he had fished out of the diaper bag. Meanwhile, I hadn’t taken a shower. Or made his lunch.
And usually I am ON IT. When my five kids need to be at camp, their lunches are made the night before. Their backpacks are lined up in a neat row at the door. I bark orders about getting dressed, brushing teeth and putting on sunscreen. I promise you- – no one is sitting without pants eating Goldfish at eight in the morning.
So what was happening?
I was seriously off my game. Finally day after day (and year after year) of shepherding five kids around, I had relaxed. I had taken my eye off the ball. In fact, the ball, the lunches, the clock, the everything.
And you know what, it kind of felt good.
Because who cares if he’s 30 minutes late for summer camp. Okay, 45. Even if camp is only four hours long.
And a few days later, I sat by the pool with a friend and her kids. It was now my 3 year old’s bedtime hour but I wasn’t budging. He was happy. I was happy. I had just succumbed to the ease of it all.
I didn’t need to rush home and get everyone into bed so I could finally relax. I was already relaxed.
And yes, that week, I eventually did get some work done. I did get a few errands accomplished. But mostly I just enjoyed not being stressed out all the time. Not worrying about what to cook for five children. Or getting the laundry done nightly so it didn’t become an overwhelming heap of dirty clothes threatening to swallow me whole. Or constantly tidying up so I didn’t get beaten down by the chaotic mess.
My other children did come home. And I once again lined up those backpacks. I returned to life as the “on it” mom (at least most of the time).
But for that week, I was the woman who got very little done.
And it was magical.
Photo source: Depositphotos/Christin_Lola