Last weekend Dave was out of town on business. This isn’t the first time this has happened… in fact, my husband traveling, has been a regular occurrence for as long as I’ve known him. It’s also not the first time I’ve spent a weekend home alone with my three boys, it was however, the first time I seriously considered selling them all to a roving band of gypsies!
Ok, there weren’t actually any gypsies involved, but there was me, on the very edge of keeping my sanity in-check and struggling, really struggling to maintain a calm facade. It just happened to be one of those weekends when the 18 month wouldn’t take a nap… this is the same 18 month old who also wont stop moving, climbing, wiggling, squirming, running, hopping, chasing his brothers, so a nap (i.e. at least one hour where mommy isn’t pulling him down off a bookshelf) is sort of necessary for the aforementioned sanity. It was the same weekend where the five year old started to really flex his middle child muscles with not one, but three breakdown/meltdowns that had me wondering if 10 AM was too early to have a glass of wine.
The cruddy part too, is that I was in supreme mom-mode. Since everyone knows you’ve got to keep the troops occupied when you’re outnumbered, we went to the park, on a bike ride, we played in the front yard, the back yard, the playroom and the nursery. I played trivial pursuit while simultaneously stacking bowls with the baby… we ate a healthy lunch and made popsicles for dessert, we read Knuffle Bunny and watched Peppa Pig. I was mom of the year for approximately 6 hours and then the wheels started to fall off. By the time I got them to bed that night (an hour later than normal because of fit throwing and an overtired baby) I wanted to cry… or drink… or drink while crying. It was probably the least enjoyable day I’ve ever had as a mother and it made me realize something… I should have asked for help.
You see, when I go out of town there’s not even a question, Dave calls the babysitter. He has her come for 4 or 5 hours to help divide and conquer the boys. But honestly, there’s a part of me that’s always judged him for that. I believe that he’s allowed to parent his own way, but deep down inside I always thought “can’t you handle your own kids for one day?!” I work full-time which means we have a nanny, and the idea of calling in additional help on a weekend feels wrong. So I suck it up, like I did last weekend, and usually it’s great, but now the baby is constantly in motion and it’s a lot harder than it used to be to occupy all three. If I had listened to Dave when he asked me (at least 17 times) if I was sure I didn’t want someone to help, I would have had a little assistance. A little assistance means I could have played Trivial Pursuit while someone else chased the baby around the kitchen. I could have read the Boats book to Ford 100 times in a row (his required minimum) while the sitter took the boys on a bike ride. I could have focused attention on them individually which would have circumnavigated at least two of Sawyer’s three meltdowns. I could have been a little calmer, I could have actually enjoyed our homemade popsicles, I could have TAKEN A SHOWER!
Believe me, I get it, when it comes to our families spending time is everything. Dedicated time without an iPhone in our hands or the TV on in the background and I guess I thought as long as I was there with them (even though I was stressed to the max and fighting the urge to scream) I was being “good mom”. But I’d rather be a calm mom, a happy mom, an engaged and focused mom than someone else’s definition of a “good”. So next time I won’t be afraid to ask for help or to admit when I can’t handle it all on my own. The definition of a “good” parent as far as I’m concerned, is someone who does what’s best for their kids… and sometimes, that means calling for reinforcements. ~Rachel