Monday, April 27, 2009

Feeling left out of the fun

Disclaimer: I already lamented the following details to Jim, and he was supportive and suggestive of ways to remedy the situation(s). I just wanted to say that in advance so that he doesn't come out looking like the proverbial "bad guy" in this post. I don't want anyone to think badly of my fantastic husband!

Friday afternoon, I was supposed to be heading to Kroger to pick up hamburgers and all the fixings for dinner. Instead, I ended up hanging out on the sidewalk with some neighbor mommies, watching our little ones pick dandelions. It was a postcard-like moment, and I can tell you that, in the moment, I thought "I'm so glad I don't have to miss this."

Then, one of the neighbor daddies came over to ask me if Jim played cornhole. (You guys know what cornhole is, right?) He does. Actually, we both do. Anyway, apparently, a whole bunch of the families in our subdivision get together on the weekends to have bonfires and play cornhole. How fun, right?

Right. Fun, if you can actually, you know, enjoy the fire and play cornhole. Which you can't, if you are "entertaining" (read: chasing after, trying to bribe, keeping occupied) your toddler. Which is what I was doing Friday night.

Seth was being great. Really. He wasn't getting into anything, just getting in the way of the game. I think he knew it was past his bedtime, and he was relishing being awake and being outside (his favorite thing EVER). But after about 15 minutes of my apologizing to the beanbag-tossers as Seth stood in the middle of the gaming area yelling "go! go!" and throwing his arms up in the air, touchdown style, I knew he needed to go home. And, well, despite my mediocre parenting (ahem, *cough, cough* Sara and Kendra, you'll get that), I'm just not comfortable sending Seth home alone to put himself to bed. So, we both (both being Seth and I, not Jim and I) needed to leave the party.

And I was bummed.

It was, truly, the first time in the 16 months since Seth joined our family that I felt limited by my role as a mother. Jim and I were so proud of ourselves for incorporating Seth into our life, versus letting his addition dictate it. But this practice was a LOT easier when he was an infant. A toddler...well, it's just harder, if not, in certain instances, impossible to do.

So, I went home with Seth, bathed him, rocked him, prayed over him, and placed him in bed.

And then I sat in the living room and contemplated how far of a range our baby monitor had. Because I was really jealous that Jim got to stay and play while I had to come home and be domestic.

And there you have it.

Really. That's it.

The second half of this post is NOT about the grand revelation I had that night about my calling as a mom, or the graciousness I started to feel towards the dads who, you know, worked hard all week and just wanted to unwind with a cold drink and some friendly competition. Nope. No revelation. No grace. Just a little pity party for the mommy who wanted to just be a girl at a bonfire, too. Of course, it didn't help, at the time, that I knew Jim was also going to be gone for 6 hours on Sunday playing golf, while I was, you know, being domestic.

But, guess what? Today, I'm over it. (At least until next weekend. ;) I'm kidding.)

But seriously, I'm over it. I woke up Saturday with some perspective. After all, I'm the one going to Florida for vacation while Jim gets to go to work. I'm the one who gets to stand out on the sidewalk in the middle of the day and get dandelion fuzz blown on me. I'm the one who gets to hear the first "please" after weeks of coaching. I'm the one who gets to hold one son on my chest while another kicks him from within my womb. (And although that one hurts me and confuses Seth, you have to admit, it's pretty darn cool!)

So I guess the mommy doesn't get the short end of the stick after all.

And truth be told, I'm not really all that great at cornhole anyways.


Anonymous said...

I felt this exact same way at our neighbor's backyard party the other night. It's such a huge adjustment not being able to stay as late as you want and just relax and have fun. My girl is just starting to toddle and man, it's hard to keep up. I wouldn't trade it but that doesn't mean it's easy. See, I told you I loved your blog because you're honest...and real!

Mrs. Frogster said...

haha I've had those moments many times myself. Just wait until you have two. . . :)or three...

Angela said...

I have a large family, and so I have lots of help with my toddler (you're right; the infant is easy), but I still feel left out sometimes. It stinks. Vacations aren't the same, and you can't just hang out and run and do things spur of the moment with the younger (and single) cousins/siblings. :(

Sarah said...

Okay... I felt the exact same way this weekend at the softball tourney. Didn't see any games and didn't see my husband except in passing. It's funny, I was wishing she was a little older so I wouldn't have to hold her and keep her out of the sun!

Michele said...

Very nice are a great writer. I know exactly how you feel, and you described it wonderfully. Yes, we have to "miss" out on some things, but everything else trumps that. And, I promise, as your kids get older (and they grow way too fast) it gets easier. So, you don't want to miss any of that. On another note, my recommendation would be to host a bonfire/cornhole competition at your house soon. That way, you can still put Seth to bed, then go back outside so not to miss anything else. We have fires in our backyard all summer, and it's great to be able to put the kids to bed then go right back to it so I can enjoy my adult life, too. Good luck!

Lissa said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, and can relate to a lot of it, because I have toddler boys, 22months apart. We can't really "enjoy" ourselves at any house that doesn't have excessive babyproofing because one of us has to be chasing them around and keeping them from being their curious little selves and ruining our hosts' things (so that maybe they'll actually invite us over again Ha Ha). Anyway, just thought I'd let you know you're not alone in feeling this way. I've been a Mommy for 3 1/2 years, and I'm just now getting past "mourning" the carefree life we used to have (and feeling that way is not a bad thing, and fully embracing the life we have now. Parenting really is the hardest job on earth, no question. Not that we don't love being parents with all our hearts. It's just that if Mommies would be honest with one another, it takes a HUGE adjustment to go from just you and your husband to all this responsibility in an instant, and it takes years to get used to. I've just found what works best for me is to have tiny pity parties for myself when I need to, try to remember that someday when the boys are gone, I'll miss these days terribly, enjoy them to pieces, toss in tons of laughter, and invite people over to OUR house. Ha Ha! Nice to meet you!

Aunt Barb said...

Oh My Gosh..times never change. It was the same way back some 30 years ago with Kendra. Uncle Fred had "all the fun". I guess that's the way things still are. But you are right, there are some things they will never get to experience so WE are the lucky ones!!

Kendra said...

So, you rocked him them????

Ok, ok, that was snarky.

I can totally see what you are saying. We may not have little ones yet, but David is a full time grad student who works part time at colleges, and that means he gets Spring break, Christmas break, and most of a summer. I work 40 hours a week. So when the December 26th comes around and I am getting up to go back to work while my hubby is sleeping in -and still has another week of it- bitterness creeps in, big time. BUT, like you said, it's all about perspective. I never, ever have any homework, projects, reports, or thesis to work on evenings and weekends. And honestly, I wouldn't trade him.