Monday, June 14, 2010

What Kind of Celebrating Our Anniversay Taught Me

Our wedding anniversary is June 20th, which also happens to be father's day this year. In addition to that, my son's birthday is the 28th (which includes a family and friend party) and my husband heads off for his annual golf weekend on the 23rd. Throw in little league playoffs for three different teams and being seriously short on get-away funds and you can imagine that trying to steal some time to celebrate our big day is next to impossible.

My thought was that if we had 24 hours to ourselves without kids, it would kind of be a mini stay-cation anniversary celebration. The plan was to drop the kids off at my parents house Friday evening and not pick them up until Saturday evening. The first kink in our plans occurred when my son's baseball game was postponed due to rain and scheduled for Friday night at 5:30...Okay, so our date would have to start a little later than planned. And then, at the last minute it was moved again (great, I thought) to Saturday at noon (seriously?). Not to mention two All Star games at 3 and 3:45. Oh well, guess we will have to throw in a couple of little league games into the anniversary celebration.

I have to admit, half of the fun of the evening was getting ready. It reminded me of when I was single and getting ready to go out with the girls. I took one of those fabulous showers where I shaved, deep-conditioned and exfoliated. I took my time, no kids to rush out for. Then, I moisturized, blow-dried and even put on mascara - all the while listening to some great tunes on my iPod. I was amazed that my husband didn't interrupt my little pre-date ritual and by the time we were off, I was relaxed and in a great mood.

Our evening was great, we got to sleep in on Saturday and even though we were pulled in a million directions on our "day off," we managed to fit in about an hour at a local pub to watch the World Cup USA vs. England game (Saturday afternoon at a bar - haven't done that is over ten years).Our night ended with all four boys back at home and our usual chaos returned.

While it wasn't the the whirlwind celebration it could have been, it was just what we needed. What I learned from our time alone was that we needed  more of it. We talk about date night a lot, but it seems we don't make enough time for our marriage as we should. While its great to remember to celebrate the big dates like our anniversary, I realized that we need to celebrate our marriage and each other all the time. I also learned that there is no right way to do it. Honestly, one of my favorite moments of the entire weekend was sitting with my honey at the bar on a Saturday afternoon sharing some nachos and watching soccer. So maybe we will have to get a sitter a little earlier in the day next time. Happy Anniversary honey!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I love my kids but I don't really like them part 2

Okay, so I kind of knew that staying at home would be an adjustment for me. The whole no work thing is pretty great, I must admit. That adjustment took me about 2 days. No boss to tell me what to do, no feeling guilty because I wasn't around for my family and kids. I can take time to clean my house, garden, go on field trips and I don't even have to fake an illness to do all these things. In fact, I like it so much I am nervous that when I finally do have to go back to work I may go into a deep depression (guess I will have to win the lottery between now and then).

The whole being home with the kids thing is much harder to get used to. When you are a working mother, you are jealous of all the stay at home moms (at least I was). I would head out on my lunch break and see moms who didn't have to return to the office in a hour, who were free to run their errands when they wanted to. I would see moms with their toddlers taking them to lunch, and it made me miss my kids. So when I was recently laid off, with summer just around the corner, I figured this was a great time to take some time off. I would take time to look for the perfect job this time and enjoy my kids in the mean time. Hah! Was I wrong!

I will admit that I have had moments in the last month or so that I know are precious. I love taking my toddler to story time or the park and just being able to play with him. I don't have to rush him through our adventure to get somewhere else. It has made me slow down and enjoy the world the way he does. I love that I can have my ten year old come home after school and if he begs me enough, I might play street hockey or hoops with him in the driveway. Its nice to be able to go on his field trip with him even though he threw it at me last minute, no vacation days to worry about. But along with the wonders comes the pain in the ass.

I know there are a lot of stay at home moms that do so because they don't want strangers to raise their kids. I feel exactly the opposite. Strangers are doing a great job raising my kids. They are singing songs with them, teaching them their alphabet and even letting them paint. I think they are even feeding them much healthier food than I do. I, by contrast, am happy when a show comes on TV that holds their attention for any length of time. It's not that I don't love my kids or want to spend time with them, but I am just not a fun mom when it comes to the day to day. I can plan a great outing, but at home I am a dud. And strangers definitely do a better job at disciplining my kids and dealing with the melt downs. They have a bit of an objective take on the situation and I know they don't break down and yell back (even though I know I should just walk away).

Someone I know has often said that kids are assholes. If they were adults and acted the way the do, we would never want to be friends with them. And this is definitely true. But lucky for them, all their friends act exactly the way the do, not so lucky for us.

So here I sit, two weeks from summer vacation, worried out of my mind how the hell I am going to make it through ten weeks when I can't even survive one harmless afternoon without wanting to kill my kids (not really, but you get the idea). I know it's still better than going into an office every day, but I definitely wouldn't say it isn't work.

To all you parents out there, just trying to get through the day. I feel your pain...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I love my kids, but I don't really like them right now

What I want to know is when did it become okay for our kids to behave the way they do. Seriously, if I said 10% of what my kids say to me, I would have been dead. I sit here writing this filled with anger. Who am I angry at? I'm not even sure. I am angry with my 2 year old who put me thru the ringer for the last hour trying to get him to go to sleep. It finally took me putting all of his toys in a basket and threatening to give them to the garbage man before he would lay down and take his nap. I am angry at my 10 year old who, when I told him to go to his room earlier today, laughed at me. Yup, you read it right, he laughed and of course did not go to his room. (And unfortunately for me, he is too heavy and strong for me to make him do it anymore) I am angry for whoever decided that I shouldn't spank my child because somehow that would damage him. Are you kidding? I was spanked, and I am pretty sure as you sit here reading this you were as well. When I grew up, kids were afraid of their parents. The only fear my kids have is that I might not let them play video games and even then they say to me, "I don't care." A little fear is good, healthy even. Fear provides incentive to behave. It tells you who is in charge and who makes the rules. It tells you that you have to follow the rules, or else.

And yes, I am angry at myself. I must admit that I am not always as strong handed as I should be.  When it's your first child, you don't always understand the consequences of being easy. Kids learn early that if you say something and don't follow through, then its probably not that important to follow the rules. And as a first time parent, and a single mother at the time, it was definitely easier to give in and so I did. It has taken me years to undo the damage I did and just as I was gaining ground, the tween years set in.

But I am pretty sure its much more than that. Kids are different that they were 30 years ago. Some of it might be our fault, but maybe its just the world we live in.  When we were growing up, there was one TV in our house and we were lucky if we had cable. And we definitely didn't have one in the car. We only got to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and there was no such thing as On Demand. It's like our kids are used to living in an On Demand world and they just think they are entitled to it.

For all you kids out there, please read. Your parents are not your slaves. Our job on earth is not to serve you. We do not work so you can have a new video game and we did not buy a new TV so you can watch your shows. We are your parents. We brought you into this world, and as my mother used to say - we can take you out. We will no longer put up with back talk, your eye rolling or your all around bad behavior. When we tell you to do something, you will say, "yes Mom (or Dad)" and you will actually do it. You will eat what we make for you and you won't make any comments under your breath about how yucky it is. You are lucky you even have food, there are kids in China starving. You will pick up after yourselves and do your chores, singing all the way. We deserve respect, we have earned respect and you will give it to us or else.

Now, if only I had a stiff drink...