I used to be a pretty good partyer. I have checks in all the right boxes for the required partying stories. Good times had, stupid stunts attempted etc etc. Since I’ve been married though, the partying has been severely curtailed. That’s what happens when you have kids. What with late night feedings and early morning diaper changes it’s hard to squeeze in a heavy bout of drinking and acting stupid. After four years of trying to juggle partying with parenting I’ve officially decided to retire. I should have gone out at the top of my game. My retirement will be a little more like a Jordan than a Gretzky. Or to put it another way, I’ve gone on a lot of Farewell Tours, each on a little bit more disappointing than the last. Recently I found myself asking, “why am I here trying so hard to look like I’m having a good time when really I’d rather be sleeping?” I realised that, while at first I was trying to keep up the partying because I missed it, I really don’t anymore. For awhile I think I kept it up because I felt like I ought to miss it, but lately I think it’s more to do with what other people want than what I do. This happens in one of two ways.
One: I still want to seem cool. Guess what? I’m lame. I am really truly a Mom. I like doing Mom things. On a perfect day I want to visit a zoo, sit on the beach, or go for a hike, get the kids to sleep by 8, sit and chat over a drink and be in bed by ten. Childless people tend to think that parents want a vacation from parenthood. Personally I only really want a vacation from housekeeping. It’s not doing things with the kids that I dislike about my job. It’s being stuck at home in the same old routine with them. Watching the boys enjoy something new and exciting is more fun by far than anything I ever did before I had them. Watching JD and Fierce Bad shriek with delight while bowling, or “shimin’ ” in the ocean beats a night at the bar hollow every time. Sure, I like to get away and have a break from taking care of the kids. Tell you what though, when I DO find myself with some time to myself I want to sit down and relax with A beer, not wear myself out staying up til 3 with a case of them. To act like I’m still in college takes too much work and the whole fun thing about college was the absence of that. First I need to find a babysitter, and organize everything for them. Then I have to watch the toddler bauling his eyes out as I drive away. Then I have to studiously pretend I am NOT wondering how everything is going back home every second I’m away. Meanwhile I must carefully consume alcohol in such a way that I a) do not fall asleep immediately b) do not end up puking due to my lightweight status from being out of the game so long c) can still nurse a baby in the near future d) can get up at the crack of dawn to deal with my early riser child. Finally I fall into bed and can’t sleep for another hour as I fret over how soon I have to get up the next day to start the non-stop job of parenting again only with LESS energy than I had before I took this “blissful night off.”
Two: I still want to hang out with my pre-kid friends and THEY don’t want to be lame. Mike’s always telling me we shouldn’t expect people to want to do kid friendly things when they don’t have kids. Fair enough. I’ve decided that that works both ways. People shouldn’t expect me to do kid unfriendly things. This may mean I’ll see less of a few folks I really like. Then again when I DO see them I’ll probably be in a much better mood because I won’t be trying to juggle two completely unrelated lives.
In an older post I wrote about women worrying too much about what other moms were doing. Well I think I’m also worrying about what non-moms think. They want to see me be a great mom and then set that aside when it’s convenient and be a freewheeling party girl again. “See?! You CAN have the best of both worlds!” Well maybe some people can. But when I try I just get tired. I’d rather have the best of this one world, and the regular run of the mill quiet bits too than exhausting highlight reels from two. You know those PSAs on TV about how teenagers don’t need to smoke and do drugs to be cool? Come on kids, you’re cool just for being you!” And given the quality of those PSAs you know all the kids, even the good ones, are sitting at home thinking: LAME. Well you could make one for parents. “It’s ok parents. Go out visit another family and spend the night nursing a cheap margheritta and playing euchre while the kids watch Cars. You’re still cool!” LAME. So my PSA is this. “Parents. You’re LAME! Get over it! If it makes you happy then who cares. BE boring. Enjoy!”