Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Week of Non-Parenting

Movie Lights!

Sounds delicious, right?  I'm not sure when my MIL asked, "Erika, I'd love to keep Cooper for a week in the summer.  Would you be ok with that?"  But I do remember my reaction, "Hell yes!"  Ok.  Maybe it wasn't exactly "Hell yes" but it was in the same vain.  I didn't even take a second to ponder the fact that my then only baby would be over 2 hours away from me for a week.  Not a second to ponder how a two year-old would react.  Not a second to worry.  Within a second I became very selfish.  And I don't regret it for a second.

People are funny.  When the conversation starts, "My MIL is taking the boys for a week" I get the same response from most women.  First comes a "Wow"  & that's followed up with "Won't you miss them?"  Again, I don't need a second to formulate my response.  Sometimes afterwards I feel like I should say something to appease them.  Make them think I'm a loving & good mom.  Ease their worry for my kids when I walk out that door.  But I don't.  I don't need a second.  I always respond with a shocking, "No."  I know how that sounds.  Good Mama's don't say "No" that quickly & that passionately.  But it's true.  I don't miss them until the second that car pulls into our driveway.  When I see their little faces light up.  When I see them run to the door.  All that Missing that mothers think I should be feeling all week, slams into my heart within a second.  And all that Missing hurts hard when you take it like a shot.  Imagine the shot scene in Pulp Fiction.  But not painful enough to keep them home.

{Trust me.  I know that 5 year-old shouldn't be lighting smoke bombs with sparklers on a beer can.  I know}

But it still sounds horrible to hear.  And I know some mother's can't do it.  My SIL says she'd miss her girls too much.  I get it.  I do.  But I'm not that Mom.  Remember I'm selfish.  First, I miss the days when it was just Mark & I.  Children are more wonderful than I could ever imagine.  Seriously.  But to be extremely honest, it's nice to be alone with your husband.  No, we aren't running around the house naked all day & night!  But to just be with each other.  To linger in libraries.  To try new restaurants & not worry if the kids will eat what's on the menu.  To not worry about who's got the morning daycare trip & who's getting them in the evening.  We were a lot fun before kids & I like to relive that part of our lives.  See?  Selfish.

{He set this up all on his own.}

But I'm also selfish because I think they need that trip.  Even if I'd miss them so much that I'd turn into a puddle of goo, I'd ship them off.  They need to be away from my watchful eye.  Let a different watchful eye be concerned.  They use this time to experience they're grandparents.  To learn from them & about them.  They know that when they visit they'll eat Grandpa's favorite cereal all week.  They know that he'll let them help in the garden.  Sometimes Grandma takes them to her job & they'll get to mess around the art museum.  They know that they'll watch movies & eat candy at least 20 times a day.  They need the space to grow & absorb all that this world has offer.  And I'm not the only one capable of showing & shaping that vision.  There are a lot of people that love them & they should get the chance to show them the world they love.  Only they can present their version of the world.  One that isn't influenced with my thoughts & opinions.  My maternal grandmother showed us how to grow & make stuff.  My paternal grandmother showed us how art could be created anywhere.  I learned that this world was bigger than my home & community.   I know my kids don't understand this message yet.  And maybe they never will.  But selfishly I'll continue to shove in their faces summer after summer.  Not just because I like to see movies with my husband.  But because this world is big enough to let schedules, food choices, tv watching, game playing, bedtimes & my own Missing slip away for one week.  Sometimes I think it's good to be selfish.  And I'm taking a week of it.


p.s. Jill, don't call me tonight.  We'll be watching a movie at Studio.  How nutty is it that the only movie they're playing is "Toy Story 3"?  That's not really fair, but I'll take it.


  1. Fine . . . I wasn't anyway since I am having dinner with friends. The Girls started their "vacation club" when they were four, and the first one was the only one that was hard. When they started doing a week with Mom and Dad on top of that, it was priceless. Two whole weeks away . . . they enjoyed it and so did we. It made the whole "college" transition thing easier. Enjoy the movie . . . pack some tissues (I know how you are; if I cried, you will).

  2. Thank you so so much for this post today Erika.
    I am getting ready to head out in a couple of weeks for an art class with my mom for an entire 5 days. I haven't ever been away from my boy that long. I am equal parts excited and totally freaked that I will miss him a ton or he will miss me and be a mess for his dad for the entire time. I am also really worried about Daddy-O single parenting for the week. But it is good I think- for all of us. And I am hoping to recharge my 'me' batteries (espeically since Deuce will be here in +/-8 weeks!)
    I don't think it is selfish at all the way you feel- it is so good that you want to spend that alone time with your man and beauitful what you said about the kids spending time with your in-laws. So very improtant!

  3. I love you. And I love the way you write. You've expressed it perfectly. My big boys have been gone for 7 days now and I seriously don't miss them. They call every night. They are over the moon with all the fun they're having, all the candy they're eating and all the undivided attention they're getting. I know that in 2 days they'll be back. We'll all feel the better for it, and we can pick up right where we left off. Everyone benefits. And yes, as soon as I see their little faces walk through my front door, I will melt! Until then, I'm doin' just fine.

  4. yeah right, i know you guys are running around the house naked. ;)

  5. Here Here! I think it's good for the marriage and good for the mom. Plus, what's better than grandma time? They need to bond with her too, on her own turf, without mom there. Savor it.

  6. i am so ready for a grandparent to take mine for a week. i'd settle for two days.