Last week, I had a little chat with a friend that left me feeling simultaneously ashamed and motivated.
The gist of it went something like this:
Don’t spend your life sitting at home just because you have kids! Get out there! You can do this! It will be fun!
I’ll be honest with you–I spend a good majority of my time dreading leaving my house because 1) I have no clothes that fit me and 2) I have three children in car seats. One of whom is a breastfed baby who refuses to take a bottle of any kind. Men.
And while part of me is just resigned to this portion of my life–after all, it goes so fast–the other part of me does wish I was more of an adventurous mom, the kind you see on other blogs, who take their kids to the library and out to eat and on exciting field trips of any kind. When the reality is, for me, getting Ada to and from preschool two days a week, two miles down the road feels like torture.
But last Saturday, with Ben gone to the workshop and the morning stretching out before us, I felt motivated to take some action. My kids quickly vetoed my inspired idea to hit up the children’s museum and instead clamored for me to take them to Burger King so they could play in the playplace. Ew. Ew.Ew.
Because my motivation only goes so far and because one of their friends just so happened to be at Burger King that morning, I gave in. Away we went.
The other mom and I settled into a booth, reeking of the traditional stinky-feet of children’s play places and I admired the coffee she had so generously purchased for me, wishing I had a free hand to drink it.
Ada took off to play–but then wandered back every 5 minutes. I’m thirsty. I have to go potty. Can we eat yet? I’m bored.
Three seconds after we had arrived, Ben called me on my cell phone, home early, slightly miffed and wondering why I had left. (Unprecedented stuff, obviously.) I told him to meet me up there in an hour so we could all eat together. Inspired! I could do this! I am a fun and hip mom, out and about, even if it’s in something disease-ridden as Burger King. (Again, ew.)
Mya stuck to my side like my stubborn love handles, alternatively whining and asking me to go down the slide with her. The entire hour. She.did.not.move.
Approximately four seconds after we arrived, Jake somehow tore through three unsuspecting sugar packets the other mom had set out for her coffee, spilling sugar everywhere as he gleefully spread it around the table with chubby little man hands. So I tracked down a highchair and plopped in him in it after a thorough wet-wipe disinfection.
As if, Mom. Like he would really sit in a highchair. Puh-lease. Sidenote: I would really like to know how other mothers appear to be able to keep their kids in highchairs, strollers, baby-holding contraptions of any kind. Because mine have always insisted in remaining firmly in my arms. No exceptions.
Back in my arms he went, where he promptly snagged one of the girl’s water glasses, spilling the entire cup of ice cubes and water all over himself and Mya, who was, of course, glued to my side.
I hauled Mya into the booth next to me and stripped her down as inconspicuously as I could, while one mother stared at me, horrified, no doubt, but by this point, I could have cared less. I changed her outfit, then inspected Jake, hoping he had been spared the necessity of an outfit change.
Changed him completely, right down to new socks and settled in to my seat, casting a longing gaze at my coffee once again as Jacob started crying, pawing at my chest, wanting to nurse.
And then Ada appeared out of nowhere. “Mama, I’m hungry. When are we going to eat?”
Which of course, set off her sister. “I wanna eat too, Mama!”
When I explained that we were waiting for Daddy to eat, an entire 5 minutes away, all hell broke loose.
Mya, my sweet, quiet, two-year-old Mya who is normally pretty go-with-the-flow, dissolved into a full-in screaming, writhing, close-to-vomiting tantrum.
I stared at her aghast for a moment, disbelieving that this was actually happening, that this was my life, totally immobilized as the play place quieted and all eyes bore into the scene unfolding. The mother who had changed her kid’s pants in the booth, now displaying an uncontrollable bratty child.
This is what I get for trying to get out of my house and do something “fun” with the kids?
Is exactly why I don’t leave my house.
It just doesn’t feel worth it.
I tried calming her down, but she was too far gone into that no-man’s land of tantrums and tiredness, and apparently, ravenous hunger. The other mom looked embarrassed for me, but quietly took Jacob from me so I could haul my screaming child out of the fine dining establishment that I vowed I would never set foot it again.
And then wouldn’t you know it, folks, after all that, when I had to call Ben so he could buckle her into her car seat because I couldn’t physically hold her down, and we got home and fed the little monsters and plopped down, exhausted on the living room floor?
The little stinker broke out in a fever.
She had been sick all along. Add that to my mother of the year tally, would you?
Long story short, if you guys need me, I will be in my house for the next eighteen years.