Ok, so I'm about to whine and throw myself a pity party even though I have so many things to be grateful for, most especially my children. And, no, the fact that I’m whining doesn’t mean I don’t love my children or deserve my children. I love them more than anything in this world and I will send your child a Tickle Me Elmo (batteries included) if you mess with them. Capiche?
That being said, I do mourn my lost weekends. I mean, yes, there are actually a lot of reasons that weekends have gotten better since I had kids. But right now I’m tired and in the mood to whine, so I’m going to give you some of the reasons that weekends suck for parents:
1. There’s no “sleeping in.” Remember when you used to sleep until 11am, roll out of bed to meet your friends for brunch, and then go home and get back into bed to watch movies all afternoon? Or maybe you took an afternoon nap because you’d had a mimosa at brunch and then gone shopping and you were so exhausted? Well, bye bye to all that. For parents of young children, it doesn’t matter that it’s Saturday morning and you had a long week and need a little extra sleep in order to recover. Maybe you were even in a different time zone for a few days and you took a red eye home and a little part of you wants to die. If one kid is up at 5:30, you’re up too. And your other kids will be awakened shortly, because the early riser doesn’t understand how to whisper or tiptoe, and his favorite toys are a plastic hammer that squeaks and a drum set. PS whoever gave him those gifts is fired from gift giving.
2. The kids don’t have school, so you will have to play with them. Doesn’t sound hard, right? Everyone likes to play games, right? And we’ve been playing for almost three hours, what is there to complain about? Wait, what? It’s only been SEVEN MINUTES??? That’s impossible.
3. You have a lot of people to feed, not just yourself. I bet you’re used to ordering a salad for lunch. Well, kids don’t like salad, so you have to order from a diner. And guess what diners don’t have? Good salads. And with one fell swoop, your week of eating healthy just turned into a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and a chocolate milkshake, and now you’re fucked. Oh, and there’s no time to exercise the extra calories away because you have kids to entertain.
4. Maybe you like to go to Starbucks during the week for some sort of mocha chai half whipped soy nutmeg cinnamon shit. Well, you have to skip Starbucks on the weekend or else all of a sudden you’ll have a preteen monster on your hands demanding to be picked up from school with a frappé everyday. So there goes your afternoon pick me up.
5. Your big kids play travel sports now, which means that you’re going to spend most of your weekend in the car. And you probably have at least one vomiter in your brood. Oh, and your toddler isn’t really into watching other people play sports, so you have to figure out how to keep him off the field or the court. For the first time in your life, you understand those child leashes. Plus, for each game, you have to pack up your car like you’re heading out of town for a week. You’ll need each child’s equipment and uniforms, food and drinks for everyone, portable chairs, sunblock and hats, umbrellas in case it rains, something to entertain the kids who aren’t playing, a blanket to play on, etc. etc. Maybe instead of sports, our next kid will be really into debate.
6. You and your spouse will spend two days trying to get the other one to spend more time with the kids. There, I said it. Because it’s the truth. You will come up with any excuse to leave the house. “Hey, Hon? I’m making this soup for dinner that requires Asafetida and Kokum, and I have to go to this Indian spice market in Queens to get it. Yes, I know we live in Ohio. But I’m really committed to trying new foods and you can’t get Asafetida and Kokum at Target.”
7. Little known fact: new walkers aren’t really into sitting for long periods of time, and they like to climb. So, during meals, you and your spouse will have to take turns eating so that someone can be on “save the toddler from himself” duty at all times. It’s pure survival of the fittest to see who can outsmart the other to get to the food first. Meeting the deliveryman by the elevator and eating out of the bag with a plastic fork is not out of the question.
8. If you want to attempt to leave your children on Saturday night to go out with friends (or with your spouse), you will have to find a babysitter who is comfortable with infants and toddlers, and who likes to play with older kids instead of just letting them watch TV or play on the iPad. Oh and you’ll also have to do a background check to make sure she hasn’t abused or kidnapped any children. Plus, she has to be emotionally stable, and she can’t be the type who will cancel on you at the last minute when her friend has an extra ticket to see Why Don’t We (whoever they are). She also needs to be ok with following your list of instructions that’s as long as the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that classical music must be played while Tyler is awake. That Tyler must have dinner at 5:45pm, and that there must be both protein and vegetables on his plate. He doesn’t have to eat everything, but he has to try everything. If he stabs you with his fork, please encourage him to use his words. Try to name his feelings. For example, ‘I see that Tyler is feeling angry. I understand that you don’t want to try the Quinoa. No one does. But Mommy said you had to.’ After dinner, he can play for a few minutes before his bath. His favorite toys are his Judge’s gavel and his artist’s palette. For his bath, please add two tablespoons of Eucalyptus oil and one tablespoon of Lavender oil into water that is heated to exactly 100 degrees. After his bath, he needs to have a bottle of breast milk at 7pm, no earlier and no later. The milk must be room temperature or he won’t drink it. You will need to dab it on the inside of your wrists and behind your ears to check the temperature. Do not defrost extra breast milk from the freezer under any circumstances. We are saving that for the Apocalypse (coming soon). You must change him into a nighttime diaper no earlier than 7:45pm. He needs two books before bed, read to him in his bedroom under lights dimmed halfway. I suggest Goodnight Moon and Good Night New York City. Their content is suggestive. Please put him into his crib awake and let him play on his own until he falls asleep.”
So you see, once you have children, weekends are not quite the same as they used to be. And yet, every Friday, I actually wake up excited for the weekend. Go figure.