When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”. I whole-heartedly believe this is true. As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen. Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.
But not just working parents need the village. Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too. They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state. Bottom line, all parents need a village.
What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child. The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up. In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride. They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of. My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there. They made sure he was accounted for.
Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing. My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents. We celebrate as a village too. Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children. The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.
Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.
What do you want to thank your village for?
My husband left for a business trip this morning. He was gone before the sun came up. My daughter had me up from 2:30 to 4:30 am and I was trying to catch a few extra winks when my husband called to say good morning and make sure I got up okay. He was worried that he had not re-set the alarm clock, although unbeknownst to him, I had set my own alarm. So I drug myself out of bed and started the morning routine. When I walked into the kitchen, he had laid out my son’s lunch bag, put out everything for his lunch that didn’t need to be kept cold (down to the knife to make his sandwich) and arranged his homework. This was such a sweet gesture, but I wasn’t shocked…
My husband is better at… well everything sometimes. He gets up (usually before me), gets our son dressed, packs his lunch and starts breakfast. He does the laundry, the grocery shopping and the cooking. He volunteers in my son’s class twice per month and helps coach his sports. He has tea parties with our 3-year old daughter and knows my son’s weekly spelling words better than me every week. Oh yeah, and he’s the bread-winner.
There are days when I definitely feel like the lesser half. This is not because of anything my husband says or does, but just because I have a nasty habit of keeping score when I am losing. (Ironically, I don’t keep score when I am ahead). I often jokingly say, “What do I bring to the marriage?” But those are thought for another day.
Today, I want to celebrate and appreciate having a better half. I have shared in a previous post that he is my best friend. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is my partner in all of this chaos. He keeps me as balanced as I can be (which is still off-balance). My kids are lucky to have a dad that is not solely devoted to his career. Our family and our life works because my husband is great. People often ask how we juggle two careers, two kids and still appear it to have it together most of the time. The answer is often simple: I have a better half!
- I don’t belive in manicures. (Although I have vastly different views on pedicures)
- If there is food involved I can be ready in under three minutes to walk out the door. (But you may not want to sit across from me)
- If you’re cooking, I will eat it, no questions asked.
- I drink beer, not just wine and cocktails. The Silver Bullet suits me just fine.
- I love hand-me-downs for my kids.
- My Nieman Marcus is Marshalls.
- Filet mignon and pizza are pretty much on the same level for me.
- Days, okay I won’t lie – weeks, go by without me doing my make-up or hair.
- If I don’t leave the house, I don’t dress up, or get dressed…
- I will camp. In a tent. In the rain. And have fun.
I attended my daughter’s preschool back to school night this evening. This means, getting to know a new group of parents, some of which have their oldest in preschool. New parents always worry me because they may not have given up their ideals and sanity yet. They say admirable things like, “How do we know what our kids learned in school today so I can ask my child about it?” I respect this, but the easy way out is “what did you do, what did you learn and what was your favorite part”? They are still trying to do everything right (bless their hearts). I have to say, all of the moms I met seem very nice and down to earth, but time will tell who is as off-balanced as me. I have decided to show them the “real me” as early as possible in hopes of bringing them to the dark-side of reality parenting. Or maybe they are already there…
Last summer, there was an evening when I had too much to liquid fun and I was acting like a child. I was throwing food at my friends (trying to start a food fight, not out of malice) and generally acting silly. My husband was getting irritated with me (how could this be?!) . I turned to my group of friends and proclaimed, “This is the real me!”. I will never live that quote down, but I have also embraced it in many ways. Here’s more about the “real” me. Yes, it’s another list of confessions.
- I loathe the idea of owning a dog. My kids want one very badly and I am dead set against it. When I hear dog, I think hair, fleas, chewed up furniture, doggie breath and more responsibility. It is a threat to my precarious life balance. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs – when they belong to other people! I am also not a huge fan of overnight dog guests, but have made exceptions for my dearest friends. (Devon – I am high-fiving you right now).
- I let my kids eat food they have dropped on the ground (there’s no dog to clean it up). Correction, I tell my kids they have to eat what they drop, because I am not giving them more. Now, this is only in my house, when the floors are reasonably clean, and maybe outside if it’s not too public of an area…
- I love the idea of playdates that involve cocktails. I NEVER drink when I am responsible for someone elses children AT ALL and I never have more than one if my husband is out-of-town. This is not a joke and if you drink while watching my kids, you will learn about mama bear. But, if you bring your little one over in the afternoon and you’re staying and want to have a beer with me, that is my kind of playdate!
- I am perfectly comfortable letting my children’s teachers be responsible for their learning. I will do all the homework and read to them, but frankly, I am exhausted at night and do not feel compelled to do extra credit as a mom. I am glad there are professionals to ensure my kids are brilliant.
- I recycle, but I drive a diesel SUV, do not compost, never made my own baby food, use disposable diapers and pull-ups and loved having drugs to ease the pain of labor.
- I bake the bread for church, but mostly to make up for how often I miss Mass (meaning mostly absent) and to see a friend who I never get to see unless it is baking time.
- I don’t like cold water so I spend more time watching my kids swim than swimming with them.
- I cannot do math. Period.
What’s the real you? You can tell me, I promise to use a fake name when I blog about it!