Sunday, January 25, 2009

The anti-parenting world we live in


I've been lucky that my job is very flexible toward the fact that I am a mother first and foremost in this life right now.

That does not mean that I haven't had to make some very tough decisions, mainly regarding how to leave a meeting late and still get to the girls somewhat on time. (You see, I start to stress that they are sitting in the dark center alone, getting scared and worried that I'm not coming for them. Yes, I have issues.)

Truthfully, I do worry about running late. I worry about how to get to the car out of the garage and not get stuck in the rush hour traffic, then hurry to pick them up and rush home to also make dinner as they starve and cling and cry at my legs. In fact, that last hour before dinner is often my most frantic and stressful. Even when I'm not late and mostly prepared.

Some days are worse than others and leave me wondering about who sets the agenda:

  • 7:30 a.m. meetings.
  • Working sessions at 3:30 p.m. that last two hours, and include dinner.
  • Non-child friendly venues like ballrooms instead of ball parks.
  • Evening invitations. Period.
  • An inauguration that outlawed strollers.
  • Bathrooms without diaper changing areas.
  • Restaurants without kids menus.
  • Diapers and milk buried at the BACK of the stores.
  • New Year's Eve celebrations that don't include families with children.
  • Happy Hours.
The other day at the dinner meeting in the middle of the afternoon, an old acquaintance who saw I was not eating asked me if I cook dinner every night.

"Um, yes," I wanted to say. "Isn't that what all mothers do or should do or try to do?"

"Yes, I try," I said to her.

She shook her head in disbelief.

Perhaps the bar, even for myself, is to high, I thought as I was stuck in traffic afterward, stressing about how I'm already late to get them and don't have anything really easy planned for dinner.

I experienced a slight epiphany as the setting sun burned into my eyes.

I need to relax.

So, I'm declaring this week as Mama's Week Off From Cooking. The dinners are so easy they can practically make themselves. The agenda is to have fun and be healthy -- without eating out, without spending a fortune and without a bunch of fuss.

And, of course, still be Mama -- because I can't be anything else right now.



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7 comments:

Karen Maezen Miller said...

I'm glad you worked yourself to the end of that. Here in my house I can fry myself to a crisp over dinner. And I don't believe that you are *wondering* who sets the agenda. Sigh. We all know who does, and it's not the mom. All the more reason to give yourself a break.

LauraC said...

It took a long time for me to learn to relax when Jon travels. It was like you, one day it was a lightbulb that I was making myself crazy trying to do it all.

Can't wait to hear how this week goes.

Shannon said...

It's nice to see a mom willing to give herself a break! (try not to feel guity about it...lol) I have really been into trying to cook healthy lately, but it is VERY time-consuming, the planning, the shopping...and then the cooking.
One of my favorite tools has become the crock pot. I don't know if you feel comfortable leaving it on during the day when you're not home...I still don't. But it really is great to just throw in some chicken and veggies or any kind of soup and it's ready when you get home.
Happy low-maintenance in the kitchen week!!! :-)

kisatrtle said...

Are you going to share the menu?

Threeundertwo said...

Even in the sanest household where the mom doesn't work, that hour before dinner can be a train wreck for everybody. Personally, I'm still exhausted at that point in the day and I don't have small children any more.

Good job giving yourself a break, and try some kiddie appetizers to help hold off the hungry mobs. Mine calm down with some carrot sticks (sometimes).

Shawn said...

Kisatrtle -- I am going to post this menu next Monday. I wanted to make sure it works out, first. LOL

Shelli said...

You are doing an awesome job. That's evident. And I agree with Threeundertwo - that time of day can be harried in any household. I really hate cooking, but I like to eat healthy. That combo doesn't go together so well.