A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook Saturday morning. I’m sure its old but it really spoke to me. I’m still young and most of my friends don’t have children. They understand theoretically what I go through but not really. I don’t go out much anymore as being a parent forces you into being a homebody.
Traveling is always more interesting because you ALWAYS have to pay for that extra bag on a flight or are carrying loads on top of the stroller because you have to over pack that extra one for the kids and by the time you get to your destination they are lit from having to stay still all day and you’re beat from attempting to keep them still. Being that I travel to DC from NY quite a bit this happens a good once a month and its to the point where I bought a car seat to keep while in town because I constantly had to borrow.
When I do get to go out for a night on the town its an event. Even that requires negotiating a babysitter, making sure that Cydney is good and of course the sadness of her crying as I head out the door. I pride myself on being on time when I meet up with friends but it does take 45 minutes to do what I would do in 15 minutes with the extra steps of preparing sippy cups, the diaper bag, a snack for whatever trip, bringing an extra set of clothes, stopping my child from being in play mode to getting into her coat and hat in the winter, and of course changing my outfit at least once because whatever is on Cydney’s hands gets on my clean shirt when she just has to give the obligatory hug from out of nowhere and wants to be picked up. I went out the other night to the movies with someone and literally as I was on my way out the door Cydney’s goodbye hug resulted in spaghetti sauce all over my white and gray cardigan sweater which meant picking out and ironing a new shirt AND missing my train when the next one comes thirty minutes later. She means well.
Dates usually start at around 9PM because I have to make sure Cydney is taken care of, the babysitter may or may not be late, and many other things. That has happened in which I had to apologize to one young lady over and over again for being 45 minutes late. She understood and that is why at the beginning I gave a window of “I’ll be there between 8-9.” And that’s when I do get to actually go out. I’ve had to cancel things because of sicknesses and stuff as well and having to miss birthday celebrations because at the last minute babysitters back out and so do all backup plans.
On a normal day, by the time Cydney is asleep (which consists of fighting sleep, crying LOUDLY in my ear, tears, and snot being rubbed all over me), I just want to be by myself. Silence is golden when you’re all day trying to keep your child out of things, trying to interpret their half gibberish half real words, constant saying “No,” and holding back from saying “Aw SHIT” from the little things that drive you crazy that they do. That hour of me time which results in you crashing before you get to really enjoy it means the world. I love my daughter more than anything on this planet but I look forward to that hour at night every morning. It’s tiring.
Then, there is the added bonus of being a single parent. Normally there is give and take when you’re married or you have your partner there to take on some of the load. They give you the night off sometimes to hang out for your own sanity or take over at night time but what happens when its just you? You have to do it all. If a single parent tells you that they wouldn’t like to enjoy being single and just hang out every once in a while they are LYING or have been traumatized into not wanting to “live that life” anymore. Like I said, I’m young so I’m still all here for being single again and have embraced it even with all of its extra things that come along. It’s that extra stuff that makes it much interesting and many of them just don’t get it.
The other part of that is sometimes someone comes along and would like to just hang around you and the little one. That’s a nice thing and you should actually feel privileged if that you’re allowed the play “date.” However, do not expect much alone time because that child (especially mine) will want to impress you and hang the whole time. Your sitting and watching a movie time consists of getting up repeatedly to keep them out of things, taking most of your popcorn (and dumping it), and many other things as well. It comes along with the territory.
Once again, none of this is complaining at all. Its explaining for those who are not yet parents some of the details that come along with what seems like one makes it look easy. Don’t worry, that person is very interested in you and would LOVE to make you a priority, but they just have other things to take care of first. We’d like to do more and appreciate the patience and sacrifice that comes along with dealing with us (In my case I let you know up front, Valentine’s Day must be done at another time because that is Cydney’s birthday). They, and we who are the parents do mean well and will catch up with you the next time… It will just be on the child’s terms.