Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Carolyn Hax

Your average kiddie day today spent with S1's youngest, Olivia, who is nine. We got back to Granny A's late afternoon and I popped out for an hour soon after to be tweezered, plucked and tinted - well, just eyelashes and eyebrows. It is amazing how much information beauticians can squeeze out of you when you are lying there not able to open your eyes or run away. She was very nice though and I must admit the outcome is a vast improvement on my hardly even visible eyelashes and eyebrows that look well, exactly like you would expect under the circumstances!

Granny A had been down town and to the public library - brought back a book for me called 'Going Home without Going Crazy - How to get along with your parents & family (even when they push your buttons)' !! A bit of light reading for my trip to Auckland. I wonder if it will be passed on to Grandad to read next or if it is a younger generation needs to fit in with older generation - or whoevers house they are staying out generation? Have had a quick flick and there doesn't seem to be anything on going home with small children which in my opinion is a huge part of the grumpy tart equation.

Speaking of grumpy tarts... I rang Grandad this evening and apologized (how grown up) for spazzing out on Sunday and likewise, he apologised for me hearing a part of a conversation that was meant for Granny A's ears only. Think we have smoothed the rough edges. Nothing like four days with two toddlers and two babies for all of us to show our true colors though!! S2 is coming down on Saturday with her two and we will be back from Auckland on Sunday so.... let the grumpy bitch tarting (or grumpy tart bitching) begin :)

Anyway, a friend emailed this to me today and it made me laugh. How true...

Why Don't Friends With Kids Have Time?

Tell Me About It by Carolyn Hax : Friend really doesn't get the kid thing
Tell Me About It by Carolyn Hax
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 06.05.2007

● Carolyn:
My best friend has a child. Her: Exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .
OK. I've done Internet searches; I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please, no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners. . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them every day. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day, and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail?
I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events), and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy — not a bad thing at all — but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth?
Is this a contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids, and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.
— Tacoma, Wash.

● Tacoma:
Relax and enjoy. You're funny.
Or you're lying about having friends with kids.
Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.
Internet searches?
I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand — while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom friends are either lying or competing with you — is disingenuous indeed.
So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries and questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family members and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting the constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything — language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity, empathy. Everything.
It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy — and then when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, you wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend — a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends or marvel at how much more productively she uses her time.
Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself.

~reprinted without permission

Off to Auckland tomorrow. Shou is so excited about riding the airplane I'm surprised he got to sleep at all!



Rachel said...

Keep your snit to yourself.

I like that.

And the word 'constant' and the loooooong list of what we have to teach them everyday.

And that it's a joy. Erica's being cute today, only one tanty, and that was my fault for going ballistic when she unplugged the computer. Again.

illahee said...

very funny. i love it!

anchan said...

Spot on! I've been wondering myself why it is so hard for me to keep up with all the friends I left behind - easy for them 'cause they've only got one missing person to keep in touch with, but for me life is so busy with 3 kids, and I have a very full address book. I feel terribly guilty about not being able to reply to all their e-mails. Maybe I should make them read this post!

Slime said...

And you have to multiply that list by the number of children you have!!! 3 kids makes will make that list 3 times as long, because we all know that getting all of your kids to do or need or want anything all at the same time is impossible, especially when they're young!

Midori said...

And this is why I was relieved to come back to work from my holiday because at work I actually get some time to my self and a break from the constant demands. I have a very busy job and I still have way more energy after a long commute and a day at work than I did after the average day "on holiday" with my son. I feel like a terrible mother because I appreciate that being away from my son gives me more time to myself and selfish for wanting that. BUT I am so relieved that my life choice has lead me this way. I have every respect for everyone who stays at home with their kids because it really is the hardest job in the world. It is also the most rewarding though and the smiles and giggles make every moment of exhaustion worthwhile.