Okay, I'll be the first one to admit it - - I am 100% not the "cool mom".
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have always had to work full-time, and be completely on top of a schedule. This wasn't really a problem, until Emry started first grade.
Because that's when the serious homework started. Now, if you don't have children, you can laugh at me. What kind of serious homework could first graders have? Well - put it this way - it was at least an hour of homework a night - then towards the middle of the year, they started to do two tests a week - with no notice, and with no paperwork coming home to study, only these brief study guides 2 days before the test. It has gotten worse with second grade, and on some nights we are doing almost 2 hours of homework and review a night. They expect way too much of our children at a young age. However, I digress, that is not the point of this post - - - I'll save that rant for a later date.
Okay - so when this happened, our schedule went from being manageable - - - to kind of tight. Add in the 2-3 nights a week we are in karate (even before Klay and I started), and it became heavy. Any free moment I had during the week was spent cleaning, or cooking, or food shopping. On the weekends, free time was filled with, "Oh shit, I have to run this errand that I forgot to squeeze in on Thursday" - And at the end of those days - - - I was too exhausted to even look at my child without feeling like I was going to keel over.
That sounds awful doesn't it? Let me write it again:
I WAS TOO EXHAUSTED TO EVEN LOOK AT MY CHILD
WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I WAS GOING TO KEEL OVER
I feel like an awful mother because of that statement. I do everything, so that my son has a life worthy of him. I work hard, Klay works hard. But - - Isn't my son also worthy of a life that not only has the provider mom, but the mom that also can be fun? I haven't really added much about Klay in here. Klay works just as hard as I do - helps out around the house in a way that is very uncharacteristic of a man - and takes Emry hiking whenever physically possible (which Emry loves). There is this free time for them - usually when I am struggling to get the last two or three things done. And - - - This weekend, it finally occurred to me - I'm pretty sure I haven't sat down and played a game or did something not school related with my son - - since the summer.
There is something seriously wrong with that. This occurred to me, after a long Sunday filled with errands - and with my son continually reminding me that I promised that we would go to Toys'R'Us together (just the two of us) - so he could use one of his gift cards he received from Christmas. I snapped at him, "I know, you don't need to keep reminding me!" I yelled, it was wrong of me - and I knew it was when he replied:
"I just don't want you to forget
because you're too busy
doing the important stuff"
I, instantly froze, in terror - - in sadness. It was like being hit in the head with a big metal baseball bat named "MORON!" - My son feels like spending time together isn't "important stuff". I looked at what I was doing, and in that split second it went from being an essential element to finish - to - what the heck am I doing this for? I can't even express how awful I felt inside.
I slipped my boots on, and my coat. Emry watched me.
I grabbed his boots, his coat and then I handed them to him. "Please put these on."
He looked so confused - "Why Mama?"
"Because going out together and having fun is 'important stuff'"
He still looked confused, probably because the quick change in my emotional state, but complied.
We got in my car, and I took the 10 minute drive to T'R'U. I proceeded to spend the next hour walking through the store with him, as he decided exactly what he was going to buy with his $25 gift card. It's one of the really amazing things about my son - he isn't a spontaneous shopper. He walks through the entire store, and finds what will give him the most bang for his buck. And sometimes, it means coming back at a later date after he has a little more money (or I do) to buy the cool thing. Also: this is the reason why we have over 800 tickets to redeem at Chuck E. Cheese. Because, nothing cool in the gift section is available until OVER 1,000 tickets. And that is totally his decision.
He chose a video game, but it was a pretty decent racing game - that had different challenges instead of just races. I thought it was a good pick. It was between that game and the Trouble board game... It was a very long thinking period - I assure you. And I'm pretty sure it will probably be the next thing we get - - the next time we step foot in a store that sells it.
We came home, and he just wanted to play it. So, I let him get the grip of it - I quickly took a shower, and I went downstairs - - - Covered both of our laps with a blanket, and played for an hour. And we laughed. And we actually were having a nice time. And, I didn't keel over from doing it.
SO - That is why I have been brainstorming different ideas - that I can do - on a weekly basis, that will show Emry that, sometimes, I can be the fun mom... maybe not the cool mom - but certainly that I am capable of having fun with him.
I also am trying to make a list of ideas that don't cost a red cent. Because, I do not always want him to see having fun with me, as a spending money time. There has to be things in the house we can do.
- We have Board Games - we SHOULD break those out more often.
- I could take interest in his Lionel Train stuff - - - no matter how it bores me.
- We could build with his legos - even though the little pieces make me want to die.
- Puzzles - He loves puzzles - and we have at least 5 we haven't done.
- Video Games - because, why the heck not.
- Baking - we normally have most of the ingredients to make cookies in the house.
- Cooking - he really wants me to teach him how to cook.
- Nerf - maybe when it gets warmer we can do it outside?
I find it hard to connect with him, because, I'm not a boy - I like to sit and read - - - I could color for hours if he would - - but he hates to color. I almost wish he was into GI Joe dolls, or even something with characters... I could really get into that too.
Maybe this is why my dad and I didn't really connect when I was little. My dad was an awesome dad, don't get me wrong - - - but he was the worker bee (it's where I get it from), and on the weekends he was always the one struggling to get chores and errands done. Sound familiar? And when there was down time (very rarely) - - what could he really talk to me about? I remember when I was five or six - he would read to me every night before I went to bed... this lasted maybe a month. But, it was totally my favorite thing, so much so, I can still remember the books he read me to this day. We really didn't connect until my early twenties. I don't want that for Emry and I.
I want to start making real connections NOW.
So, what are your thoughts?
Do you have any ideas?
Life - is always about finding the balance.
And sometimes when you find the balance in one aspect of your life, you are throwing off something different. I hope the next time I throw something off track though - that I see it earlier, so that I can start fixing it sooner.
Happy Thursday Friends!