Whoa Mama

Sunday, October 26, 2014

a parenting 5k in the rain with a hill

Scott is in Iowa for three months. No he isn’t getting punished. There is a whopper project that he was asked to go help get back on schedule and budget. Humblebrag be damned. This was a cool thing for which he was specifically asked and I am really proud of him (for more on what $400 million of construction looks like, you’ll have to follow him on Instagram). He’s home every other weekend and that leaves me as a solo parent for chunks of time.

This is most difficult because he is the favorite parent. Ask the boys, they’ll happily and shamelessly tell you. When I go away, it is good times all the time: video games and takeout, ice cream and staying up late. I was the stay-at-home parent, so there is no Cat’s Away Syndrome for me. Plus, I’m trying not to overemphasize his absence with things like “while Dad’s not here, (fill in the burden placed on them)”. I am still using my normal MO, which is no party. Again, ask them. They'll tell you. I inflict regular jobs around the house, enforce Draconian screen time limits, and patch the holes in their leaky memories for permission slips, book orders and behavior (as in, "I JUST said to stop touching your brother"). I grasp for some order to the chaos while not buckling to be their maid. In the words of the only parenting blogger I read, “aren’t we all just trying not to do the best we can to turn out good humans without f*cking these kids up”. I just typically have an offensive coordinator with whom I team to get the overall goals met while specializing on different elements. I can turn to Scott and say, “will you just please rotate the laundry and deal with the kitchen after dinner?” and that happens. Needless to say, there have been lots of boys matching socks for school directly out of the dryer.

So far I've found that any break in the routine, i.e. a wedding immediately after a soccer game, is when things get weird. Look closely and you'll see a Hogwarts tie on that one in the front. What you don't see or smell is the evidence of two boys having played soccer hard in the mud then changed clothes and tied real ties in the car. Or that that soccer mom was in a lovely dress at the field and the flip flops that I wore there, I forgot to take off before church.

It's much easier to just run wild. We did get for a long hike at Letchworth to get the lead out over the long weekend.

There is no need to get dramatic about this. It’s an adventure and I’ve got help. My mom and SIL have brought with meals, my parents have helped with rides and I’m remembering how to receive support that is offered. My neighbor mowed my lawn and I didn't die of embarrassment. I accepted the offer for the choir mother to drive them home on Thursday night. I did not, to the letter of the law, need that. But I got to store to get boys’ winter boots before the snow flies and pick up donations for choir reception and school fundraisers. Little things that I needed to do but were so much easier when not sandwiched between drop off and pick up.

Scott is home every other week. At 12, Sam gets the timeline and is largely ok with it. The twins at 10 are differently squishy. They've been good with each other, provided Sam remembers he’s not the fill-in parent. The twins both like a little extra love, which is super easy to give, unless it is after 8pm, because honestly there is a point every night when the premium on quiet and solitude is huge. Then I have to check myself and remember that they are 10, need an extra long hug (duh!) and that the care and feeding of their emotional well-being involves simply getting them through only a few weeks of his absence. They actually, just this minute, piled on the couch with me right now for this event:

So I'm not running some life marathon (this is more like a 5K in the rain with a hill) and by no means is mine the roughest road but man it is exhausting!!