Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mom's Day Out

[For the winner of the weekend hedgehog paraphernalia giveaway, scroll down to the competition post and all will be revealed...]

Once you have a child, you can't imagine what life would be like without them!

That's the kind of line one often hears from parents. And it infuriates me.

Taken literally, yes of course once you’ve had a kid you could never conceive of life going on without them. I mean, really. Duh. Unless you're completely whacked out in some way, the notion of not having your child around is too awful to even contemplate and is something a parent tries never to think about at all.

But when the line is used—as it often is—to explain a "now that I've had kids my life is only just beginning" mindset or a "now that I have children, roses smell sweeter and my life has meaning" mindset, then I feel quite peppery indeed.

When parents say these kinds of things they seem like aliens to me, or culties who have joined some strange new society of pin-headed people, or converts who have suddenly found religion and now everything that existed prior to this event is totally forgotten by dint of the amazing new life they are living. In short, this line makes it sound like everything that came before is simply not worth remembering.

And since I can COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY remember what my life was like prior to having Crabtot and much of it is ABSOLUTELY worth remembering, I'd like to tell the non-breeders (all three of you who come here) that we parents aren't all so completely far gone in Parentland as to not have a clue what we're missing. We don't all suck 100% of the time (just 90% of the time, when we're talking to our kids in goofy voices, telling you things about school districts, and asking you to hold on when you call so we can lecture a small person beside us on why they shouldn't lick their feet).

This weekend for an entire day, as a Mother's Day present that I requested, I had a nostalgic whiff of what it felt like to be myself prior to having a child. I asked Crabhubby for a day to myself: a day in which I did not feel like a mother. Now lest I be struck down by horrified new readers who stumbled upon me in search of freebies and are now being treated —or mistreated—to some appalling and freakily unhealthy-sounding thoughts, here's a message for you. First of all, HI! And welcome! And don't be scared. I'm one of you. I'm a reg'lar loving mother. I do crafts even. Like this tampon wiener. And I adore my spawn to distraction etcetera...read the disclaimer to your right, scrolling down. (I mean, really, when will the obvious just go without saying?) BUT notwithstanding the all-consuming nature of the motherly role, I have not forgotten myself in the quest to take care of someone else. And for better or worse I'm here to talk about it and wallow in my many tiny miseries, expanding and exaggerating them with the grandeur of someone who has never had to till frozen soil for turnips, run through forests for weeks to escape marauding bands of evildoers, or otherwise live through real hard times.

And so I make extraordinarily hard times out of normal slightly tricky experiences, like raising a child. If you don't like this sort of thing, please feel free to visit one of the many blogs out there that traffic in more traditional motherly thoughts and will post pictures of Casey's second-ever Ben & Jerry's double cone, complete with a full 5-paragraph analysis and chronology of the momentous day itself.

So, back to Mother's Day. I walked and walked for hours down the streets of my new home, Crabcity. I shopped in vintage stores without fearing a small person related to me might break some ancient toothpick holder in the shape of a clog. I drank coffee sitting down, for as long as I liked. It was utterly divine. And throughout, I remembered every dang bit of doing this before I had my first and only child. It's been 3.5 years since I had this kind of freedom. And I felt a bit like an East Berliner after they pulled the wall down and people were like, "Hey, Berliner, run off and buy an iPod!" In short, I felt a sense of wonder and amazement. I stopped and smelled the roses. Or rather the mothballs surrounding rose-patterned vintage tea towels. And it was heavenly.

This is the moment in the story where I'm meant to say that the best part of my day was coming home to see my lovely child and husband. But I won't. Because that's not true. Lovely as it was to come home to those sweet faces and the delightful dinner already on the table, the best part of my day was the day itself.

So, just to be clear to the crackpots who like to send angry comments my way from time to time, the point is that no, Dumb-Dumb, I wouldn't rewind my life and be single and lonely and wishing I would meet someone to love and reproduce with and all. I'm not that high on my own company 24-7. To me it's obvious that once one becomes a mother, nothing comes close to that experience in terms of love and human experience. But, being obvious, the joy is extremely dull to write about and utterly irrelevant to any stranger who is my reader.

All of which is a long-winded way of bringing me back to the question of life before spawning: I'm not going to lie to you and tell you all that I can’t remember what life was like when I was without child or that I don't have an inkling what life would be like for those who decide not to have kids. I do remember life sans-enfant and I would like it back. For one day, at least.

Or two. Or seven. Or...

What do you think? Do you ask for time away from your kids? How was your MD? What went down at your crib?

19 comments:

Charlotte said...

Oh I fondly remember BC (before children) and all the good things that came with it. Like you, I am good at ensuring I have my "me" time, and I have to say I do come back gladly to my family, but always having enjoyed myself thoroughly being away.

Some of my "away" time this year will be a girls' weekend in Amsterdam with friends from Dubai and London, and a writing retreat (preferably at a fabulous spa) where I will be, get this, All Alone. I can't wait.

Kari said...

I looove my time alone!! That's all I ever want for Mother's day. I've even on occasion gotten Father's day all to my self(my husband would rather spend the day with the kids).

Carolyn said...

I spent the entire day patting my girls on the head and saying, "I love you. Now go away and leave mommy alone." Blow kiss. Door slam.

Katye said...

I am so glad I stumbled across this blog... When pregnant, I heard all the classics: "your life will never be the same" etc. etc. I was also told to join a "mommy group". Not only would I rather gnaw off my leg, but if one more stranger had touched my belly, I was going to start gnawing off their legs. My 8 month old IS my world, but that doesn't stop me from saying "You touched her last!" and running away when a friend or family member holds her.

Jennifer said...

You were my inspiration this Mother's Day. When asked what I wanted to do (because he couldn't be bothered with making plans), I told hubby I wanted 3 things: a clean house, not to cook, and alone time. Boy, he delivered! I got to sleep in (to 7:45), had a gourmet breakfast, and promptly left the house. It was glorious! I too went (window) shopping, got a mani/pedi and did whatever the "H" I wanted to! I returned to smiling faces and take-out chinese! I must say I felt refreshed! It also pointed out to me how much I need a day like that about once a month!

Glad you hear you got your time too! Much deserved!

Gillian said...

Wow! A fellow reader brought me to your site, and I am SO glad.. this latest post is me to a T.. I LOVE my "me time" and need it as therapy.

Thank you for putting the REAL spin on Mommyhood.. I will be a faithful reader!

crabmommy said...

Gillian and Katye, welcome! jennifer-- I am SO glad you had yourself all to yourself this MD. Also doesn't hurt if one is a SAHM and hubby is a fulltime worker for him to see what your day is really like. Nothing like a full-on one-to-one with Crabtot to send my man scurrying back to work as though he's checking into a spa.

Jege (Jen) said...

BRAVO!!!

Natalie'sMom said...

Crabmommy, I love you! You always say the things I feel in a much more clever and humorous way. I think we moms do need our alone time, and it's a shame that we feel so guilty about it. Why do we have to justify it? My husband takes what he needs, no questions asked. I need to do the same, more often.

That said, I was so looking forward to Mother's Day, as my husband had promised me a morning to myself. He was going to get our 2 and 1/2 year old up and take her to breakfast and the park with his mom (bonus: no need to see my mother-in-law! Hahaha.) Anyway, tragedy of tragedies, Saturday night my husband spiked a high fever and came down with a horrible cold and cough. Sunday morning there was just "no way" he could possibly take our daughter anywhere. (This despite the fact that I take care of her all day long all by myself whenever I am sick!) Anyway, call me pathetic, but I was incredibly disappointed all day. Yes, I love my daughter, but a morning to myself -- it's like crack to an addict, as you would say, crabmommy! He says he'll make it up to me, but yeah, we'll see!

tracy said...

Dude, I have what could be considered erotic daydreams about what life was like before I had a nine month old. I remember sleeping, read, and writing whenever the hell I wanted very, very clearly. If I don't have time alone, I go insane and that's a fact. I'm going to North Carolina for a long weekend just the father and and I and I'm counting down the mother fucking days...and sometimes, sometimes I call my mother in law and go "want a daughter for the night" and they have slumber parties and I push any guilt out the window. If I have me time, I'm a better mom.

Janine said...

You, my dear, are a mother after my very own heart. Time alone, sans kidlets, was all I really wanted for MD. Bathroom time and bed time doesn't really count. Oh, wait, those aren't alone time either. Sigh.

Alexis said...

My sister made brunch (organic eggs benedict and mimosas--yum!) for my mom and I and then took care of the babe so my husband and I could "go to a movie" (wink, wink). I even got to take a nap and watch a DVD. Perfect mother's day.

Mommy Cracked said...

Your day sounds like it was glorious indeed. I'll never understand why we must forget our "B.C." times, either.

Anonymous said...

It's so ironic that on mother's day we all want a day off from the role. The same way nobody goes into the office on labor day.

Father's day, on the other hand, is about grilling and spending time with the kids.

skape7 said...

LOL, I had already decided by the end of Mother's Day and before reading this post that next year I was going to ask for a day off! And "grilling and spending time with the kids"? My partner's already decided he's going fishing.

crabmommy said...

skape,
my fidhing husband will do the same on FD. But i owe him one.

crabmommy said...

ok, really, Crabmommy. A modicum of proofing would serve you in the comments section. Skape: I meant FISHING. He will be fishing. Not fidhing.

Connie said...

I went away for 5 days by my self two weeks ago. I called it rehab because my stupid FIL said I didn't deserve a vacation since I don't have a job.

It was wonderful to be away and take time for myself and I wish that I could do it more often. Things did not go well on the home front and I doubt that I will be able to do it again for a long time but I will cherish the memories!

By the way, Mother's Day here sucked.

Anna said...

I asked for only 2 things for MD 1)get rid of the bucket of bolts parked in the drive for longer than I care to admit and 2)a day where I didn't need to take care of the kids. If I had it to do over again? I would change #2 to having hubby take the kids out of the house for the day so I could have it all to myself! Because even though I didn't have to take care of the kids they were still there so I was still thinking about them. It's good to have a break. It makes you a better person.