Next I’ll buy a summer house in the Hamptons

I did something the other day I’ve been avoiding because I thought it was wasteful and self-indulgent. Something that seemed lazy and irresponsible.  Like if I was an animal, I’d be a diva sloth, or a cat who… is a cat. Dare I say it? I hired a babysitter to come to my house for two hours, while I was home. I didn’t want to do it, a) because we really don’t have the means to hire a fancy au pair to follow me around whilst I tell the decorator what linens to discard for the new season and b) I should be able to handle everything myself. Right? That’s what Pinterest and TV and our guilt-ridden minds tell us; the parent at home should be able to care for the home and the kids, and be fabulous at it. What else do we have to do with ourselves, right? That’s my end of the deal in this arrangement we have- one partner spends time out of the house working, the other stays here and works. It’s not rocket science, Joe. But, dude. It gets hard. Certainly not welding beams on a skyscraper hard, or Friday crossword in pen hard, but anything you do twenty-four hours a day seven days a week can, you know, wear on you.

And it’s been wearing on me. And we had a playdate that afternoon with a good friend and our living room looked like a flop house. And our usual helper (read: Grandma) needed a little break, too. And I am TIRED. A three year old in constant monologue mode and a three month old who only sort of sleeps through the night? It, you know, wears on you.

So I hired a babysitter. She played with the big kid while I cleaned and nursed and got dressed. And it was the most fabulous thing I have done in ages. My house looked nice. I nursed without guilt for shooing away the big kid. I got dressed without having to stop every thirty seconds to find a superhero figure or pop in a pacifier or pull the toothbrush out of the toilet. I had a productive morning, and I didn’t stress once. And it didn’t wear on me.

So this is to all my home-staying caretakers out there: every once in a while, hire the help. Do not feel guilty. Do not feel weird or self-indulgent or wasteful or useless. I felt better than I ever imagined I could, just from having two hours where I wasn’t in charge of everything at once. Hire the help, do two hours worth of what you’ve been wanting to do the last three months, and tell yourself you are fabulous for it. Trust me, it’s worth it. And so are you.

p.s. She’s coming back next week. It’s gonna rock.

I’m my own audience

I try really hard to make sure my kids are given the opportunity to be creative and entertain themselves. I provide them with educational toys and, yes, tv. We play together and I find those teachable moments to help them learn and grow as thoughtful human beings. But sometimes, I’m just here to entertain my own damn self. This week I kept track of a few things I said purely for my own amusement:

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Me: If you could do anything you want to do today, what would it be?

Kid: I… want… to… hit myself on the chin with this marker.

Me: Good. That’s good. You gotta have goals. Dream big I say. Hey! Look at that! You did it! Check that off your bucket list, my friend.

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[While watching Blues Clues and Joe is taking a ridiculous amount of time finding the clue right in front of his damn face]

Me: Seriously Joe, you gotta pull it together. This is not rocket science. And while we’re at it, quit wondering who the letters are from. They’re from your friend. They’re ALWAYS from your friend.

Kid: It’s not rocket science?

Me: Exactly. You tell ’em.

Kid: It’s not rocket science, Joe.

*****

Kid: Mom, I need a little guy to fit in this tractor.

Me: Hmmm, I don’t think we have one that small. Here- make one out of paper and we’ll cut him out and put him in there.

[Art project ensues]

Kid: I can’t get him to stay in there.

Me: Here, let me try. Get in there little man. “No! No! Let me be free! I must dance!” You must drive this tractor little man. “But I must dance!” Say cool it, Footloose.

Kid: Cool it, Footloose.

Me: Yeah, cool it Footloose, these fields aren’t gonna till themselves. Ah, Kid, this little man doesn’t want to fit in there, does he?

Kid: No, mom, he wants to dance.

Me: Then let’s dance, man!

[Dance party ensues]

*****

I’m glad he gets me.

Shots!

Let’s play Never Have I Ever: Parent Version. For the uninitiated, Never Have I Ever is a drinking game where you make a statement like “never have I ever gotten drunk and arrested, possibly naked” and anyone who HAS done that thing has to drink. (I mean, who HASN’T?) The whole point is to say things that will call out all the dirty birdies in your midst or, conversely, show off what a dirty birdie you are so you can then drunkenly mock all the virgins. But I feel like playing with parents would be a whole new game. So let’s try it, shall we?

Never have I ever gone creeping like a ninja along the baseboards of my house to avoid creaky floors while the kids slept.

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Never have I ever belted 80’s hairband songs while driving dangerously fast in my mom-car.

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Never have I ever plopped the kids in front of the tv because I just wanted to check Facebook for a while. And Pinterest. And that funny site. And restart the cartoon because maybe someone else liked my Facebook post?

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Never have I ever taken advantage of my child’s poor concept of time. (It’s totally been an hour- time to play by yourself. Nope, not an hour yet, stay in your room.)

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Never have I ever eaten an entire box of Nutty Bars while making dinner an hour late.

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Never have I ever sworn elaborately in front of my kid and then when he repeated it told him not to say those things… in public.

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Never have I ever made the one conversation per day I get with my significant other be entirely about children’s poop.

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Never have I ever licked food off my kid’s face to clean it.

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Licked food off my kid’s face because I skipped lunch and it looked delicious.

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Never have I ever worn my clothes to bed. And then the entire next day because they don’t look any worse than my clean clothes that have been sitting in the laundry basket all week.

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Taken a baby wipe “bath” and put on clean clothes.

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Never have I ever picked someone else’s nose.

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And felt inappropriately accomplished when I dig out all the gold.

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Never have I ever… we should stop. I might be drunk. But feel free to add yours in the comments! (hiccup)