Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TIME-OUT


Gloria Steinem had the foresight to say, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.”

But, I say, “Marriage and a career – sheesh—that’s nothing, try adding kids into the equation.”

Pru, Piper, and Phoebe can’t even compete with most Moms because it takes more than magic to make a good Mom.

Sometimes I think I’m living the easy life, in this world of high technology where everything is right at my fingertips. But as I travel down this overcrowded information highway, using my Blackberry, mapquest, and gps, somehow I’m still lost.

No electronic gadget can make parenting EZ and even with so much help right in my hands, it's that four-letter word that keeps running through my head:

T. I. M. E.

Maybe it’s because becoming a “Mom” doesn't come with a handbook and there are no rules. What other job offers no training, has you on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and doesn’t even provide a bathroom break . . . ? There's no pat-on-the back here and this one job offers no financial incentive to compel a person into this chaotic career, no motivational paycheck, commission, or bonus at the end of the month.

Instead this career calls for extreme patience because there are a few unwritten realities of parenting, which I will willingly point out for any unsympathetic people out there:

1) Cranberry juice never spills on linoleum;
2) A child only falls down and rips his pants - when he’s dressed in his Sunday best;
3) Kids never spill anything on a dirty floor - somehow - they always wait until it’s just been mopped, swept or vacuumed;
4) Children are never thirsty and don’t have to go to the bathroom until after they’ve been tucked into bed;
5) Children only complain about their earache after the clock strikes 5:00 p.m., when the doctor’s office closes;
6) Children always remember to tell someone they need a disposable lunch for the fieldtrip, as the school bus approaches the house;
7) Children will make sure you get the picture order form - the morning pictures are scheduled to be taken which just happens to be two weeks past the time he needed a haircut; and last but not least,
8) On vacation, children never have to go to the bathroom unless the nearest rest stop is more than fifty miles away.

Yet educated people actually choose this occupation. And, when they finally are initiated into this sisterhood of the traveling or “elastic waist-band” pants, they happily celebrate the onslaught of morning sickness and nightly trips to the toilet with a party – called “a shower”, which they gladly share with a bunch of other women.

And, what could be worse, with all that extra weight to hide?

Adults go to great lengths to celebrate this event – correctly called “labor”.

Parenting is like playing in the stock market – it’s all about patience and long term investment.

With such a simple goal and no rules, it should be easy - right?

Wrong!

I’ve heard it said, “Parents just need to set limits.” What people don’t realize is that sometimes the limits need to be on the parents – not the kids.

One thing is for sure: Parents need to practice a little discipline, and give themselves a “time-out”. So take a hot bath, go for a walk, or just sit for ten minutes and do . . . nothing.

It's Time-Out Tuesday :)

11 comments:

Bish Denham said...

You are right. Parents do need time outs.

Martha Flynn said...

I'm not a parent, I just play one every other month when I get my niece (3) and nephew (5) for the weekend. It's exhausting but so much fun, and those moments...those quiet ones that happen a split second after a tickle fight or a random bout of giggles, when they sigh and palm your face in their tiny hands and say they love you - oh my god those moments make me so melty.

But the second their parents pick them up, I always collapse for a nap. So kudos to parents everywhere!

The Things We Carried said...

Kim,
This is one of my favorite posts you have written! I feel I got to know a little more about you. I could not agree more with your words. Oh my gosh, how true they are.

BTW My little one spilled grape juice on the white carpet upstairs last week, covered it with a hand towel and told me my husband had spilled and he was cleaning it. I was relived and left the towel there. I did not want to know what was under it. She then she told my husband I had spilled and I was cleaning it. Imagine the conversation when realized SHE was cleaning it! We did not know she could shift blame yet!! We laughed so hard when realized who the true spiller was. And that she had a plan to cover the whole thing! she is 3.5....

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Limits and balance and moderation are among my favorite words.

Kelly said...

Words so true!
Great list!!
I love, love, love being a parent. It's the best thing I've done. But I do have to remember to be "me" every once in a while too.

Suzanne Casamento said...

I'm exhausted just reading your post. May the force be with you.

Rena said...

Love this post. I was laughing at #2 because when we were camping this weekend, Neil feel as he was climbing a tree. His pants & boots snagged on a limb and saved him from crashing down on a pointy tree stump. His jeans saved him from getting a huge gash in his leg, but the sad thing is that they were his NEW jeans and they now have a big rip in the leg. Better than than stitches!

Parenting is hard -- real hard.

Kim Kasch said...

Martha: You have your cake and can eat it too ;)

Meredith: That is hilarious. You're going to have your hands full for years to come.

Susanne: I've been exhausted for years :) if only I could learn to channel the force.

Life As I Know It said...

yes! we mothers (and fathers) need time for ourselves. I just wrote about this as well when a friend of mine asked "what are you doing for yourself this summer?"
Even the little things we do for ourselves make a big difference!

(just stumbled here - like your blog!)

Mary Witzl said...

So true about the spilling! More than once, on laundry day, when I'd aired and washed all our futons and sheets and comforters, our kids would come down with gastroenteritis and manage to contaminate the whole works. And every terrible earache they ever had always occurred in the middle of the night. Wish I had a dollar for every time I've loaded a screaming kid into a taxi or sat waiting in an emergency room at midnight...

Amy Tate said...

Oh how I love this post, Miss Kim! How true!!!!