Thursday, July 6, 2017

What A Girl Wants

“Reese is upset with you,” Stoney tells me.

“Why?” I asked, a little surprised. I usually know when she’s mad at me because, in true girl fashion, she can’t disguise it. It’s written all over her face. Most times, I don’t care because she’s done something to deserve my anger. But this time, I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t banned YouTube for the day. I hadn’t taken Jack or Wes’ side over hers. I was clueless. What could I have possibly done?

“She told me that she really feels like you don’t love her as much as the boys,” explains Stoney.

Eye roll. You have GOT to be kidding me? I don’t love her? If I didn’t love her, I wouldn’t break my neck and bank account with select soccer and all the trimmings, birthday parties, play dates, trinkets, toys and the list goes on and on. I try to make it to every function at school, no matter how ridiculous the time for working moms.

I’m killing myself here. But I don’t love you?!!!

“Well,” Stoney interrupts my rant,  “maybe that’s not what she needs.”

But that’s what I needed. You see, I grew up with a mother constantly telling me she loved me. Yet, I felt like she never really showed it. Most know that mother battled a long addiction to painkillers until she passed away a few years ago. After it became a pronounced problem for her, she never made it to games, never hosted sleepovers, never went to parent conferences, reviewed spelling words, bought costumes for camp…none of that. So, my plan was and is to be as present as I can for my kiddos.

But Reese is making me reevaluate what present means, at least for her. Yea, I’ve read the mommy blogs that emphasize spending times with your kids, but who has time for that. We are busy doing and going. But I’m learning that busy kids don’t mean happy kids.

I’m realizing that Reese, as well as the boys, want more of my time outside of racing around from event to event. While I’m worried about their brains turning to mush from video games or muscle atrophy because they’ve spent five minutes without physical activity, they just want to chill.

If I ask the boys what they want to do, the simultaneous response would be, “I don’t know.” Reese, however, doesn’t really have a problem expressing herself. She tells me exactly what she wants to do… get a pedicure, go shopping, go get sushi (yes, she's bougie). She’s been telling me she wants more of me, but I guess I haven’t been listening. And when she gets "all in her feelings," I just write it off as her flair for the dramatic arts. 

Have I been wrong? Don't answer that, Stoney.

By the end of my mom’s life, our relationship was less than ideal. I hate to admit that we had many arguments rooted in the fact that I didn’t think she cared. I felt like her love for me should have trumped any love she felt for prescription drugs. I should have come first. 

I don’t want to repeat the same mistake with my daughter. Her love language doesn't necessarily mean being a part of every activity known to man. She just wants a little me time. Now, I can’t promise that we’re going to make cookies every Saturday afternoon, or rewatch Beauty and Beast ad nauseum every Sunday night. But I am going to make a conscious effort to spend more quality time and ensure a quality mother-daughter relationship.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Finding Time for the Adult-Only Vacation

A little adult time
I’ve been dreaming about it for years. Me, on an island, sitting on the beach, drinking something out of a pineapple, and enjoying the wind and waves. Stoney is close by summoning the waiter to refill said drink in pineapple. I don’t know who is more scantily clad, me or Stoney, but either way, sun’s out, guns out, baby!  It’s the adult-only, couple’s vacation, and it has eluded us for several years now. I travel for work, plan vacations for the kids, even had a girl trip or two, but Stoney and I haven’t been on a vacation alone together since…well, our honeymoon.

Houston. We have a problem.

Most know that Stoney is my ex-husband/boyfriend. When we first discussed reconciling, we talked about what we thought went wrong. He believed I didn’t pay enough attention to him. I believed that taking care of our three children was a way of giving him attention. Round and round we went, but we kept ending up in the same spot. We didn’t spend time with each other anymore. Just the two of us.

Our family trip to D.C.
Any couple will tell you that the dynamics of a marriage change drastically when children enter the picture. The focus shifts from marriage to parenting. And if anyone survives the first year of that first child without seeing dead people due to sleep deprivation, you should call that a win. But in the midst of all the organized chaos that is parenthood, there are still expectations to be a couple.

There’s only one problem. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Our three kids have us running in three different directions every day of the week. I can’t remember the last time I showered without interruption, much less had time to take an uninterrupted weekend off. By the time I finish writing down the instructions for the innocent victim who agreed to keep them, I would need to take a nap. Who is going to take them everywhere they need to go?  Who’s going to be at their beck and call whenever they need something? Who is going to take care of them like I take care them?

No one. And, I’m going to have to learn that it’s okay.

The kids will be fine while we’re gone, right? No, they probably won’t shower as much…wait, they don’t do that now. They might have to miss a practice or a game because of logistics. But truth be told, they could probably stand a little vacation of their own from their hectic schedules. A mom-and-dad-only trip may be just what the doctor ordered for everyone.

We haven’t decided where we’re going or when, but I think we’re getting closer to pulling the trigger. Maybe...

Any suggestions?