Adult Only Swim

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, ever so often, I’m jealous of people without kids. Okay, before you get up in arms about me being a horrible mother, just think really hard and I’m sure you will come up with at least once a day when you wonder about how different a situation would be if you didn’t have kids.
Now, I’m not talking about when I’m rushing out the door, hurriedly washing game uniforms with Dawn dish liquid and drying them with my hair dryer or up till midnight icing cupcakes for a school party nobody told me about until 10 pm. And I don’t mean when eating fast food in the car between the billion activities we have to rush to or fighting with an eight year old about why we cannot stop at WaWa for her lunch and how she needs to make a GD peanut butter and freaking jelly sandwich before we are late. I’m not talking about bleary eyed me pasting sequins on poster board for a project or cleaning up after an unruly sleepover that has left my cat trembling in a corner. Hell, that’s the stuff that defines me, keeps me on my toes.
No, I’m talking about those precious moments of peace, relaxation. You know, those brief moments in your day when all your laundry and cleaning is done and you have about fifteen minutes before someone is going to ask you “what’s for dinner”? Those moments that kids absolutely ruin every time without fail.
You put on your bathing suit and take your book and a nice glass of sangria to the deck, sighing with contentment. You just might finally get to the end of the book you’ve been reading for a month and a half and find out who the killer is.
And then you realize…the kids are in the pool. Which in itself is not a problem. It’s the fact that they are drawn to you like moths to a flame when they see you in relaxation mode.
“Hi, Mommy!” The little one calls out cheerily. You wave half heartedly. Now, where were you in this book? The bookmark has mysteriously disappeared….
“Come in the pool, Mommy!” You look up. They are both leaning over the side of the pool, peering at you with their big round eyes.
“Uh, no thanks,” you dismiss them with a wave. You take a sip of the sangria. Damn, that’s good.

“You never go in with us!” They complain.This is true. You always go in after they go to bed. Adult only swim. The reason being…well, you’ll see…

“Puleeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzeeeeeeee?” The begging begins.
You shake your head. “No, I just want to sit here-”
“Pretty please with sugar on top?”
You sigh. They are not going to give in.
“Ok. But in a little bit…”
“When is a little bit?”
“When I finish this book,” you announce triumphantly.
You have not outsmarted them, however.
“No! That’ll take too long!”
Sighing again, you reply, “Fine. This chapter then.”
They swim away and you flip open the book and start to read. Wow, you can’t believe you ever put this book down! It’s so intriguing! It’s drawing you in, word by word….Until you feel like you are being stared at. And your arm is getting moist.
“What?” You ask in an annoyed tone. The children are now dripping on the deck right next to your chair.
“You promised you’d come in when you finished that chapter,” the little one whines.
“Yeah, you promised,” the bigger one chimes in.
You start to wonder why the hell they need you in the pool when they have each other to annoy.
“Fine,” you retort, marking your place in your book. “But I don’t want to be splashed.” You stare at the little one meaningfully. “Understand?”
She gazes at you with those doe eyes and bobs her wet head up and down.
Grumbling, you climb down the ladder. “It’s too cold,” you complain.
“You’ll get used to it,” they assure you.
Feeling like an ice cube, you take about twenty minutes to get into the pool and immediately lay face down on the raft. Tilting your head to the side, you remind the little one, “I don’t want to be splashed.”
She is ignoring you as she hops in circles around the raft.
“Mommy, watch me! Look at me! See I can touch the-” gurgle, gurgle, gurgle…splash. “The bottom! I can’t touch the bottom with my hand! Look!”
“Uh, huh. Very nice,” you murmur into the plastic raft. It’s nice floating here with the warm sun on your back and the-
Suddenly, you feel splashes on your back. Cold, wet splashes that you SPECIFICALLY requested to NOT have.
“Stop splashing me!” You growl. The kids giggle.
“Just don’t let it happen again,” you admonish.
You go back to resting peacefully, enjoying the late afternoon sun; your thoughts drifting off, obvious to the fact you forgot to apply sunblock…
You don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden, you are floundering in water, trying to right yourself and spit out the water you swallowed.
“What the HELL!?!?” (You actually don’t say hell, but this is a PG blog)
You stare at your assailants, who are attempting to look innocent.
“Sorry, Mommy,” they chime in together.
“I don’t like you two very much,” you manage to sputter as you shake a finger at them. They just laugh.
Grumbling, you drag your soaked body out of the pool and snatch up the nearest towel. Which is wet. You sigh with annoyance and grab your book, despite the children’s protests to come back in the pool.
Teeth chattering, you storm into the house, greeted by your dry and relaxed husband lounging on the couch with the iPad. He glances up from his game.
“How was your swim?” He asks with complete seriousness.
Gritting your teeth, you respond, “Just peachy.” You start up the steps to strip out of the wet bathing suit you didn’t even want in the first place. Maybe you can just stay up in your nice dry room and finish this book. There’s only ten pages left…
“Hey, honey?” You hear hubby call. “What’s for dinner?”

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Pleased with how smoothly her day was going, Julie sailed off the elevator and into a paramedic who was standing in front of the elevator. Her Blackberry went flying, along with the folder of paperwork she had been carrying.

The man immediately bent down to retrieve the papers, while Julie scurried after her phone. She turned to thank him as he held out the file and almost dropped her phone, completely startled.

“We’ve got to stop bumping into each other like this,” Alex Peyton remarked, grinning.

Julie snatched the papers from his outstretched hand. “Yes,” she stammered, “we should, um, definitely do that.” She paused and nervously ran her fingers through her hair. She was standing so close to him that she could smell his aftershave. The smell was as tantalizing as his blue eyes, which were twinkling at her discomfort.

“Good, good,” Alex replied, “I’d hate for you to get hurt and end up on Ortho with a broken leg and I would have to take care of you.” He winked as he adjusted his sunglasses on top of his perfectly groomed head.

The thought of Alex “taking care” of her made Julie’s legs give way under her. She put one hand on a nearby garbage can to steady herself.

So You Had a Bad Day; You’re NOT a Bad Mom

It’s been one of those days. You know the ones…you wake up with a feeling of impending doom and have the sneaking suspicion that you should just stay in bed. But of course, your responsible side implores you to get your butt up and get moving because after all, they’d never make it through the day if you didn’t.
The day starts off with one disaster after another. The milk has gone bad and there are no eggs, English muffins or bagels either. You have a run in your stockings and you forgot to shave one leg. The dog has chewed a shoe or maybe he’s actually chewed the buttons of your child’s dress that she was planning to wear for picture day (yes, that has actually happened). You cap the morning off by spilling your coffee all over yourself when you discover the newspaper thrower person has actually managed to dent your car with the paper full of coupons that you never get a chance to cut out anyway. I mean, really, who has time for that?
You get to work and attempt to slog through your day. Maybe your boss is in a pissy mood and gave you a poor review. Or your coworker won’t stop bitching about her in laws not matter how many times you tell her it’s NOT unreasonable that they still send their son a birthday card. The computer is in “glitch mode” and your phone won’t stop ringing. You have a migraine by noon and you just want to put your head down and go back to sleep. But you can’t because your husband “forgot” he was playing golf and now you have to rush to pick up the kids.
So needless to say, this is the kind of day your kids should rally around you and do everything in their power to make your day better, right? Wrong! This is the day your kid or kids are going to dump even more misery on your plate and make you doubt yourself because you are vulnerable as it is. Kick her while she’s down so to speak.
This is the day you are going to question every parenting decision you’ve ever made and wonder, really wonder, if maybe you’re not cut out for this gig after all. This is the day your daughter is going to fling her glove down on the softball field and stomp off because she’s bored and you are GOING TO TAKE HER HOME NOW! She’s going to kick and scream and cry and call you the worst mom on Earth because YOU are making her finish the game. This is the day your son is going to screw up his GPA because he can’t seem to get his head out of his ass and off his iPod long enough to remember to not only DO his homework assignments, but bring them to school as well. He’s going to kick and cry and scream and call you the worst mom on Earth when you take that iPod away. Or your daughter is going to have a melt down because she can’t have dessert when she didn’t finish dinner. Or your son is going to flip out when you tell him he has to clean his room. What ever it is, you will be called THE WORST MOM ON EARTH. And you know what? Today is the day you may start to agree with them.
Or maybe this is the day you let them watch six hours of TV so you can catch up on the laundry because your house is a wreck and you’ve been neglecting it. Or maybe it’s the day you say to hell with it and let them have dessert for dinner because you need a break. Perhaps you forgot to tell them to go to bed because you’re engrossed in this blog and now it’s an hour after their bedtimes. Or maybe you locked yourself in the bathroom and ignored them all night because you had such a lousy day and you just can’t take the whining for another second.
You used to stand firm in your rules and your decisions but now you question them every time. Am I really doing this for them? Am I just doing this to make my life easier? Or because I think this is what I should do? What if I’ve been going about this all wrong and I’ve screwed them up forever? Have I taught them NOTHING at all? Can I get a do-over?
You’ll be up all night, tossing and turning, thinking, “maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on him”, “maybe I don’t pay enough attention to them” or “maybe I should start only making food that she likes for dinner”. You’re second guessing yourself. You’re feeling low and like you really are, THE WORST MOM ON EARTH.
KNOCK IT OFF!!! First of all, if you WERE the worst mom on Earth you wouldn’t be second guessing yourself. Hell, you wouldn’t even be reading this because you’d be lying in a ditch somewhere stoned off your ass after you gave your money to a guy named Rico who promised you he could take you to see a unicorn. Seriously. You’re not the worst mom. Yes, we all have bad days. We all have off days. We yell and scream and threaten. We adopt an apathetic attitude and hide under our covers. We coddle them and don’t stick to our guns. And you know what. It’s fine. You’re a pretty decent mom 99.9% of the time. You’re not winning Mom of the year! but hell, we can’t all be June Cleaver. You love those little poop heads more than you love yourself. And deep down, they know it. So do yourself a favor and stop beating yourself up. After all, that’s what you have kids for. Let go of the container of Rocky road and put away the bottle of wine.
Forgive yourself. Go to bed. And tomorrow, pick yourself up by your boot straps (whatever those are) and be the best damn Mom I know you can be.