It is yet another busy Saturday, and like any family with kids my husband and I have a chaotic day ahead of us. Usually, we divide and conquered our tasks in order to get everything done. And this particular Saturday is no different. We will both spend the majority of the day taking the kids to their different activities, and will then meet up for a nice quiet dinner together. Except, as we go through the list of tasks and divide up the day, I realize I will hardly have a moment to breath. My husband, on the other hand, will have a leisurely Saturday enjoying the kids, catching up with friends and watching basketball. And so, we begin to debate this inequity as we get dressed. I am desperately trying to get him to recognize how frantic my day will actually be.
- 10:30: Get our 12-year-old son to services for his friend’s Bar Mitzvah. Sit through the services.
- 12:30: Services end. Rush home to drop him off and pick up our daughter. Call her on the way home to make sure she is dressed, has eaten, and is ready to leave as soon as I get home.
- 1:00: Arrive at home. Quickly slip out of my clothes and put on running shoes.
- 1:30: Leave the house with our daughter. Strategically place the birthday gift for my husband to take with him later today. Cross my fingers that he doesn’t forget to take the gift.
- 2:00: Arrive with our daughter for her MRI appointment. Yes, I actually found a facility that is open on Saturdays.
- 3:00: Leave the MRI facility. Drive home.
- 4:00: Leave the house (again) with our daughter. Drive 45 minutes to meet an event planner for a sound check at a hotel in Hollywood.
- 6:00: Arrive home exhausted. Make dinner and feed the kids. Confirm that they are bathed and ready for bed. Take a shower and get myself dressed just in time to make our dinner reservations.
As I explain the intricacies of my upcoming day to my husband, I am trying to get him to understand how much driving I will have to do, and am secretly hoping he will switch with me. My husband, on the other hand, is taking our 9-year-old son to his basketball game where he will get to sit on the bench with our friends and cheer the boys on. Then, he will drop off our 9-year-old at a birthday party (hopefully he will remember to take the gift I left behind). But knowing my husband, he will manage to get one of the moms from the basketball team to take our son to the party (moms always feel bad for overworked dads). Having eliminated one task, my husband will then proceed to relax with our 12-year-old son courtside, watching another basketball game. They will eat snacks, chat with the other dads, maybe even yell at the referees. Then he will watch my 12-year-old son’s game, and hang out with the coach afterwards replaying all the great shots and planning strategy for next week. At some point, he will pick up our younger son, grab a coffee, head home, and end up on the couch. He will send the boys off to play while he naps as ESPN blasts in the background.
But somehow when I descriptively compare our upcoming day, he doesn’t agree. In fact, he is convinced that my day looks to be quite an enjoyable one. He thinks that I will drive over to the service with our son and enjoy a beautifully spiritual experience, surrounded by my friends. When the service ends, I’ll sit and have a yummy treat and a cup of tea as I chat with the other moms, all the while enjoying the lovely weather and scenic view. Then, I’ll go home and meet our daughter for lunch. As she gets her MRI, I will sit and read a book in the empty waiting room. When I meet the event planner, we will sit on the rooftop of a beautiful hotel, listening to great music. The hotel will bring us drinks and snacks while we work on our tan. After a wonderful afternoon out, I will come home to a quiet and clean house where the kids will have been fed and put to bed. I’ll have a glass of wine, as we get ready to go out and enjoy a wonderful night together. Then, he proceeds to persuade me that he has a dreadful day of driving and schlepping the kids.
- 2:00: Get our nagging 9-year-old to his game. Make sure he has on the right uniform and that he doesn’t forget his water bottle.
- 3:00: The game ends and he has to rush him to a birthday party, making sure he doesn’t leave anything behind at the game and remembers to take the gift. Drop him off; remind him to eat lunch and to behave.
- 3:30: Drive back to the basketball courts. Go around in circles looking for a parking spot. Drop off our 12-year-old for a pregame practice.
- 4:00: Sit through our son’s game.
- 5:00: Finish watching our son’s game and rush back to the birthday to pick up our younger son. Convince him that it is actually time to go and that the party really is over. Sneak a slice of pizza, as he hasn’t had time to eat lunch.
- 5:30: Drag two exhausted and sweaty boys home where they will promptly tear the house apart. Try to keep them from burning the house down. Change the light bulb in the kitchen. Find something to feed them just to keep them from gnawing on the furniture. Take the trash out. Convince them to shower and practice their instruments. Be dressed and ready to take me out to a nice dinner.
Somehow, each of us envisions that the other has a more pleasant day ahead of them; when in reality we are both just busy parents desperately trying to enjoy snippets of life in the midst of the madness. Some might say our children are over scheduled, and I would argue that the kids are just fine. It’s Mom and Dad who need a break. But these totally crazy, hectic weekends are part of the enjoyment and pleasure that comes from parenting three incredibly active kids. We look forward to cheering from the sidelines, going to birthday parties and participating in their lives. And we recognize that we won’t have this frenzied life forever. The day will come when we look back upon these demanding weekends, and wish we were still in the trenches. Sure, right now we dream of a quiet weekend sipping ice tea by the pool. But if we really had our way, neither one of us would give up this craziness. And until some serenity comes my way, I will just have to let my MomAbility guide me.