My flexible (errr, unpredictable) work schedule affords me the privilege of spending lots of time with Alexa. That same schedule (and the career it has built) affords me the luxury (and necessity, as finding babysitters on short notice for 4am arrivals is none too easy) of full-time, live-in help. So this means that while I often get to do drop offs and pick ups and school, enjoy afternoon play dates and sit on the sidelines at soccer, I don’t often do straight 24 hour “mom” shifts without a little (or a lot) of help from our nanny and/or husband.
Until last weekend.
As a result of this experience, I identified “The 5 Stages of A Weekend Alone With a 3.5 Year Old”:
Upon figuring out that my husband would be out of town, and our nanny needed the weekend off, my (very large at this moment) stomach dropped. Holy sh*t. I was going to be ALONE, with Alexa, for 2 bedtimes, 2 bath times, 8 meals, 36 hours, on a weekend where we didn’t have any birthday parties, any out-of-town visitors, any major plans, and a mediocre weather forecast?! For many, I imagine this would not bring on hives. But for me, I sweat through 2 white t-shirts just thinking about it (a big inconvenience, mind you, since I only have 2 white t-shirts that fit me at the moment.) Especially in light of a very trying week where I became convinced Alexa was put on the earth to put me in my place, test my patience, and age me by at least 15 years with every tantrum and attempted time-out that followed…
2: OPTIMISTIC EXCITEMENT.
I scoured local websites for fun activities to keep us busy. Festivals, parades, apple picking on a farm 2 hours north of us, a back-to-school shopping trip to the mall, a stack of craft how-to printouts from Pinterest (and the accompanying outing to Micheal’s for supplies)- for about 3 hours, I fancied myself as Mary Poppins or something, envisioning Lex and I, skipping about town, hand in hand, smiling ear to ear, not a care (or meltdown) in the world.
3: MOMENT OF REALIZATION.
By 7am on Saturday morning, we were awake. And dressed. And had eaten breakfast. The weather outside was nothing short of abonimable, and the fact that at any moment we could (and did) lose power and access to Netflix was quite Now what?
Why does my daughter insist on defying even the smallest request I make of her? Why is “Sofia the First” only 22 minutes long? Why did I think it was a good idea to run around in the muddy backyard so that even though I am exhausted beyond the point of function I still need to give said defiant daughter a bath?Why can’t a pregnant woman to safely enjoy a few glasses of wine without the ensuing guilt that she did something horrible when women in Europe (and my own mother in the ’70s) imbibe at their leisure? Why did I agree to let my husband go on a guy’s weekend? Why did my husband think it was okay to go on a guy’s weekend, even though I told him it was totally fine, doesn’t he know to read between the lines? And on, and on, and on…
It is 5pm on Sunday. Alexa and I are both alive, and actually kind of happy. We had a great weekend (due in no small part to some very amazing friends who made the extra effort to include us in their family activities, because I have learned, it really does take a village), lots of laughs, a few adventures, and some quality down time cozied up on the couch watching our mutual favorite movie, “Annie”. But there was NO way I was letting Brian know any of that when he walked in the door, lest I lose the opportunity to guilt him into doing the entire bath and bedtime routine. Not a chance. But truth be told, I felt blissfully proud of myself for not only making it through the weekend, but actually enjoying the weekend. That isn’t to say I am not grateful for the skills I learned at drama camp- channeling my inner Mommy Martyr afforded me the luxury of watching not one, but THREE episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” before passing out sometime around 9pm. A whole other kind of bliss, let me tell ya.