Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Weekend Mommies" - This one's for you!

My boys woke up at 6:11am this morning. And, it's Sunday. They came flying out of their room, full of energy, raring to go, playing Red Light, Green Light in the hallway and laughing hysterically. (Question: Why is it that they can't wake up at 6:11am on school days, when I have to get them up and ready to go to schools on opposite sides of town AND get myself ready and to work on time? But, of course not. They wake up at 7:00 on those days, and then I have to drag them through the morning routine, as they moan, "We're tired, Mommy. We can't go any faster..." resulting in a last-minute mad, high-stress, desperate dash to make it everywhere we're supposed to be by 8:00am. Sigh.)

Anyway, the point of that rant was just to explain why I was up and checking my email at 6:30am on a Sunday morning. (Thanks, boys, I'm fully awake now, with no hope of getting back to sleep. I may as well get caught up on my email.) So, I got a message from Jill, a good friend of mine, who lives way too far away. She has two little kids, and she's sick. Really feeling crappy. She sounded exhausted and overwhelmed. And, here's the kicker. She's not just an all-week Mom, with a demanding job on top of that, she's a "Weekend Mom" too. What do I mean by that? I mean, her husband works during the week and on weekends. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but, what does it really mean to have a co-parent who works on the weekends? Well, if the Mom works, as well as taking care of the kids, it means there's no down time. No recovery time. None of that "me time" Moms crave and need in order to stay sane. She does 90% of the childcare during the week, because hubby's time off is when the kids are in school and she's at work, and frankly, because that seems to be what most Moms do anyway, right? Then, when the weekend rolls around, and other Moms are saying, "I'm so glad it's the weekend. Now, we have some family time, and I get a break 'cuz Daddy's here to help out", "Weekend Moms" are thinking, "At least I get a little bit of a break from my other job. But, how am I going to entertain the kids all by myself again this weekend? And, do all the errands I couldn't get to during the week? And, get any rest before the work week starts again?" And, if you're sick, forget about it! There's no going back to bed on the weekends. No snuggling in, drinking juice, and letting Daddy take care of the kids while you watch T.V., read trashy novels, and nap. It's all you, baby. All you.

Here's the other thing about being a weekend Mom. It's very lonely. Why? Because, your friends are doing stuff with their families, or they're getting their weekly break from motherhood while Daddy takes the kids, so they don't want to get together to do anything with you and your kids. They want a break from kids. They deserve a break from kids. Lucky ladies. But as for you? You come as a package deal on the weekends, just like throughout the week. It's you, and the kids. When your girlfriends say, "Hey, we're meeting for lunch or going to a matinee. Want to join us?" Sorry. Can't. I've got the kids. So, weekend Moms take their kids to McDonalds to burn some energy climbing around the play tubes. There, they get to see all the Daddies, who are there with their kids, giving their wives a break from parenthood for a bit. Or, they take their kids to the park or to the Children's Museum, and, again, they see the Daddies playing with their kids, no Mom in sight, or watch, enviously, as whole families have their weekend time together. It's hard. And, if you're lucky enough to have your partner around a little bit on the weekends, you feel compelled to make that "family time." After all, kids need time with both parents too. And, if family time is severely limited, you want to take advantage of it when it comes around. Or, it's the only time you can get some of those errands you just can't do with the kids done, so you have to rush around doing that instead. So, Mommy break time? Down time? Me time? Not so much. You wake up Monday morning, and it's time to start it all over again. Your co-workers innocently ask, "How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?" And, you want to smack them upside the head for asking...

So, to all the Moms out there whose partners don't work weekends, or who have family and friends who are available to take the kids on weekends for a while, or who can afford, in this economy, to pay someone to do just that -- You deserve it! Treasure it. Be thankful for it. You work your butts off raising your kids, and that break is something you earn every single week. But, if you're ever out on a weekend, enjoying your "me time", and you see an exhausted-looking Mom, all alone with her kids, give her a smile or an encouraging word. Trust me, she needs it.

And, to my good friend, Jill, who is trying to get well and take care of her little ones at the same time, and to "Weekend Mommies" everywhere -- I salute you! You are warriors. Women of steel. Capable of anything. You're sharing this fleeting time with your little ones and getting to experience just about every minute of it with them. Your kids will be incredibly bonded with you, because you are their care-giver, their support system, their rock. (At least, that's what I try to tell myself, when it's all getting to be too much, and I feel like I'm losing my mind.)

Hang in there, ladies. And, as for you single Moms, who are doing this all by yourselves. There are no words for how strong and amazing and heroic you are. No words...


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