I Don’t Want to Play with the Kids Today.

I’m not your typical mom. At least I don’t think I am.

Although I love reading about other bloggers discuss the issues and nuances we all share as moms, I personally don’t feel compelled to always write about my kids. It bores me… or maybe I think it bores other people… or maybe it’s a little of both. I also feel I’m being redundant to whatever you may have read somewhere else. I don’t think my experiences as a mother differ all that much from my sisterhood of mothers worldwide. Maybe with a different twist at some point, but we can all relate to poop conversations, a messy home, tantrums, clothing dilemmas, homework battles, opposite sex drama, to mention only a few. Plus some of the mommy/daddy bloggers I follow have such a wonderful ability to write about poop and keep me wanting more. How can I possibly compete with that?

But, every so often I come across a situation that makes me feel like I need to vent and well, since this is MY platform to do just that, here I am.

As I stated in the beginning, I’m not your typical mom. At least I don’t think I am. I love my children, and don’t get angry at what I’m about to say, but they are not my world. They just play a part in it. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?

Let me explain as I take you back a few years. Well, many years considering that I’m no spring chicken anymore. I was about 9 years old. Raised by a single mother. She made many mistakes, but was still overall a very loving and nurturing parent. She was doing the best she could. I’m not going to get into all that she did or didn’t do. I want to focus on one aspect that can help you understand where I’m coming from before you start to feel sorry for my kids. To keep this story as short as my chatty self can make possible, my mother caught the eye of a very nice gentleman. They had a lot in common and shared the same standards in life. In essence, he would’ve been awesome for her. One day, my mother asked me, a 9-year-old child, if I would like her to ever get married one day. Without understanding fully the future repercussions of what I was about to say, and without knowing the progression of their relationship, I told her what most kids being raised by a single parent would say. I wanted it to be ONLY her and myself together forever.  Yes, at 9 years old, kids still believe they will be living with their parents forever under the best relationship scenario they know. Her response? “Okay. I will never get married for you.” Gave me a hug and we went about our day as usual. And my mother based her entire future on that one statement. She allowed me to become her world.

Do you know what that does to a child growing up? I never forgot that moment. As I got older I started to develop feelings for the opposite sex and BINGO…. that one statement started to haunt me. The understanding of what I did to her came full circle. I didn’t want to be my mother’s world anymore. I wanted her to have a life outside of me. The guilt became burdensome. I felt obligated toward her. She missed out on a beautiful relationship because I was her beautiful relationship. I became whatever my mother wanted me to become. Sure, that may sound like the ultimate recipe for a good kid. And yes, I was a “good” kid. But I felt trapped. Lovingly trapped, but still trapped nonetheless. And she was trapped as well. We had a very dependent relationship to the day she passed.

Fast forward to today. I have seen many parents other than my own mother live their lives mainly for their children. Everything they do is centered around their children. Their hobbies become their children. Their conversations are only about their kids. Their vacations are always with Junior in mind. Where they go out to eat, or what movies they watch, even what clothes they wear. They forget what it’s like to be an individual and their identity becomes Mom or Dad. I’ve seen couples transition out of Honey and Sweetheart and even start calling each other Mom and Dad.

I have seen empty-nesters fall in to deep depression because they no longer know what to do when they get home and the kids aren’t there. I have seen couples have nothing to talk about because they no longer KNOW each other without the kids around to be their buffer. I had one mother once tell me after her daughter grew up and left home, “I don’t know who I am anymore. I was a mother. What am I now?” My heart aches for her. I told her she now had the opportunity to get to know herself again. What an adventure that would be. Unfortunately nothing worked.

I adore my children. I love helping them. I enjoy watching them grow up. I’m happy to provide them with new experiences. I take pictures and videos of every moment (Heck, I have to buy another back up drive since I don’t trust only “The Cloud” to hold all my memories). I celebrate anything and everything with them (nothing is too trivial to buy cupcakes for). But….and this is a huge but (no jokes please)….I look forward to one day coming home and not worry about homework, or meal preparation for the tykes, or washing clothes for 3 growing boys, or school events, or the dozen of classmate birthdays or having to watch another episode of the Thunderman’s. I look forward to not doing any of this anymore because I make sure to fit in myself through all of this. I look forward to spending time with myself and my husband more. I love to write and want to do more of it. I want to read more and join a book club. Painting is one of my most loved hobbies and I want more time for it. I love comedy clubs. I love eating out, a lot. I love bookstore visits. I love listening to the ocean and watching the waves. I love sipping wine and eating cheese. I want to go visit Jazz clubs more often. I want to go to museums more and contemplate art in silence. I want to volunteer more. I want to go to weekly yoga classes. I need to do more cardio. I have an entire bucket list of things I need to complete.

I look forward to an empty nest on a daily basis. Sure, I’ll invite the kids to come and visit on weekends and holidays. And after quite some time, the grand-kids will come and I’ll do the Abuela thing and I’ll do a kick-ass job at it. But I’m proud to say that my kids can be independent from me and feel like its okay that Mom and Dad are on their own now and that we too will survive. That their Mom and Dad will do more than just survive, that we will live life to the fullest. I’m happy to know that I didn’t create a burden on them for my personal happiness and self-worth. And I’m relieved to be aware that I’m doing ME now so I don’t forget later who I was to begin with.

Disclaimer: This is not criticizing other parenting methods, just what works for me and based on my past experience with my own mother. I love you Mom!

— The Pretty Platform

 

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10 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Play with the Kids Today.

  1. Sadly, I’m that mom! 2 kids in college and 1 home and I’m lost. I was depressed for a while before deciding that i needed to get over it and be a mom to my 11 year old. Not only that but i needed to learn how to be a parent to an only child which meant being more engaged as to before i would watch all of them in delight! I lived for them and thru them. I’m divorced too which means i get some weekends off! So my only child is now shared! Oh, the possibilities of doing everything that I’ve been wanting to do could be endless…if at those moments i could actually remember what that was instead of sitting alone feeling “momless” watching Grey’s Anatomy in my pj’s old day long. I know, pathetic. I do have a very loving and understanding boyfriend who is very independent and what do i do with that?! Yes, my exes have always been boys, not men. So yeah, I’m pretty lost trying to live for ME. Hey, I’m enjoying MY platform!!

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    • Nancy, thank you for being so open and honest. I definitely know this is a difficult time for many when the dynamics of the home change. I’ve been there being divorced before as well. Because I personally know how amazing of a woman you are, I can tell you with certainty that although your two oldest are not home anymore, they have not left you. You have been the greatest inspiration in their lives. And you will always be the most important thing to them. As far as not remembering all the great things you could be doing, lets get together and create a bucket list. It’s the best to do list you’ll ever have, and you can complete the tasks at your own pace. That’s the beauty of it all. And remember, some of those adventures, you can do with a friend. And you do have a friend in me. And you’ll see that slowly you’ll start to get to know yourself again.

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      • I’m in awe with your response. Thank you! I feel like a well known celebrity just reached out to me. (I’m smiling from ear to ear) This blog thing is very exciting indeed! Yes, let’s get together soon and create a bucket list. I would love that very much actually. Holding my hand and setting me free is a good start. Oh, an adventure with you? Really? (I’m such a kid!) Challenge accepted! (not that you’re a challenge…I am) You and I both have this sweet blood running thru our veins. Friends come and go and that’s OK. BUT…there are a few were the connection will always remain intact regardless of the absence or distance. And you my dear are one of those friends. It just is.

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        • Nancy, first, you are absolutely hilarious. Believe you me, we’re both quite the challenge. LOL. I’m no walk in the park. Ask anyone. And you better be ready to write that list, because there are so many wondrous things to accomplish. I’m happy and honored to call you Mi Amiga Querida!

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  2. Very well said! I’ve never been holden to my kids so much. And I have mostly been the odd mom (for multiple reasons), compared to my counterparts. I still party regularly, and I am spontaneous, and free-spirited. Yet my lil’ guys love me more and more. Go figure…

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  3. The reason why my husband and I didn’t have a baby right away was because I knew that I really was not ready to give up a lot of things – I knew that once I had a child, I would have to give up things and make a lot of sacrifices that are different from that of the ones you make for marriage. That being said, I love being a mother. My son brings so much light and joy into my life, but I do not exist solely for him. I go out with my friends, I make sure my husband and I get date nights. I try not to talk about my son unless he’s asked about, and even then I’m wary because I don’t want it to seem like I talk about him TOO much. I miss him when I’m not around him for lengths at a time, but I also know it’s healthy for me to have a life outside of being a mother. It’s also healthy for my child, and even though he gets sad when I drop him off at daycare in the morning (he forgets all about me within seconds anyway)…he has a life outside of being my toddler.

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    • That’s really important as well. To have some time as husband and wife before having to refocus on children. This allows the couple to bond before heading in to one of the hugest challenges of life…PARENTING. LOL. Children are a great source of happiness and accomplishment for sure. They’ve helped me remember the importance of empathy and patience. I love when you state that HE has a life outside of being YOUR toddler. That is one of the greatest perspectives ever. I think you just sparked a future article idea.

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  4. Totally looking forward to our 3 children being self sufficient and independent. Leaves more time for you and me. However, with 2 little hobbits ages 3 and 7, that is not happening for a while.

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