This post also appeared on My Big Jesus! Recently we attended a fundraiser at a (childless) cousin’s home. The event was a crawfish boil: low-stress, outdoors, and eat-on-your-own-time. She had asked me a couple of weeks beforehand how to make the event more child-friendly, since many of the invites had gone to couples with young kids. I just suggested that being outside was best (their home is historic and beautifully decorated) and that if food was readily available, kids would probably be happy. We brought a playground ball with us, and there was chalk and a few other outdoor games, so there happened to be the perfect amount of entertainment. It was completely delicious, lots of fun, and totally fine for our kiddos to hang in their yard, grab bites off the tables, and draw with chalk on their driveway.
Our family was the biggest with our three children, and the other families with young kids left much earlier than we did. But overall, our kids were still having fun and wandering around munching on corn on the cob well into the evening. After having too much food and a few beers, a gal I’d met that night mentioned to my hubby and me, “You guys make parenthood look so easy.”
The mom who gets stressed at missed naps and refused meals? The mom who is OCD and uptight about the state of the house? The mom who is on her own at bedtime twice a week and is weeping into a glass of wine or a dose of NyQuil by 9:30? Yeah, that same mom was “making parenthood look easy” at a neighborhood event where my children ran around like banshees, maybe having fun and maybe making birth control more common.
But that’s the beauty of it, right? There are totally times that things come together, everyone has fun, and it’s easy. That day was actually easy. We played. We ate. We ran around. Hubby and I had adult conversation! It was chilly by the end of the night, and the kids were up past their bedtimes, but their exhaustion was joy-induced. These times are the ones I hang on to when things aren’t easy, when food is thrown, laundry is piled up, and exhaustion isn’t joy-induced, but due to several children not sleeping properly. Those perfectly-executed nights out together, and sweet snuggly mornings after are the ones that remind me all is not yet lost, and the sleep-deprived despair of a mom (carpool driver, cook, and housekeeper) can be redeemed.