There are a few consistent themes here on KittyTime…and one is most definitely to be prepared for anything when going to your friendly neighborhood park. It startles me, at times, to think about the wave of emotions that can come from a park visit. Personally, the roller-coaster of park emotions for me have ranged from fear when being yelled at and verbally assaulted by an old man with a puppy (random), rage stemming from some other hideous mother who hogged the swings with her snot-nosed twerps, and of course, pure joy and pleasure from a fun visit to the swings with my daughter as she laughs away and tromps around the playground. Her current fascination is sticks. I bet you never knew just how wonderful and exciting sticks could be? If you don’t, feel free to accompany me on a trip to our park.
Sunday’s visit to the park was a breath of fresh air. C’est vrai. It was one of my top three visits to the park.
Why? Say you. What happened? You wonder?
I will tell you.
Recall an earlier posting called “Adopt-A-Mom” – I waxed poetic about all the reasons new mommies benefit from adopting a friend, who is also a mommy with a baby older than your own, and similar parenting styles, because all new mommies have a lot to learn. Well, recall we also reviewed how it’s not just new mom’s who have a lot to learn, we all do.
And that is what happened to me on Sunday.
I ran into an old friend at the park. Her children are ages 6 and 2.5. I started asking her about when she put her older son in preschool, why she made the decisions she did, and so on. Her responses were like a breath of fresh air. She is so grounded and so normal and well, just refreshing.
She commented on how she didn’t start her older son in preschool until he was 4 because he was perfectly happy at home with her and playing with a few boys in the hood. More importantly, she commented on how kids don’t really even play together until they are 3, so what’s the big huge rush.
She then said that she will start her 2.5 year old in preschool also when she is 4, she is having a great time being home with her mommy, playing at the park and otherwise enjoying toddlerhood.
But here’s the kicker. Naturally I prodded more. Those of you who know and love moi, know that I never leave it at just one or two questions.
I had to keep questioning her because here’s what I felt: I felt weight coming off my shoulders, I felt so relieved and relaxed, talking to this mom who is so confident in her decisions, with her happy, well-adjusted children, and this mom who is so NOT caught up in all the drama around socialization and getting kids into multiple classes and the mad rush to get them into school.
She then casually commented on how she is not sending her son to camp this summer and how all the mom’s at his school can’t believe it. They are so busy securing their children’s spots in summer camps and racing around like maniacs. This wise mom, she just said “He’s not going to camp. He doesn’t need to go to camp and I need a break.” In no way was she passing judgement on anyone else for sending their kids to camp, she just plainly and confidently said she’s not doing it.
There – she said it.
She just blurted out: “I need a break.”
And she went on to say how her son can play at home with his sister and his friends. And they can go to the beach.
She is not about to drive around like a fool, toting him to and from camp all summer long.
Can I get a “You go!”
Can I get a “Hell yeah!”
Was she the jiminy cricket that landed on my doorstep to assure me that all is right in the world and racing around like fool and paying for tons of classes for a little kid is totally UNNECESSARY.
How many times do you just hear a mom at the park so shamelessly and so confidently say, “I’m not doing that, he doesn’t need it and I need a break.” Really never, in my experience.
It was more powerful to me than when my body sculpting instructor tells us to breathe out the anger in the mornings.
I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, it is insanity. There are never enough classes, never enough play-dates, never enough preschool applications. You are never on a list early enough. Rush rush rush. Class class class.
It is insanity people.
We are talking about little toddlers. My own, in particular, find’s her life’s greatest pleasure from picking up sticks and walking around the yard holding the dog’s leash. No – not walking the dog with the leash.
Walking the leash.
And so, I am adopting this mom’s mantra. I am taking a step back and remembering that my little toddler is perfectly happy and content, just toddling around, and exploring her world. She doesn’t need to be in Spanish class, swimming class, art class and story time at the library to have a good week.
And I also need a break.