|Years ago, in my college course called Death and Dying, I learned about Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross And The Five Stages of Grief - I never thought, many years later, I'd apply it to my kids' reaction to my night out on the town.|
Once in a blue moon, an opportunity arises that gives us a night off from the parenting gig. Sometimes, this is a night out with the girls, or date night with our spouses. When you're in the thick of it, these opportunities don't happen very often, so they are appreciated and savored as much as possible. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids dearly - and like being around them, but let's be honest, we all need a night out to recharge and enjoy the taste of food that is still hot and adult conversation that is even hotter. This night out does not involve taking a friend to the restroom every 10 minutes, asking a friend to get out from under the table, or taking a straw wrapper to the eye when a friend's Shirley temple arrives and she blows the straw as hard as she can at your face. No - this is a night off for laughs and story exchanges, mostly about our precious kids and the silly things they say and do.
If you're anything like me, you find that these nights off are met with resistance and protests from the wee ones. Maybe they do it because they love us so much - or perhaps they do it to torment us into leaving the house with a purse full of guilt and regret - not sure - but either way, there IS definitely a pattern I've observed before I go out.
I've used www.funnytimes.com to illustrate my issues.
|(you can click on it to make it bigger)|
Denial - This is when they don't really want to believe that you would even think of leaving them and going out with someone else. Silly Mommy, you aren't really going out, you're just tricking us! hahahaa! At this stage, it's all a big joke.
Anger - Once they realize you are, in fact, serious, the gloves come off and they start with the kidney punches and low blows. Prepare to hear the laundry list of gripes and wrong doings they've suffered at your hands. THAT'S NOT FAIR YOU'RE GOING OUT WITHOUT US..YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN WITH US..ALL WE EVER DO IS BORRR-INGGGG.
Bargaining - Be careful - this could be tricky. They smell fear and guilt and prey on it. They could easily convince you that staying on the couch in your comfies, while cuddling with them and watching the Goonies would be 100x more fun than wine and cheese with friends. Mommy if you stay home with us we will cuddle and snuggle and we won't insist on Cartoon Network OR Star Wars! You can pick whatever you want to watch! You can even have some popcorn - we won't eat it all!
Stay focused - they are getting desperate.
Depression - At this stage, they have just about lost all hope and will try tears, leg grabbing, and tantrums to keep you home. Daddy gets water and soap in our eyes..he doesn't know how to rinse like YOU do...what will we do without you at bedtime??? Wahhhhhhh I need you mommy!!! Then it gets just plain old pathetic when they have the after-cry tremors and give up, saying, Just go...leave us here...that's fine. We'll be okay.
And then - somewhere between Depression and Acceptance - while you are poking your eye out while rushing to put a coat of mascara on because you are running so late from dealing with their shenanigans that you have approximately 6 minutes to get ready, they are banging on the bathroom door to let you know they've made a deal with the sitter or Dad or Grandma or whoever is watching them and they no longer need you. We move on to Acceptance with excitement and glee.
Acceptance (of a better deal) - -------(fill in blank) said as soon as you leave, we could have ice cream for dinner and skip baths and watch Uncle Grandpa on Cartoon Network! It's gonna be the BEST NIGHT EVERRR. WHEN ARE YOU LEAVING??? GO MAMA, GO.
Please tell me I'm not alone in this charade?
Until next time, I have to go get ready for girls night out - right after I pick up some ice cream and toppings for the kids,