Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Questionable parenting pays off

Confession: I am a strict rule follower (except I do believe in occasionally rolling through stop signs, which my husband, children AND senile father have pointed out. Repeatedly. Annoyingly. They get there safely, right? So zip it). Anyway, when Caroline, who’s basically strung out on the academic, social and athletic pressures of third grade (which seems to be the new high school), told me she wanted a day off today, I instantly thought, “No. No way. That’s not right.”

Okay, then I totally admit to thinking, “I need to try another hot yoga class. I need to pay bills. I need to do some writing for a website (a mini job, yippee). I need to pull all my 2010 utility bills for the tax guy. I NEED MY SIX HOURS WITH MY KIDS IN SCHOOL!” But mainly, it felt so wrong to just let her stay home for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

But then I looked at her. I realized she wasn’t asking to take a day off to sit in her room and sulk, or play video games by herself, or have a playdate with some other big faker friend. No, she wanted to spend the day with me. And because I am a sap and a sucker and probably the most irresponsible mother on the planet, I said, “Sure. Stay home.”

I got nothing done. Nada. Breakfast dishes are still in the sink. Dog hasn’t been walked. Beds haven’t been made. Not one damn bill got paid, not one damn penny got earned, not one damn chore got done. I was completely and totally unproductive. Again, not my favorite feeling.

But…we ate gourmet and stupidly expensive cupcakes before lunch. We surprised Maddie (broken collarbone buddy) in her school cafeteria with a huge happy birthday balloon. We went to a pottery place and labored over a mosaic peace sign for Caroline’s room. We ate bagel sandwiches and more cupcakes and walked around downtown and talked about movies, friends, homework, teachers and birthday plans. We laughed about “pee balloons”” (note to self: don’t let Jack see Daddy Daycare, the movie Caroline saw at her slumber party, or we will surely all be targeted with urine missiles. He’d SO want to try that) and funny, quirky things about my dad. We talked about spring and why you can’t get cashmere sweaters dirty. We just connected. It was an amazing day.

Even when one mom said, in a rather nasty tone, “Please don’t let THIS get around or I’ll be stuck doing the same damn thing” or another mother said, “You are crazy. She’ll never understand that school is serious” or even the one who said, “How do you possibly have time to spend the day so frivolously?”, I wouldn’t take a minute of it back.

I am not one to stop and smell the roses – I am a rusher, not a relaxer, and I am always busy, busy, busy – but you can’t rush through a mosaic, and you can’t be busy when your mouth is full of a decadent red velvet cupcake, and you can’t focus on dishes when you’re about to wet your own pants laughing about pee balloons.

So you know what? Tonight, when I go to bed, I actually think I will believe I had one of the most productive days I’ve had in ages. Because I had one little girl in the center of my world for six uninterrupted hours, and I think we’re both a million times happier for it.


  1. I LOVE this one!! I need to have a Korryn day later this year or maybe next year, when Bean is in preschool!!

  2. As I have shared, Maddie looked at me and said, "Caroline, got to stay home. Can I stay home tomorrow?" I promptly nipped that in the bud. Of course, that was before I read this tear jerking blog. Now I feel like &@#$!!!!!