Booze. Parties. Sex.
When you string those powerful words together, it sounds like the dastardly headline of yet another Hollywood tragedy. I’m guessing you wouldn’t conjure up any of those words while thinking of everyday moms and dads who work ceaselessly to be good moms and dads. I know I didn’t used to.
But what if booze, parties, and sex actually help a lot of parents be better parents? Is that possible? I know many parents who would adamantly tell you, YES. It’s not only possible, it’s very much a reality.
But before you string me up by my ankles for defacing the sanctity of parenthood, read the following paragraphs and let’s have an interesting discussion about it.
1) Tanya, a single mother of two, really enjoys any chance she can find for booze, parties, and sex.
2) Tanya, a single mother of two amazing girls, works two jobs to make ends meet. Finding time for herself can be challenging with how much she gives her little ones, and there is no doubt that the stresses of life can often be overwhelming. Her social life is usually the last thing she worries about, and her friends are lucky to break her away for a night of fun. Her boyfriend often feels neglected in their relationship, but is generally understanding that her schedule simply doesn’t allow much time for him. Sometimes, after the kids are in bed, the two of them forget about everything else, finish off a bottle of wine, and savor some much needed intimacy. On other even more rare occasions, she is able to find a babysitter and go out for a night on the town with her girlfriends. They go dancing, karaoking, and usually get drinks together. This, of course, leads to all sorts of silliness and fun. When the night is over (whether it’s with her boyfriend or her friends) and it’s back to real life again, she always feels so rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. She’s more patient and pleasant with her kids and somehow the strains of life give her a temporary reprieve. I really need to find time for that more often, she always thinks.
These are obviously two very different paragraphs, yet essentially they both say the same thing, don’t they? Tanya (a fictional mother) drinks, has fun, and seeks out intimacy. The difference is, when the only thing we read is paragraph #1, we tend to think something very differently about Tanya than we would if the only thing we read is paragraph #2.
As outsiders, we tend to watch other parents, and we scrutinize their every action. We judge parents like Tanya based on the limited information that we get from externally observing her and her activities. We hold her against our own beliefs of what is right and wrong and we blatantly decide whether she is a fit parent or not. We see her out and about, being careless, having fun, going a little crazy with her friends, and we think what kind of mom is she?
But so often in life, moms and dads like Tanya are some of the best moms and dads of our time. When they’re with their kids, they’re with their kids. When they’re parenting, they’re parenting. And, just like other incredible moms and dads, barely a moment goes by when they aren’t thinking of ways to better the lives of their children.
Yet at the same time they are fantastic parents, very unfairly, many in the world see them and only ever see paragraph #1. The everyday truths and day to day realities that bring balance to their parental spec sheets get overlooked completely. And, those parents end up being held to some standard that shouldn’t be theirs at all. At least in some places.
But the truth is, parents need to find time to fulfill their own social and personal needs. It may not be in the form of drinks, nights out on the town, clubs, or big social gatherings. Some parents will fulfill their social needs by playing cards or going to movies. Others will enjoy a night at a sporting event or browsing an art show. Some will enjoy meeting up with friends for board games and snacks.