Writer and mother of twins, Zibby Right, has been kicked to the curb. She writes in The New York Times Motherlode blog that after spending the first three years of her twins’ lives going from Mommy and Me this to baby playgroup that, she feels she is no longer welcome. Pre-school teachers wave good-bye before closing the classroom door behind her. Dance teachers ask that she step outside the studio. Rugby coaches want her to hide in the bushes.
Zibby doesn’t like this.
Zibby still wants to lean into stretches alongside her daughter during dance and mash playdough with her son during craft class. But as the twins hit the 3 year mark, she began to find herself lost — lost and alone.
She writes in the Times:
What about me? Maybe that’s a horribly selfish thing to say, but I derive great joy from being with and partaking in activities with my kids. I’m sure the kids could use a break from me; they benefit from time away from mommy. That, I thought, was what preschool was for. The rest of the time, I genuinely like helping teach my kids different things and watching as they learn and play. With three hours of school every morning, is it too much to ask that we do a few special things together in the afternoons? How can I still find quality time with my kids if I just keep leaving them everywhere?
That last question, I can answer: forget the classes.
Any time parents spends with their kids is quality time spent with the kids! No registration fee required. Zibby doesn’t need a dance teacher to facilitate fun interactions with her daughter and son. She doesn’t need a schedule or a parking pass or $30 for the materials fee. Plenty of parents hang out with their kids without first checking off their names on a class roster.
Time spent in a park/on the couch/going for a walk counts as quality time and it not only allows mom’s presence, it requires it (by law!). Zibby doesn’t have to worry about being ejected from her own home. No, the museum actually wants her there, interacting with the kids so they’ll quit touching the Giacometti.
I feel strongly about this because I, unlike Zibby, couldn’t wait for my kids to reach the age of drop-off. I rejoiced when party invitations included scribbles about leaving the kids off. I vastly preferred old-fashioned swim lessons to Mommy & Me pool time, young bodies tolerating cold, cold water far better than my aging one.
No, unlike Zibby, I look at 3 as a magical age and I don’t mean because of potty training, independent streaks and lower-priced childcare. I mean because 3 is the age mom is no longer required to take off her shoes, pick up a tamborine and provide back-beats to “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while dancing in a circle.
I doubt that I’m alone.
I’ve got one more kid to get to that magical age. I worry that if Zibby complains too loudly — and in The New York Times, for crying out loud — she’s going to blow it for parents like me who want nothing more than to be told by a teacher to go wait in the car. Alone. With a coffee, NPR and a magazine that just came in the mail.
(The park, Zibby, go stretch in the park!)
Were you saddened, or relieved, to age out of the Mommy & Me phase?
Photo: OmniNate via flickr