Do you ever get to that place? You know the one. The place where you just don’t know how you’re going to survive the remainder of the day since your children have been trying your patience since they woke up…oh…at 6:30am. and now it’s 3:30pm…still 4 more hours until bedtime?
You think, maybe even say out loud: “How the @#$% am I going to make it 4 more hours? It seems like an eternity!”
Suddenly, you hear the noise of screaming children. But to your delight…they’re not your own children.
I have the most kick-ass neighbor situation right now. We have a like-minded couple, with children around the same ages as ours. We share the same parenting gripes and the same nanny. In fact, she’s their cousin, so I have them to thank for being related to her. Our kids get along as well as a five-year-old, two three-year-olds and a one-year-old can get along. We don’t have to dress up for each other, or clean house for each other, and we help each other out whenever we can.
So, yesterday afternoon, in a moment of desperation, after a sugar and trampoline-filled birthday party left my children hyperactive and disagreeable instead of happy and tired, I knocked on their door.
In an instant, our night became infinitely better. We decided to do a pot luck dinner. I ran back to our house, grabbed whatever we had: turkey meatballs, spinach and artichokes, and a bottle of wine. Then the four of us ran back over there. The kids played, the adults talked and cooked. We ate, listened to music, and the amazing nanny/cousin plopped them ALL in the bath at once while we cleaned up from dinner.
The day was over.
If I didn’t have these people in my life, parenting would be 100X harder. It’s hard enough that my family doesn’t live nearby, but if I didn’t have people with whom to diffuse and let off the steam of parenting, I think I would crack, some days.
These are the people of the “village” of yore, or the extended families that live together in Non-Western cultures and help each other ease the burdens of parenting.
These are people you don’t have to impress with a dust-free living room or a cheese plate, but people who are there to support you (but probably also like to eat cheese, if you’re offering).
If you do not have these types of people in your world, I urge you to find some. They are out there. They can make life a whole lot better.
Do you have a network of parents for moments like this?