Monday, May 19, 2014

Moms' Night Out

Ok, so I saw Moms' Night Out yesterday.  Oh, my word.  I think I was laughing above everyone else in the theatre.  This movie was hysterical.  It was just a good, clean comedy and I recommend it for, well, your moms' night out. 

I think all moms can agree that we need periodic time outs, away from everyone we're in charge of, to get refreshed, refocused, and ready to go back in.  The first image that comes to mind when I think about this is a boxer retreating to his corner.  Moms are kind of like boxers.  After getting knocked around and on the verge of exhaustion from going 'round and 'round in circles, we need to go to our corners, every now and then, to sit down a minute, cool off, have our bleeding controlled, and get a little pep talk.....oh yeah, and have cold water squirted in our mouths.
We all know that deep longing for a break.  Like when you hear about a friend on bed rest and you think....."oh, how lucky is she?  I wish someone would put me to bed".  I could relate to the starry eyed women in the movie as they walked down the sidewalk all dressed up with no one hanging onto their legs or asking them for money....feeling like a bird out of a cage.  Don't act all high and mighty like your wings have never fluttered when you see the cage door has been left open.  Do. Not. Lie. To. Me.   

I remember when Blair was three months old and I went to dinner with some girlfriends for the first time since she'd arrived.  I loved her with all of my heart.  I couldn't imagine loving her more.  I couldn't imagine our life without her, but if we're being honest here......when I drove out of my driveway that night, I felt as if the governor had just issued my pardon.  I cranked the radio up as loud it would go and took the longest possible way home.  It was sooooo good to get out and just be me for a little while....the me without spit up on her shoulder.  By the time I got home, I couldn't wait to see my baby.  Being away for just a couple of hours was like a dose of good medicine.   
And did I mention that for the first 4 months of Carson's life, he screamed.  I don't mean every now and then.  I mean, he screamed.  All. Day. Long.  He hardly ever slept at night and you could forget napping.  No, he just screamed.  All. Night. Long.  I don't know how he had the energy to scream like he did going on no sleep and all.  He was like one of those dolls that they issue to high school kids in Sex Ed class....those that cry intermittently to discourage teen pregnancy.....only we got the one that was stuck on the cry setting.   We could've held those prevention classes at our house for those 4 months and boasted a 100% class success rate.  Nobody would've wanted any sex after that. 

With each night of no sleep, my coping skills waned more and more and as Davis would leave to go to work in the morning, I longed to grab his ankles and scream......"please, don't leave me here with them".  About the time he turned to go, Blair would bolt out of bed after a long, peaceful night's sleep and was ready to be entertained.  By the time he came home in the afternoon, I would hand the screaming boy off to him and just go sit outside by myself where it was quiet.  It was so nice out there....just me and the mosquitos.  The mosquitos and I got very close that summer.  I would've called my girlfriends to go out, but I didn't have the energy to shower or put on clothes.  It had been 4 months since I'd slept and my eyes were bloodshot and I jumped even at the sound of the toilet flushing.  In my sweet Carson's defense, we FINALLY found the right formula for him and he has been ever so pleasant since then. 

When they got a little older, we had that period when Blair enjoyed standing in the toilet.  I have pictures of this, but since she preferred climbing in unclothed, I deemed them inappropriate.  Carson enjoyed dunking Blair's pom poms in the toilet, swishing them around and around, and then lifting them above his head and shaking all the water out.  These two activities required a lot of bathing and a lot of disinfecting.  Come to think of it, my children seemed to have a natural affinity for playing in the toilet.....something that must come from their father's side.  I'm happy to report that they have since grown out of these practices.   

A few years later, I got to know the good people down at Poison Control, thanks to Carson.  Let's just say he liked to try new things.  Mushrooms in the yard, pothos leaves, holly berries.  I believe that two of the three samplings happened while under Davis' care, so don't judge me. There were and still are picky eater issues and sibling spats.  There was the 12 step program to get Carson off the pacifier.  There were sippie cups with curdled milk, our DIY psychotherapy we used to combat Blair's irrational dog phobia, and that period when we were certain that our children would be the very first to ever go to college in Pull-ups.  There was that time we forgot to pick up Carson from the church nursery.  There was Blair's obsession with play makeup that colored our carpet like a Jackson Pollock painting and her very sensitive gag reflex when taking Amoxicillin would add a thick, pink coating to anything within a 5 foot radius.  There was the time that Carson reared back and sent his sippie cup sailing through the air as hard as he could.....hitting me square between the eyes.  I had to count to 10 very slowly that day.   

I cannot fail to mention the songs that you heard over and over and over and over and after day after day.  Barney, the dinosaur from Satan's loins.  Make him stop!!!  Blair sang Ariel's "Part of Your World" with bravado at least 29 times a day and to make it even more enjoyable for everyone, she always used her battery powered microphone on the #10 setting, just in case the neighbors couldn't hear.  I can still recite every single word of Disney's Robin Hood to this very day. Sometimes, I can hear Cowboy Pete from Carson's potty training video in my head....."It was a long hot day and after having some soup, I headed into town to pee and to poop".   I've often wondered if, on my death bed,  I'll start reciting random things like these that are burned into my psyche.  I can hear it now....."Shhhh.....She's trying to say something!  What's she saying?  It sounds like she's asking for Cowboy Pete?  Does anyone know a Cowboy Pete?"

Then there was the brief period when Blair hit 13 when I was sure that one of us would have to die.  I didn't know which one, but one of us had to go.  Much like when Carson was in his screaming phase, my blood pressure was sky high by the time Davis made it home.  She was 13, after all, and her need for parental advice or supervision was a thing of the past.  And in Blair's defense, her little, adolescent, smart mouth lasted only about 8 months and she's been so pleasant ever since.     

Mama-ing is a 24/7 job.  We buy gifts.  RSVP.  Take cupcakes to school.  Disinfect when the stomach virus hits.  Wipe the noses.  Fill out the school forms.  Cook supper.  Make the doctor appointments.  Know the shoe sizes.  Know who likes what.  Pack the lunches.  Mail the invitations.  Order the cakes.  Attend large numbers of birthday parties.  Have the permission slips notarized.  Chaperone the field trips.  Buy the groceries.  Drive people places.  Dole out the medicine.  Call out vocabulary words.  Set up reading fair projects.  Clean tubs.  Sit through Spiderman 1, 2 and 3.  Send in school picture money.  Make a cake for the bake sale.  Wait up for the after prom party to end.  Coordinate Easter outfits.  Document events with the camera.  Work a shift at the dunking booth.  Sign the report cards.  Go prom dress shopping.  Sit up until curfew.  Sell wrapping paper and cookie dough at work.  Pretreat the stains. Use the bulb syringe.  Wipe behinds.  Work in the concession stand.  I'll just stop there because.....well, this list has no end really.              
It's no wonder that, sometimes, moms just want to go and talk about what they want to talk about and eat at places where they don't have trays and no one asks you if you'd like fries with that.  Sometimes, we just want to go through a whole meal without cutting up someone else's meat or taking anyone to the bathroom.  Of course, with the emergence of cell phones, girls' night out is not near the treat it once was back when they had no choice but to wait for Mommy to get home to ask her a question.  Now, they're all like....."Let's call Mommy and ask her this and text Mommy and ask her that."  But's nice.      

The movie made the point that God made us, moms.  We are His masterpieces and we are enough.  Sometimes, WE don't think we're enough or that we're succeeding at this mothering thing, but He'll give us all we need to get through this parenting process and, hopefully, we'll turn out some really good people on the other side of it. 

He has entrusted souls to us.  They need love.  They need stability.  They need care.  They need examples.  They need direction.  They need Him. 

We are their first love.  Their first sense of security.  The one who meets their first needs.  The example they will likely follow.  The direction they will likely travel.  The one who introduces them to Him. 

It's an exhausting job, maybe more arduous than any other job in the human experience.  The effects of our job have the potential to go on for generations.  But.....this job has incredible benefits....unparalleled benefits. 

What we do is infinitely and eternally important. 

So, take a break from time to time.

It's ok.  Really.  It is. 


  1. joni, put a star by this one. i predict it will surface as one of your VERY BEST. sharing with all the young moms i know out there. :)

  2. Definitely want to see this movie! Sometimes it's so hard to coordinate and schedule a mom's night out, that I wonder if it's even worth it. I'm always glad I did once I'm there though! :)

  3. I have a 13-year-old daughter. How in the world did you get the smarty-mouth stage to only last 8 months?

    Great post.

    1. Haha......I don't know, Melanie! It left as quickly as it came. It was really kind of odd that it was so short-lived. Don't worry....."this too shall pass"!

  4. This was just SO what I needed to read right now! I laughed out loud that your kids stood in the toilet! Hahaha! I always enjoy myself reading your posts! Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Karmen. That means a lot!

  5. I love this Joni. I never had a screamer, but I had a non-sleeper. A happy non-sleeper who wanted all those around him to not sleep either. We finally got it figured out and now I so wish I had one more night with him as a 6 month old with me trying to rock him back to sleep. He is 16 now and suddenly all he wants to do is sleep. :)

    1. I know! Those phases feel like they'll last forever, but they're just a blip really! My son, almost 14, is entering that sleep phase now.....better late than never, I suppose :)