chaeli stayed over at my parent's place both friday and saturday night – not something we usually do on a long weekend but it had been awhile and it would be the only summer weekend my parents have available for a sleep over (and not sure if either my parents or chaeli would have another chance until possibly after thanksgiving in october).
it always takes me much longer to unwind whenever chaeli is away from us for a couple of nights. doug gets right into relax-mode but i still have to shake off the mommy-worries and jitter-bugs. so why do i bother even letting her stay over? for two main reasons:
- both my parents and chaeli are not getting any younger. i want them to spend quality time together while they can. i only wish my PIL could do this as well but they simply live too far away. anyway, i consider two nights away from us small potatos in the grand scheme of things.
- doug and i both need the down time, not just for ourselves but for each other. there's always going to be part of us that doesn't want her to be away from us for too long but perhaps because we've been allowing ourselves these weekend breaks every two to three months since she was several months old, we know how much it benefits us in becoming better parents/spouses. when we've had a couple of nights to ourselves, we can feel how rejuvinated we are, which helps us to become better parents.
thanks to the book introduction from manon-it-all, i've started reading "The Mommy Myth." so far, i really like how they've summed up how the media has ideologized what motherhood should be about and how this has fuelled the mommy-war, which is something i feel is desctructive to all mothers, regardless of whether they are career-moms or stay-at-home moms. to quote from the book:
"The fulcrum of the new momism is the rise of a really pernicious ideal in the late twentieth century that the socioloist Sharon Halys has perfectly labeled "intensive mothering. [truncated] …today, the standards of good motherhood are really over the top. And they've gone through the roof at the same time that there has been a real decline in leisure time for most Americans."
"Intensive mothering insists that mothers acquire professional-level skills such as those of a therapist, pediatrician ("Dr. Mom"), consumer products safety inspector, and teacher, and that they lavish every ounce of physical vitality they have, the monetary equilvalent of the gross domeestic product of Australia, and, must of all, every single bit of their emotional, mental, and psychic energy on their kids. [truncated] With intensive mothering, everyone watches us, we watch ourselves and other mothers, and we watch ourselves watching ourselves. [truncated] Intensive mothering is the ultimate female Olympics: We are all in powerful competition with each other, in constant danger of being trumped by the mom down the street, or in the magazine we're reading. The competition isn't just over who's a good mother – it's over who's the best. We compete with each other; we compete with ourselves. The best mothers always put their kids' needs before their own, period. The best mothers are the main caregivers. [truncated] Their love for their children is boundless, unflagging, flawless, total. Mothers today cannot just respond to their kids' needs, they must predict them – and with the telepathic accuracy of Houdini. They must memorize verbatim the books of all the child-care experts and know which approaches are developmentally appropriate at different ages. They are suppose to treat their two-year-olds with "respect." If mothers screw up and fail to do this on any given day, they should apologize to their kids, because any misstep leads to permanent psychological and/or physical damage. Anyone who questions whether this is the best and theneccessary way to raise kids is an insensitive, ignorant brute. This is just common sense, right?"
and to sum up the authors' point of view on the "new momism":
"The new momism is a highly romanticized and yet demanding view of motherhood in which the standards for success are impossible to meet."
and in lue of how it worked for us this weekend, doug and i started friday night by heading to a pub – something i think he's been wanting to do for awhile because he rarely suggests something with so much gusto! i had a pint of calsberg which is a rarity for me these days (i've been off beer for awhile) with my halibut-fish and chips.
saturday morning, we woke up early to head to the gym where we spent a little bit of time actually working out WITH each other (can't remember the last time we shared a machine and spotted one another). then, after a sauna and shower, we headed up to 'the old curiosity tea shop' for traditional english food – doug had the ploughman's lunch and i had scones with preserves and devonshire cream. both with a hot pot of loose-leaf tea that is to die for!
afterwards, we walked to the nearby farmer's market for a loaf of fresh, multi-grain, organic bread and some fresh, yellow string beans.
for dinner, we ended up just having that fresh loaf of bread with pork and chicken liver pate, hard cheese and some red wine. we actually had a very romantic time.
as you can see, we didn't do anything special – but it was nice to walk around the farmer's market with him and then do some window shopping.
and as i walked down the street, holding my husband's hands while we chatted away, i thought of how some mothers from the mommy-war must think that we're being completely selfish… that if we wanted to have this occasional date-weekend, we shouldn't have had children at all. i wondered how they'd be claiming what a bad mother i was being…
and i smiled that i gave them a chance to think this.
because i want no part of this mommy-war or the 'new momism.' that perhaps i happen to know that THIS… is working for me. it's working for us. and if i did it their way, it would be worse… for doug, for chaeli…
and for me.