As regular readers know, I cherish my kid-free weekends – all 26 of them (in your typical calendar year, that is).
Does that mean I do not love my children? That I’m a typical selfish parent? That I’m using the time they’re not here to engage in illegal and/or debauched behavior?
Nope, Nyet and No Way. (Well, almost no way. And no – I’m not specifying which question that last answer belongs to – you decide!)
Instead, I prefer to think of it as a healthy, enlightened POV. I’m a single parent who has my kids with me 85% of the time, on average. My kids should get time with their other parent. And I require time to recharge my own batteries.
Over the years, that philosophy has worked well for all of us. I don’t go to kid functions on my weekends, for the most part. Make sure their dad’s informed, invited, and/or included in the daily minutia of details about their lives if he chooses to be. Take a big back seat so their time with their dad is truly just that.
And that whole ‘single parent’ drill has gotten much much easier as the kids have gotten older – I’m able to ‘sneak out’ for a kid-free evening with friends, even when the kids are still at home. Better equipped to resist the occasional ‘but you never spend time with MMMEEEEE!’ laments I occasionally hear from #SheTeen (best combated with ‘but who just took you to this practice – or tried to talk to you in the car, only to get attitude?’)
But even with that whole swath of theoretically-available kid-freedom, I still resisted when #HeTeen started pushing back on the requirement to go to his father’s for an entire weekend. Sure, I get why he feels the way he does – he wants to be able to hang out with friends on a Friday night, or go over to his girlfriend’s house. Sleep in his own bed. Get places under his own steam. (Staying out late on a Friday requires calling his dad for transportation, more often than not, ’cause Dad’s house isn’t as mass-transit-friendly as my own house is.) Plus, he wants a break from his often-annoying little sister, he says (a sentiment I can’t help but understand).
See, I am selfish about some things. I still adore being in a completely empty house. Where I can walk around in just a t-shirt, or play the “crappy music” I like at full volume. Or listen to nothing at all (ahhhh – silence doesn’t often occur in a house full of teenagers, you see). Or (ahem) entertain visitors of the male persuasion – visitors who haven’t yet achieved the status of requiring introductions to your children, that is.
So that whole ‘resisted’ characterization above? Scratch that – I whined like a bratty 2-year-old desperately in need of a nap. Only in an overly-verbose, overly-profane adult kind of way. (It was probably pretty unbecoming. Scratch that – I’m quite sure it was embarrassing as hell.) And #HeTeen didn’t help matters any when he countered with ‘just keep your door shut and be discreet’ (otherwise known as the ‘we’re roommates’ model) when I euphemistically raised the possibility of, um, extra guests here.
(All together now: eeeeuuuuuwwwwwww. Not happening – no way, no how. While I’m not normally a prude, well – I am about that. No possibility of ever re-enacting [looking for SNL skit about mom, son & latest overnight guest], thankfully.)
Until I got over it yesterday. Yep, we both have valid points. And compromise is always an option at the end of the day.
So #HeTeen? Stays here now on Friday nights. Already assumes there will be no such thing as a home-cooked meal on Fridays (in fact, he believes he’s on his own for dinner). And on Saturday mornings? I just make sure I’m here solo & fully clothed, keep the volume down – and might occasionally offer to toss him a home-cooked breakfast his way instead.
(Or, alternatively – elect to be the guest instead of the host when that’s an option…)
It’s not ideal – for either one of us. But it’ll have to do. Until he moves out of the house entirely.
And since that’s on his agenda Real Soon Now? I guess I just need to develop patience, is all.